Frédéric Chopin Sonata No.2 Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Sheer delight from end to end.

Andrew McGregor 2007

I needn’t detain you long: this is the kind of Chopin recital that informs and refreshes. From the weighty opening chords of Chopin’s Second Sonata, Simon Trpceski strikes a balance between detailed analysis, instinctive reaction and sweeping romanticism that’s deeply satisfying.

He can produce a huge, rich sound and introduce tempo adjustments and rubato in ways and at times that could prove disruptive, and yet his musical intelligence and confidence are such that he gets away with it, and you’re carried along with his exuberance. The rapid repeated chords of the Sonata’s second movement are attacked ferociously, then the huge resonance Trpceski’s produced melts into the warmest, gentlest cradle-song of a melody you could imagine. The third movement is that famous funeral march, not taken too slowly, and beginning with an intimate subjectivity, before the more public mourning and posturing. The frantically compressed moto perpetuo finale has a nightmarish quality to it…which is then picked up in the opening of the first of Chopin’s 4 Scherzos; not much to joke about here. And again it’s Trpceski’s willingness to surrender himself to the moment that’s so impressive in the Scherzi; there’s a genuine feeling of spontaneity about these performances, yet he’s still able to bring out little details and emphasise lines you might not have noticed before.

Personality in spades, yes, but there’s also integrity, and that really matters. You get the feeling that Trpceski really identifies with this composer-pianist, more so than in his Rachmaninov recital for EMI, where just occasionally the gestures felt overblown. Here there’s appropriate flamboyance alongside emotional honesty, and if you want to know what I mean, sample the opening of the Scherzo No. 2. Trpceski’s been given a better recording for his Chopin as well, absolutely mirroring the playing: intimate, but with room to take the grandest sonorities. Sheer delight from end to end.

This recording is Disc Of The Week on Radio 3's CD Review

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