- Berceuse for piano in D flat major, Op. 57, CT. 7
- Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, CT. 202
- Nocturnes (2) for piano, Op. 27, CT. 114-115
- Barcarolle for piano in F sharp major, Op. 60, CT. 6
- Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58, CT. 203
Two different sides of composer Frédéric Chopin highlight the two sides of pianist Marc-André Hamelin on this 2008 recording. The four single-movement works here -- the "Berceuse," the "Barcarolle," and the two "Nocturnes, Op. 27" -- require a superlative technique to pull them off, but they need more of a poetic sensibility to put them across to the listener. On the other hand, the two big four-movement works -- the sonatas in B flat minor and B minor -- demand superhuman technique, but require less of a poetic sensibility. As his many previous Hyperion recordings have demonstrated, Hamelin is one heck of a technician and his performances here have a fire, passion, and charisma that recall the great pre-war Chopin players. His heroic tone and blazing attack in the sonata's opening movements is staggering, his incandescent velocity in the "B flat minor Sonata"'s closing Presto stunning, and the scorching ferocity of his "B minor Sonata"'s closing Presto non tanto truly overwhelming. But Hamelin is also a poet and his nuanced touch in the "Berceuse," sensuous phrasing in the "C sharp minor Nocturne," and evocative coloring in the Trio of the "B minor Sonata"'s Scherzo hit the sweet spot. Captured in clear but warm digital sound, these performances are well worth hearing by anyone who admires the composer or the pianist or simply enjoys great piano playing.