Chopin: 12 Études, Op. 25 & 4 Scherzi

Beatrice Rana

(Digital Download - Warner Classics #)

Review by James Manheim

Beatrice Rana has been playing and recording Chopin since she was a teenager, and now, to go with her spontaneity and daring, she has deep virtuosity and the confidence of a star. This Warner Classics recording is made in a studio, catching the small details of Rana's performances of the Op. 25 Etudes and the four Scherzos, but it has the feel of a live performance. Rana varies her tempos, with the Scherzos effectively placed at the end to show that she can sustain a detailed conception in longer pieces as well as short ones, and in her playing, she seems to discover each work as it goes along. Yet, in retrospect, every detail seems to be in place, and Rana has developed a mastery of these works that allows for some truly impressive virtuoso work. Listen to the Etude in G sharp minor, Op. 25, No. 6, where the chains of 16th notes intersect and bleed into one another, only to be pulled out of the fire again by Rana's fingers. Rana's interpretations are daring at times, and not everyone will appreciate having familiar passages upended, but even they will admit this is a major Chopin recording.

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