Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in C minor, Op.48 No.1[6:26]
Etude Op.25 No.5 [3:41]
Etude Op.10 No.12 [2:32]
Scherzo in B flat minor, Op.31 [10:06]
Fantaisie in F minor, Op.49 [12:59]
Mazurka in G sharp minor, Op.33 No.1 [1:47]
Mazurka in C, Op.33 No.2 [1:23]
Mazurka in B minor, Op.33 No.4 [4:52]
Polonaise in A flat, Op.53 [7:01]
Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat, Op.61 [14:11]
Nocturne in F sharp, Op.15 No.2 [3:56]
Scherzo No.4 in E, Op.54 [10:52]
Marcin Koziak (piano)
rec. 6 October (tracks 1-4), 12 October (tracks 5-9), 15 October (tracks 10-12), live at the 16th International Chopin Piano Competition, 2010, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, Poland
Marcin Koziak’s Chopin performances illustrate how high the standard is for Chopin playing today, and yet how rare is true inspiration. The CD forms three parts, live recordings from three stages of the International Chopin Piano Competition in 2010, after the third of which he failed to advance further. I suppose I agree with the judges. It is clear from the start that Koziak is very good, but not necessarily great.
There are undoubtedly highlights. His “Revolutionary” etude is better and more refreshing than most, he selects a couple of the less popular mazurkas, and the scherzo Op.31 delivers great clarity and precision without leaving the emotion behind. The “Heroic” polonaise is a pretty grand success too, avoiding bombast but still sounding triumphant. But then you hear the lack of extra something - oomph? heart? natural emotional appeal? - in the Fantaisie Op.49, or in the two nocturnes, and the much-too-literal mazurka Op.33/4, and you understand Koziak’s limitations.
I’m glad the Chopin Institute records every competition recital and ultimately releases an album for each contestant. It gives them a calling-card and something to commemorate what is truly an impressive achievement. But for the average Chopin listener, investing in the series is a bit like spending your time watching youth-level sport hoping to see a future star. Marcin Koziak is good, there’s no doubt about that. I took pleasure in much of his CD. That said, in a year which has also given us the recital of Yevgeny Sudbin and a reissue of Ivan Moravec, the difference between very good Chopin and playing of true inspiration remains all too real.
Brian Reinhart 

Technically very good and emotionally feels correct but not inspired.