Fryderyk Chopin: The Complete Chamber Works

Jan Kalinowski / Bartek Niziol / Marek Szlezer

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Fryderyk Chopin: The Complete Chamber Works Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Celebrating the bicentenary of Chopin's birth in 2010, the Polish Historical Literary Society presents this album on the DUX label featuring the composer's complete chamber works. Though the vast majority of Chopin's output was devoted to his own piano, the two large-scale works he produced -- a piano trio from the beginning of his career and the cello sonata near the end -- demonstrate his ability to share the piano's limelight with ably written string parts. For this recording, even more significant perhaps than the literature itself is the piano on which Marek Szlezer performs: an 1845 Pleyel. This wonderful instrument gives listeners an opportunity to hear what the piano of Chopin's day might have sounded like. Much crisper and with less resonance than the "modern" piano, the Pleyel gives a clearer view of the intricate inner voices of Chopin's writing, not to mention an easier balance with the string players. Joining Szlezer are violinist Bartlomiej Niziol and cellist Jan Kalinowski. Together, these musicians create an impressively well-blended sound and a performance marked by nuanced detail, vibrant energy, and poised emotional control. Also included on the disc are two more clearly virtuosic chamber works -- the Polonaise in C and Grand Duo Concertant, both scored for cello and piano -- deftly executed by Kalinowski and Szlezer who together make up the Cracow Duo.

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