> The Complete CHOPIN Mazurkas transcribed for guitar [AD]: Classical CD Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             



The Complete CHOPIN Mazurkas transcribed for guitar
Disc One [57:33]
Four Mazurkas, Op.6
Five Mazurkas, Op.7
Four Mazurkas, Op.17
Four Mazurkas, Op.24
Disc Two [69:50]
Four Mazurkas, Op.30
Four Mazurkas, Op.33
Four Mazurkas, Op.41
Three Mazurkas, Op.50
Three Mazurkas, Op.56
Disc Three [54:48]
Three Mazurkas, Op.59
Three Mazurkas, Op.63
Four Mazurkas, Op.67
Four Mazurkas, Op.68
Mazurka W/o Opus, (á son ami Emile Gaillard)
Mazurka W/o Opus, ("Notre Temps")
Stephen Aron Ė Guitar

Transcribing to the guitar, music written for the piano is not uncommon; in particular some of the piano works of Albeniz and Granados have proved to be more popular in guitar transcription than in their original form. The idiomatic nature of the music and the earthiness of the guitar working well together.

This 3 CD set of the complete Mazurkas of Chopin played on the guitar is another matter entirely, whereas the quality of the music is without question (Chopin has gone down in history as one of the finest composers for the piano of his, or any generation) not much of his music sits well on the guitar. Andrès Segovia, and in particular Mario Parodi, have recorded some pieces of Chopin, (MPF 2140 LP) but by and large guitarists have avoided committing his music to disc.

Judging by his inlay notes Stephen Aron shows a genuine enthusiasm for this music and justifies his reasons for undertaking this highly ambitious project. As he states, this is the first recording of all the Mazurkas of Chopin on the guitar. There are therefore no comparisons recordings and the disc has to be judged on its own merits. That said Iím afraid these performances donít really do justice to the music. Aronís right hand finger attack on the strings is untidy and at times rather naily. This makes for a not altogether pleasant sound. His left hand shifts are guilty of string noise that, given todayís standards of technique, is unacceptable. Added to this he uses a limited tonal palette which becomes monotonous very quickly (let alone over the duration of three discs). Much of the form and vitality of the Mazurkas is lost in subdued, unconvincing playing of this music. That is not to say that at times Stephen Aron does not have some good ideas on interpretation Ö he just does not have the level of technique to execute them; to make you want to listen.

All in all this is an example of music that is best left as the composer intended.

I must say though that the presentation of this set is first class with a most concise explanation by Brooks Toliver, which provides a valuable insight to the music.

Andrew Daly

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.