Magazine article Gramophone

Chopin

Magazine article Gramophone

Chopin

Article excerpt

Chopin

'The Complete Works. Vol 13--Parnassus' Barcarolle, Op 60. Berceuse, Op 57. Three Mazurkas, Op 56. Three Mazurkas, Op 59. Moderato, KKIVb/12. Two Nocturnes, Op 62. Piano Sonata No 3, Op 58 Ian Hobson pf

Zephyr (F) Z147-16 (70' * DDD)

Like its 12 predecessors, Vol 13 of Ian Hobson's complete Chopin cycle yields uneven results. The Barcarolle receives a clean and briskly forthright performance that honours the text without reading between its poetic lines. In the Op 56 Mazurkas, balances between the B major's melody and accompaniment veer in and out of focus, although the C major's left-hand drones convey just the right earthy grit. Yet, again, the C minor's lyrical yearning is undercut by Hobson's holding back on nuance. By contrast, the two Op 62 Nocturnes reveal more tenderness, breadth and assiduous transitions between sections.

While the Berceuse is well controlled and articulated, Hobson's overly loud playing falls far short of the dynamic gradations and caressingly supple phrase shaping that distinguishes classic versions from Cortot to Kempff to Perahia. The Op 59 Mazurkas also hit and miss. Hobson admirably plays up the A minor's introspective and vehement contrasts, although the A flat major doesn't take vocal wing due to Hobson's overly loud left hand; however, the F sharp minor achieves welcome lightness in the skittish central section.

For all of the dryness and dynamic constriction in the first movement of the B minor Sonata, the contrapuntal clarity and strategically placed rubatos hold interest. …

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