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Catch glimpses of Daniil Trifonov's fury in new Chopin Fantasy-Impromptu video / NPR

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When Daniil Trifonov was 20, he scored a double victory, taking home top prizes at both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein International Piano Competitions. That was six years ago, and by now he has secured a spot as one of the most revered – perhaps even feared – classical pianists on the scene today.

Piano legend Martha Argerich has noted Trifonov's "demonic" side. Critic Alex Ross began a profile earlier this year with the sentence: "The Russian Pianist Daniil Trifonov creates a furor." And then there was his Kennedy Center recital in April, where I witnessed him pound a piano practically into matchsticks. His rendition of Schumann's Toccata - hands in a blur over the keyboard - was at a speed that must have rivaled nuclear fission.

You catch glimpses of that fury in this new video. The music, Chopin's Fantasy-Impromptu, Op. 66, calls for singing melodies and subtle shading with only brief episodes of thunder. As it turns out, Trifonov can do all of that too. He seems to have every known pianistic tool at hand, tapping into Chopin's stormy passions and stretching out the central, lyrical section with a shimmering, pearlescent tone. The video coincides with Chopin Evocations, Trifonov's new album, out Oct. 6 on Deutsche Grammophon, featuring concertos and solo pieces by Chopin, his contemporaries and younger composers under his spell.

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