Born in 1975 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the former USSR Eugéne
Mursky has been confidently making a name for himself on the international
stage. Mursky was commissioned by Hänssler to record the complete
piano works of Chopin in commemoration of the composer’s 200th
birthday in 2010. He is now up to volume 9 in the series. The cool and
vividly clear sound quality shows Mursky to his best advantage.
Chopin was an eighteen year old student in 1828 when he completed
his first sonata. Despite its early opus number the sonata wasn’t
published until two years after his death. Mursky is at one with the demands
of the wild and unruly opening and captures the mood with light and graceful
playing in the Menuetto
. In the Larghetto
we hear a tear
stained affection but there’s exhilaration in the headstrong
Written largely in 1839 in Nohant, France the Piano Sonata No.
is a repertoire staple. Justly famous, the Marche
was actually composed a couple of years earlier in 1837.
There’s palpable conviction and dazzling playing from Mursky in the
opening movement. The virtuosity required for the Scherzo
effortless and the affectionate central section is most satisfyingly
rendered. Mursky is authoritative with his moving and marvellously phrased
and deftly exhilarating in the very brief
The Piano Sonata No. 3
was written in 1844 after Chopin had
settled in Paris. Although one of the greatest sonatas this score tends to
lie in the shadow of the B flat minor Sonata
. Chopin’s writing
certainly makes significant demands. In the lengthy opening Allegro
Mursky communicates intimacy through lightness of touch and
fluid phrasing. A bold yet impressively controlled Scherzo
followed by an effortless Largo
of consummate delicacy. In the
: Presto ma non tanto
playing of unerring conviction
creates a stunning effect.
There are relatively few recordings of the First Piano Sonata
in the catalogue compared to the numerous accounts of the Second
. I greatly admire the latter two
from Arthur Rubinstein
on RCA Red Seal 09026-63046-2 and Maurizio Pollini on Deutsche Grammophon
415 346-2. Rubinstein made his recordings in 1961 at the Manhattan Centre,
New York City. Pollini recorded the scores in 1984 at the Herkulessaal,
Munich a favourite venue of his for making studio recordings. His assured
playing is distinguished by masterful musicianship.
I loved every minute of this outstanding release with Mursky providing
that can stand comparison with the finest. Clearly born to play Chopin he is
quite remarkable form.