Nelson Freire

Chopin: The Nocturnes

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As one of the foremost interpreters of the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, Nelson Freire has a rather small number of all-digital recordings of this oeuvre on CD, most of them recorded for Decca since 2005. This double-disc package of the nocturnes is an excellent example of Freire's artistry, and the expressive lyricism and refined execution that are hallmarks of his playing are fully evident. The 20 nocturnes are among Chopin's most personal and intimate pieces, and Freire treats them all with tender feeling and a melodic sensibility that emphasize the vocal quality of the ornate melodies. To the extent that all the nocturnes inhabit a reflective and introspective state that feels connected from one piece to the next, it's easy for the listener to let the music wash over as one gentle wave after another, but this temptation must be avoided, for there are many subtle aspects to Freire's playing that shouldn't be missed through lazy listening. Decca's sound is clear and focused, but there's an ambient resonance from Freire's pedaling and the acoustics that lends this music an aural glow that is quite pleasing.

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