People also expected Chopin to be interpreted that way, with tons of rubato and an emphasis on lyricism over structure.When the Polish pianist Adam Harasiewicz appeared on the scene in the 1950s, he was ahead of his time in his approach to Chopin. He simply played the music straight, revealing the importance of structure in the composer’s work and bringing out a Classical influence. Harasiewicz recorded all the composer’s works for Philips but remained a cult figure and is largely forgotten today.
Despite that, he paved the way for such modern masters as Murray Perahia, who no longer feels the need to pull Chopin’s music around. In Harasiewicz’s hands, the First Piano Sonata sounds Mozartian in its clarity; the Funeral March from the Second Sonata grieves with an aristocratic dignity and no hint of hysteria. He executes the fast scales and arpeggios of the Scherzos accurately without drawing attention to his technique. It is only in the inward-looking moments of the Ballades and the tender Barcarolle that his dry-eyed, straightforward style fails to pay dividends.
Nevertheless, this is an interesting reissue, with sound quality that belies the age of the recordings.