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