Thursday, 30 July 2009

289. Frédéric Chopin - Preludes (1839)


Title: 24 Preludes Opus 28
Performer: Grigory Sokolov
Year: 1990
Length: 90 minutes


Chopin's short preludes can sometimes be play in an overemotional way. This is actually generally true of all of Chopin's piano composition and much of Romantic music.

This is a recording, however, that opts to play down the somewhat maudlin quality of Chopin's pieces in a way that reveals the brilliance of the compositions in a more detached way. This actually makes the music considerably better.

This toning down really makes Chopin's preludes brilliant pieces that can be appreciated in a new way here... with less fear of getting your man-card revoked. And they are indeed brilliant and beautiful pieces.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Chopin's Op. 28 preludes have been compared to Johann Sebastian Bach's preludes in the Well-Tempered Clavier. However, each of Bach's preludes leads to a fugue in the same key, and Bach's pieces are arranged, in each of the work's two volumes, in ascending chromatic order (with major preceding parallel minor), while Chopin's are arranged in a circle of fifths (with major preceding relative minor). Harold C. Schonberg, in The Great Pianists, writes: "It also is hard to escape the notion that Chopin was very familiar with Hummel's now-forgotten Op. 67, composed in 1815 – a set of twenty-four preludes in all major and minor keys, starting with C major." As Schonberg says: "the openings of the Hummel A minor and Chopin E minor concertos are too close to be coincidental."

Sokolov plays prelude no. 15:

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