The awesome fecundity of Chopin and the sheer breadth of his invention often blinds us to the fact that in visual art terms, he was a water-colourist who eschewed the grander mediums of oil or sculpture.
But with his chosen palette of the piano, he was grand enough – and delicate enough – for any purpose. In Chopin’s hands, the piano seems to have limitless scope for expression, from the most poised miniature waltz or mazurka to the most dramatic nocturne or scherzo.
This recital from French pianist Cédric Tiberghien uses a clever selection of works to show the range of Chopin’s accomplishments. At its heart is a choice of some 13 of the approximately 50 mazurkas Chopin left us. Nestled within these polished miniatures are three more meaty works – the intensely dramatic Scherzo Op 20, the lyrical Nocturne Op 48, and the Polonaise-Fantaisie Op 61, of which Tiberghien writes: “If I were allowed to keep only one work by Chopin, it would be this… it’s the perfect expression of his personality”.
This beautifully chosen recital has the benefit of extraordinarily clear acoustics. But the lilting
yet powerful performances are enough to make the listener want to seek out more recordings by
this accomplished artist.