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These are highly intimate readings of the Chopin Nocturnes by Jan Lisiecki / Classical Music Sentinel

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Classical Music Sentinel's Jean-Yves Duperron writes..... One of the reviews I posted during the early days of this website was of a live recording on the Fryderyk Chopin Institute label by the then 14 year old Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, of the Chopin Piano Concertos which I thought exhibited all of the maturity and expressive perspective of a seasoned musician. Fast forward twelve years and those expressive insights are now bolstered by a deeply personal overview of the music.

These are highly intimate readings of the Chopin Nocturnes. Piano works meant to evoke the moods and feelings imparted by night time, be they romantic, contemplative, passionate or anguished. The emphasis here is on the melodic rather than the melodramatic. As pointed out in a previous review of some of the piano music of Felix Mendelssohn, Lisiecki's instinctively judicious and lyrical approach lends itself very well to the music of Chopin. His clear, expressive and coherent phrasing (notice the quick left hand passages in the No. 4 in F major, Op. 15) never muddles its way through even the most opaque or passionate moments. Notice the delicate, almost tentative feel of the No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 27. Or the distant, nebulous nature of the No. 8 in D flat major. Its final two minutes will leave you holding your breath. Even in the extremely emotive final page of the No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48, Lisiecki refrains from using kitschy or garish, melodramatic effects.

Over the years I've heard so many recordings of the Chopin Nocturnes that I've lost count. Some impressive, and some just plain execrable. I must say that this new recording by Jan Lisiecki stands out for its musicality, finesse of expression, and most of all its unaffected and lucid outlook and demeanour. Highly recommended!

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