Wednesday, November 3

Frederic Chiu recordings of Prokofiev Piano Music

Frederic Chiu is, I think, the only pianist who has recorded the complete piano works of Sergei Prokofiev (Harmonia Mundi). I really cannot imagine what stamina, strenght and courage is required to carry out this huge project - and time of course. But the result is definitely succesful. I did not manage to hear all the works, but I did listen to the 2nd and 4th Sonatas, as well as Op.12 and 32. There is a distinct "Prokofievan" quality in Chiu's sound; he has captivated the complexity of Prokofiev's musical language very well: his sarcastic, often harsh and mocking tone, his clarity, tenderness, strength, and percussive sound.

Listening to this music, one realizes what an extraordinary composer Prokofiev was... He has inspired me probably more than any other composer I've ever "met". I seem to "understand" his music - and I am not sure I can explain that... Let me just say that there is music I simply cannot grasp: Scriabin, for instance, or Bartok. But with Prokofiev, everything makes sense to me..

Last night, I listened to his Op.12 again - Ten Pieces for piano. The Allemande I found amazingly bold, with a subtle dancing melodic "statement" that cannot be easily discerned but which, for that very reason, is quite unique. I actually decided to play that piece. The final Scherzo is unparalleled... (I've already played his "atmospheric" Legend, around 9 years ago).
Chiu's performance of these pieces is the best I' ve ever heard, I think. In particular, his Scherzo is really breathtaking!

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