While there have been many attempts to record the various pianos that Chopin heard and played, there have been few projects as ambitious and respected as "The Real Chopin," a 21-CD set produced by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute of Warsaw, Poland. For this recording in the series, the 24 Preludes, Op. 28, two additional Preludes, and the four Impromptus are performed by Akiko Ebi on an 1838 Érard fortepiano, the oldest in the institute's collection. Ebi has been acclaimed as a Chopin interpreter since the 1980s, and her performances show her thorough understanding and sympathy for Chopin's music. Despite the instrument's great age, it has a surprisingly rich and full tone, and in Ebi's hands, it sounds fluid and warm, rather like a modern piano, as opposed to the thin and metallic sounds that many 19th century fortepianos yield. Considering the excellent condition of the instrument, Ebi has a lot to work with, and it shows to best advantage in the Preludes, which reveal the keyboard's varied timbres and action with each change of mood and key. This disc should not be the first choice for newcomers to Chopin, but experienced listeners will find it enlightening.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|24 Preludes, Op. 28|