Thursday, July 12, 2012
Frederic Chopin - Waltzes 1-14, Dinu Lipatti (EMI - HLM 7075)
I should openly say that Waltzes were never an enthusiastic musical structure that encaptures me before. I still own a triple CD set of Johann Strauss's Waltzes. Blue Danube is probably the one everyone knows. My knowledge seemed to be somewhat similar. I didn't know much about Waltzes in detail which didn't really bother me until now. Now is the key word.
2-3 weeks ago, I was in another shopping spree from one of my favorite sellers from UK and there I saw Chopin's Waltzes being listed. The performer on the record was also another name unfamiliar to me, Dinu Ripatti. This somehow aroused an interest in me for which I still cannot find an explanation. On the other hand, I am still grateful for that moment of weird interest.
I started listening to this record the day that giant package arrived (8 Kg in total) from UK. Out of all the records I've bought with full intent on listening directly (Including Boulez, Elgar's symphonies, old DGG releases and etc), I chose to listen to this record which I bought out of sheer curiosity. What a fruitful purchase it has become.
Starting first from the composer, Chopin never composed Waltzes for dancing and you can also tell this after you start listening in 5 minutes. They are either too fast or too slow. It seems like Chopin chose to compose Waltzes just to direct his perfectionist ideas on another stage. He openly disliked the Viennese style and openly criticized Strauss along the way. When you listen, you can get the point why. Just not to forget to note, the record includes the first 14 Waltzes Chopin composed out of 18 total. .
The second point to mention is Dinu Lipatti. It is somewhat normal for me not to know a pianist who lived a total of 33 years. He was also a child wonder having earned international fame early on in his career, but this was disrupted during WWII and he died only 7 years after he fled to Geneva. He has an exceptional technique with fast and accurate, but still full of feeling touches. This is exactly the skill he needs to perform these Waltzes of Chopin. These are very good performances. I stood in awe in some passages as Lipatti literally throws the roof open and his fingers start flying all over the piano in breathtaking speed. Still, he gives the sudden turns and twists of the Chopin style Waltzes in crisp detail. Considering that he made these recordings some time prior to his death probably around 1945-6, it is even the more remarkable. There seems to be one more record from this recording series under the catalogue HLM 7046 which includes Grieg and Schumann's Piano Concertos. That will also be a record which I will seek from now on.
To buy this record: