Alessandra Ammara

Chopin: 4 Ballades; Fantaisie; Barcarolle; 4 Mazurkas

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Pianist Alessandra Ammara's premiere album on the ARTS label features an assortment of Chopin works, including the Four Ballades, the Four Mazurkas, Op. 30; the Op. 49 Fantasie; and the Op. 60 Barcarolle. Unfortunately for Ammara, it is the CD's extremely detailed and well-written liner notes that are the highlight of the album. Ammara's playing is little more than adequate. While Chopin's writing certainly benefits from a fluid musical approach with subtle changes in tempo, dynamics, and color, Ammara beats listeners over the head with entirely overdone rubato, often causing the pulse of a particular piece to come to a near-standstill. Listening to one track after another of this wears quickly on listeners as attention and interest quickly wane. Her technical abilities are also sufficient at best; middle voices sometimes become obscured or even sloppy in busy passages and there's little sense that her playing is effortless or lithe. The sound quality of her piano works against her, as well; the upper registers are not clear and precise, and the rest of the piano's range is dull and listless. With so many vastly superior alternatives for these masterpieces available, Ammara gives listeners few reasons to choose her interpretation.

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