Russian-born, Denmark-based pianist Nina Kavtaradze wrestles the Polish-born, Paris-based pianist Chopin in this 2006 recital -- and takes him to the mat every round. Kavtaradze starts with Chopin's Opus 1 Rondo in C minor, moves through six selected Mazurkas and three varied Waltzes to a climax with the mighty and powerful Ballade in G minor, and there's never any doubt but that she rules the canvas with her imperious technique, enormous tone, and ferocious attacks. There's not much sensuality in her touch, sensitivity in her phrasing, or tenderness in her tempos, but her evident need to overwhelm and dominate the music is everywhere manifest. By magnifying the music's emotional intensity, exaggerating its rhythmic vivacity, and escalating its already extravagant virtuosity, Kavtaradze creates violently exciting performances that leave nothing in the ring of the music but bruises and broken bones. Captured in a Danacord close, hard digital recording, this disc is only for fans of no-holds-barred piano playing -- and certainly not for those with heart conditions.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard