Cédric Tiberghien

Chopin: Mazurkas; Polonaise-Fantaisie; Scherzo & Nocturne

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Cédric Tiberghien's program of mazurkas and other pieces by Frédéric Chopin is an engaging album that shows a fresh imagination, brilliant technique, and considerable spontaneity. These familiar character pieces, grouped around the equally famous Scherzo in B minor, the Nocturne in C minor, and the Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major, do not sound like any famous performances one may have encountered before, and even experienced listeners may be momentarily brought up short, trying to recognize a well-known passage as reimagined by Tiberghien. This pianist is well aware that these are among the most played works in the piano repertoire, so he brings his subtle wit and virtuosity to bear on them and each time makes something new and memorable. His fluid, playful rubato and flexible handling of the mazurka rhythm make it seem that he is teasing the music, pulling it and kneading it into a kind of musical dough, but the highly expressive shapes he creates are all musically appropriate and balanced with keen accuracy; at no point do Tiberghien's readings seem arbitrary or outlandish, even though there are many unexpected things to be found in his interpretations. Harmonia Mundi's recording has the right balance of resonance to the piano's wide range of dynamics and sonorities. If Chopin's keyboard music seems old hat, this disc will definitely change that notion immediately.

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