Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos (Chamber Version)

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jim Svejda
This album from the Swedish label BIS features eye-opening versions of the Chopin piano concertos: world premiere recordings of the versions for piano and string quintet. Although the arrangements are probably by other hands, there is ample evidence to suggest that Chopin himself often played them as a practical necessity. Because the concertos are so intimate to begin with, these performances offer a view that is fascinating and surprisingly satisfying. In keeping with the spirit of the arrangements, pianist Fumiko Shiraga's performance tends to be more refined and thoughtful than extroverted and virtuosic, although whenever the music requires it, the fireworks are ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jim Svejda
This album from the Swedish label BIS features eye-opening versions of the Chopin piano concertos: world premiere recordings of the versions for piano and string quintet. Although the arrangements are probably by other hands, there is ample evidence to suggest that Chopin himself often played them as a practical necessity. Because the concertos are so intimate to begin with, these performances offer a view that is fascinating and surprisingly satisfying. In keeping with the spirit of the arrangements, pianist Fumiko Shiraga's performance tends to be more refined and thoughtful than extroverted and virtuosic, although whenever the music requires it, the fireworks are there. The Yggdrasil Quartet and double bass player Jan-Inge Haukas offer excellent support, as do the BIS engineers. In short, this is an engaging party record whose musical virtues are also extraordinarily high. Anyone wishing to explore the considerable delights of the Chopin sextets should do so without delay.
All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos Chamber Version is the amazing debut on disc of German pianist Fumiko Shiraga. For her maiden voyage on CD Shiraga has chosen a fascinating reconstruction of the two standard Frédéric Chopin "Piano Concerti" in chamber versions that nineteenth century publisher's lists say once existed side by side with the familiar full orchestral scores. They are played by Shiraga at the piano with the Yggdrasil Quartet and double bassist Jan-Inge Haukås providing the "orchestral" complement. Chopin is known to have rehearsed at least the "Concerto in F minor" this way with the section leaders of orchestras in preparation for his own concerts. Chopin was not strong in the art of orchestration, and the only surviving manuscript of either concerto, the one in F minor, demonstrates that in getting the orchestral parts together Chopin probably employed the help of an arranger. While there is no extant contemporary chamber score to follow, the realization is not difficult to comprehend -- the quintet follows the orchestral string parts, while Shiraga plays the solo part and throws in a tutti passage here and there on an ad lib basis. While some might protest that such practice is a mere bastardization of Chopin's art, listening to this recording certainly does not give that impression, rather it seems an entirely successful rendering of Chopin; conveying his craft, spirit, and the letter of the music. Not just anyone could make Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos Chamber Version as magical as it is -- clearly it is Fumiko Shiraga who renders it so. Her deft brilliance of touch, and sensitivity to the overall shape to Chopin's music, is heightened by the smaller instrumental forces employed, smartly played by the Yggdrasil Quartet with Haukås yet never getting in Shiraga's way. Congratulations are also due to the producers at Bis for doing a great job on this recording, as the perspective and balance of the instruments is perfect. Even if one already owns Kissin, Arrau, or any of the other famous pianists in recordings of these Chopin concertos, Chopin: The Two Piano Concertos Chamber Version is still a must-have. One might even find that they prefer it to the full orchestral score, at least on disc.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/18/1997
  • Label: Bis
  • EAN: 7318590008478
  • Catalog Number: 847
  • Sales rank: 19,134

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11, CT. 47 - Frédéric Chopin & Yggdrasil Quartet (39:21)
  2. 4–6 Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, CT. 48 - Frédéric Chopin & Yggdrasil Quartet (32:50)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fumiko Shiraga Primary Artist
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