Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Waltz in E flat major, Op. 18 'Grande Valse Brillante'
Waltz in A flat major, Op. 34, No. 1 'Valse brillante' [5:47]
Waltz in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2 'Valse' [5:58]
Waltz in F major, Op. 34, No. 3 'Grande Valse Brillante'
Waltz in A flat major, Op. 42 [4:05]
Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 'Minute' [1:58]
Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2 [3:40]
Waltz in A flat major, Op. 64, No. 3 [3:13]
Waltz in A flat major, Op. 69, No. 1 'L'adieu' [3:29]
Waltz in B minor, Op. 69, No. 2 [2:39]
Waltz in G flat major, Op. 70, No. 1 [2:20]
Waltz in F minor, Op. 70, No. 2 [3:07]
Waltz in D flat major, Op. 70, No. 3 [3:25]
Waltz in A flat [2:28]
Waltz in E [2:22]
Waltz in E minor [2:56]
Waltz in E flat [3:33]
Waltz in E flat major, Op. posth 'Sostenuto' [2:28]
Waltz in A minor, Op. posth [2:24]
Waltz in F sharp minor, Op. posth 'Melancolique' [2:51]
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
rec. 11-14 May 2009, Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK. DDD
EMI CLASSICS 6 98351 2 [67:51]
I was greatly impressed by Ingrid Fliter’s last recording – a disc for EMI of Chopin piano works that featured the Piano Sonata No. 3 and Ballade No. 2 both great masterworks of the repertoire. Now in the year of the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth Fliter turns her considerable talents to the Chopin Waltzes. By my reckoning Fliter recorded four of these Waltzes on her earlier 2007 Potton Hall disc.
The record catalogues abound in recordings from Chopin interpreters of considerable renown. There have been few consistently able to reach the heights of nobility, grandeur and poetry as achieved by those great performers: Artur Rubinstein, Dinu Lipatti, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Horowitz, Georges Cziffra and from an even earlier generation Alfred Cortot. From the established Chopin interpreters on the scene today I have always been eminently satisfied by the talents of Krystian Zimerman, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Maurizio Pollini, Murray Perahia, Martha Argerich and Maria Joâo Pires. Of the current new generation I believe the finest around is Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter, the recipient of the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award and Simon Trpceski, a winner of several prestigious competitions. Trpceski hails from the Republic of Macedonia.
For me Artur Rubinstein is still the performer by whom all Chopin recordings are judged. Rubinstein’s 1963 Rome accounts of the Chopin 14 Walzes have become evergreen recordings, quite magical for their sublime poetry and compelling spirit. I have this beautifully re-mastered Rubinstein recording on RCA Victor 09026 63047-2 (c/w 3 Impromptus and Boléro). For many Dinu Lipatti is justly hailed as one of the greatest ever Chopin interpreters. His 1950 Geneva, Switzerland account is considered by many to be the greatest set of Chopin Waltzes ever recorded. Lipatti’s re-mastered mono set produced by Walter Legge is available on EMI Classics 566 904-2. Another excellent recording that has also become a catalogue staple is from Chopin specialist Claudio Arrau. Recorded in 1979 at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, Arrau plays with elegance and artistry on Philips 400 025-2. If memory serves, both Lipatti and Arrau play the same 14 Walzes as Rubinstein.
There seems not to be any definite consensus as to the exact number of Chopin waltzes in existence with doubtful authenticity attributed to a small number of them. From my collection the above discs from Rubinstein/RCA, Arrau/Philips and that from Dinu Lipatti/EMI Classics each contain 14 Waltzes. The historical recordings from Alfred Cortot, made mainly in 1934 in London, on Naxos also includes 14 Waltzes. Recordings from Tamás Vásáry/Deutsche Grammophon have 17 Waltzes; those from Richard Raymond/Analekta, Alice Sara Ott/Deutsche Grammophon, Cyprien Katsaris/Teldec, Valentina Igoshina/Lontano(Warner Classics), Dmitri Alexeev/Seraphim Classics and Vladimir Ashkenazy/Decca all have 19 Waltzes. This EMI Classics disc from Ingrid Fliter contains 20 Waltzes which is rare. On the Hyperion label Garrick Ohlsson is the only other performer that I recall seeing with that number.
Ingrid Fliter commences the recording with the Waltz in E flat major, Op 18 providing a glittering performance: feather-light and fleet-footed. Fliter makes light work of the considerable difficulties presented by the Waltz in A flat, Op 34/1 and makes an excellent impression with her interpretation of the subtle and charming Waltz in A flat, Op 42. The famous 'Minute' Waltz in D flat, Op 64/1 is given a playful rendition and I found the C sharp minor Waltz, Op 64/2 full of yearning and sorrow.
Sensuality is the overriding feature of the classy Waltz in A flat, Op 69/1 'L'adieu' and I loved the vivacity of the G flat Waltz, Op 70/1 that Fliter expertly contrasts with episodes of sober emotion. Amorous yearning radiates from the Waltz in F minor, Op 70/2 and in the E flat Waltz, Op. posth 'Sostenuto' Fliter’s interpretation is gentle and relaxing. Of an almost meditative quality. Fliter is splendidly stately and controlled in the Waltz in A minor, Op. posth and in the final Waltz of the set the F sharp minor 'Melancolique' Op. posth her playing is silky smooth and the mood so tender.
Throughout this recital of Chopin Waltzes I found Ingrid Fliter’s crisp and precise keyboard articulation together with her abundant charm, finesse and personality a winning formula. The Potton Hall recording has exemplary clarity and warmth, although the lower register of the piano seemed a touch dry and very slightly woody on my CD players. The essay in the booklet is acceptable but there is no biographical information given on this wonderful soloist. Sadly many record companies seem to think that everyone has unrestricted internet access.
Without any hesitation I can state that Ingrid Fliter is certainly one of the finest Chopin performers around at the moment. I look forward with great anticipation to attending one of her recitals in the not too distant future. With superb playing Ingrid Fliter certainly stamps her credentials on this disc of the complete Chopin Waltzes for EMI Classics.