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Decca Phase 4
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor Op.58 (1844) [31:05]
Three Mazurkas Op.59 Nos 1-3 (1845) [9:51]
Barcarolle in F sharp Op.60 [8:58]
Grande Valse brillante in E flat Op.18 (1832) [5:27]
Three Waltzes Op.64 Nos 1-3 [8:46]
Ballade No.4 in F minor Op.52 (1843) [11:05]
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, May and December 2007
The much-praised Ingrid
Fliter has constructed a canny all-Chopin recital for EMI.
The B minor Sonata and F minor Ballade stand as Corinthian
columns around which the Barcarolle, waltzes and mazurkas
flit, glide and probe powerfully. How one responds to the
performances is very much a matter of taste. I responded
in a number of different ways.
Sonata is powerfully conceived and reveals a technique
that is watertight. The musical mind behind it takes care
to delineate left hand patterns in the first movement.
And there is a profuse sense of nobility and probity in
the slow movement along with a motoric and vivacious control
in the finale that serves notice as to the crispness and
buoyancy of her rhythmic imperatives and articulation.
Disappointing therefore, to me at least, to find the scherzo’s
B section taken to such elastic lengths.
that sense of excess that bedevils the Ballade where romantic
ardour is taken really beyond proper limits. The rubati
are excessive and so therefore is the capricious sense
of line. The fiery delineation, the dramatic almost oracular
dynamism of the writing, all these find a willing and splendid
servant in Fliter but she proves a rather callous mistress
when matters of architecture need to be invoked. There
are no causes for complaint in the Grande valse brillante – the
gondola rhythms are exceptionally well pointed and this
is really convincing, heady Chopin playing even if not
everyone will necessarily be convinced by Fliter’s very
this nagging splendid-worrying dichotomy that marked the
whole recital. When she’s good she’s…well, enough said.
The Waltzes Op.64 are very uneven indeed and seem to refute
everything we might have intuited from her performance
of the of the Op.18 Grande valse. The D flat, the Minute waltz,
is flecked with unnatural rubati and limited dynamics.
It starts, stops, resumes, breaks off, reconsiders, and
picks up again. The C sharp minor leans too heavily and
the final one of the three, the A flat, seems to confirm
my suspicion that Fliter operates better, feels as yet
more comfortable – and sounds more convincing – in longer
spans. The sonata, perhaps surprisingly, for all the occasional
distension is a convincingly better performance than any
of the smaller pieces.
this element of artifice that ultimately kept me at one
remove from these traversals. Warmly recorded in Potton
Hall, they demonstrate a considerable talent but one that
is as yet too wayward.
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