Chopin

BBC Music Magazine - - Instrumental -

Noc­turnes Nos 1-9; Noc­turne in C mi­nor

In­grid Fliter (pi­ano)

Linn CKD 565 107:07 mins (2 discs)

As win­ner of the sil­ver medal in the 2000 War­saw Pi­ano Com­pe­ti­tion, In­grid Fliter comes highly rec­om­mended, nor will stud­ies with Louis Lor­tie, Zoltán

Koc­sis and Al­fred Bren­del have ex­actly spoiled her chances. There will also be Chopin lovers who find her Noc­turnes very much to their taste – that I ac­knowl­edge. But sadly not to mine.

My prob­lem is with her rhythms. It’s a cu­ri­ous fact that when pi­anists play con­cer­tos or cham­ber mu­sic, for the most part they play what’s in front of them. But give them a solo spot, and their rhythms of­ten be­come self-in­dul­gent. So it is here. The B ma­jor Noc­turne Op. 32/1 is one suf­ferer. I con­cede that one can ar­gue end­lessly over the mean­ing of ‘An­dante sostenuto’: does this sim­ply ask for le­gato playing, or should the dis­course be free of per­sis­tent hes­i­ta­tions and un­marked length­en­ing of notes (aka ‘bumps in the road’)? And what about ‘tran­quillo, in tempo’?

It all comes down to a ques­tion of taste, about which, as we know, there can be no dis­put­ing. So I won’t go on. Ex­cept to confess that I was un­able to last the course of two whole discs and sought so­lace in Moi­sei­witsch’s 1940 record­ing of the fa­mous E flat Noc­turne: el­e­gant, re­spect­ful, its rhyth­mic nu­ances wisely ob­serv­ing the law of di­min­ish­ing re­turns. As al­ways, and for all the right rea­sons, it brought tears to my eyes. Roger Ni­chols

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