REVIEW

Mixed success in a mixture of mazurkas

26.01.2017


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Chopin
Selected mazurkas
Pavel Kolesnikov, piano
Hyperion CDA 68137



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Mixed success in a mixture of mazurkas
 
Recording Chopin’s mazurkas, one of the genres to test the pianist’s Chopin adequacy, is no easy task and although Pavel Kolesnikov seems to have a correct understanding of the mazurka as a dance and its various rythms, there is not sufficient insight brought to these pieces, some of which carry loads of music. Results are inconsistent and he would have fared better with a shorter selection. Op. 6 No. 1, a simple but difficult mazurka to bring out, sounds rushed and rythmless. 
In the complete Op. 17, the first mazurka should have had more energy, but the dance rhythm is well obvious and loveable in No. 2. No. 3 sounds too realistic and in the last mazurka of the set, my favourite, and one of the most loveable pieces of the composer, the pianist catches the nostalgia of the piece well and adjust to the minor changes of mood sufficiently yet the end of the phrases are too sharp and the search for meaning is unsuccessful. In another completely performed set, one of the most beautiful things Chopin ever composed, the Op. 24 No. 1 mazurka is a difficult one to characterise and here there is a lack of depth of touch and tone subtlety that hurts the interpretation. No. 2 of the set is less colourful than it ought to have been. The pianist succeeds to reach a dreamlike stance in Op. 24 No. 3 and its endless seeming repetitions, always giving the feeling that it may or may not end. Kolesnikov is not good at endings as indeed, the beautiful last number of this set fails to reach a convincing conclusion. Only one other set is fully performed and the rest of the selections vary in quality. Op. 30 No. 2 has delicate pianism and fine articulation. In Op. 33 No. 1, there is a sense of intimacy which is admirable, as in No. 3 of the same set where the shyness and a reserved attraction are well displayed. Kolesnikov rightfully reserves some of his more romantic approaches to the gloomy mood of the Op. 41 No. 1 and these are beautiful examples of Chopin playing. However, Op. 50’s both No. 1 and No. 2 is displayed plainly boring and No. 3 of the set is ordinary; there is not sufficient contrast between the ideas which fails to deliver the point. Things are better in Op. 56 No. 2 where the masculine characterisation fits the piece so well, but No. 3 of the same set is too strict and resolute, in my humble opinion, with no feeling of growth and development. In Op. 59 No. 2; there is a sense of freedom of spirit here, though the rhythm is comprised. Similarly, No. 3 is taken courageously, with a personal touch of mild violence, so this is one of the positive renderings in the CD. Op. 68 is simply too ordinary and lacks any input. Two A-minor op. posthumous follow and both are neatly done but the others, all inferior pieces, do not manage to attract interest. Overall, results vary in this selection and whilst a few are well done, there is no point in acquiring the CD.

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