• 1. Prelude In C-Sharp Minor, Opus 45 Polonaise In F-Sharp, Opus 44
      • 2. Nocturne In B Major, Opus 32 No. 1 Four Mazurkas Opus 33
      • 3. Three Waltzes Opus 64
      • 4. Ballade No. 1 In G Minor, Opus 23

      This new album features a selection of Chopin's works that showcase his mastery in various forms. Some have erroneously described Chopin as a "miniaturist," a label that unfairly suggests that his talents are limited to smallscale compositions. I, for one, wholeheartedly reject this notion; Chopin's sonatas and concertos are just as extraordinary as his shorter works. Nonetheless, his skills as a master of the small form are evident in such pieces as the haunting Nocturne Opus 32 No. 1, four Mazurkas Opus 33, the mysterious and harmonically daring Prelude Opus 45, and three Waltzes Opus 64, including the celebrated "Minute" Waltz, the equally renowned Waltz in Csharp minor, and my personal favorite, the Waltz in A-flat major. Alfred Cortot, one of my great heroes, once remarked of this waltz that "in this work, nostalgic fantasy holds sway in marvelously fresh ideas, reflected in the unpredictable wanderings of an endearing melody.”

      The album also features two of Chopin's larger works, the Polonaise in Fsharp minor Opus 44, a dark and volatile composition that stands as one of his most energetic pieces. Its bold and defiant main theme, as Franz Liszt once noted, is like "the repeated roar of artillery, as if we caught the sounds from some dread battle waging in the distance." A charming and innocent idyllic Mazurka is inserted in the middle of the piece, infused with the sweet perfume of lavender and marjoram. But this idyllic mood is shattered when Chopin violently breaks in, returning us to the dark and tumultuous Polonaise. The piece concludes with a shuddering chord that leaves the listener bewildered, as if waking up from a nightmare.

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