The performance on this disc is altogether exceptional. Pianist Ivo Pogorelich takes nothing for granted in music. Nor should we in listening to him. If you know how Chopin “goes” then this almost certainly isn’t for you. Not that Pogorelich does anything wildly idiosyncratic, let alone provocatively iconoclastic, à la Glenn Gould. Rather, Pogorelich plainly understands that every interpretation is but one possibility, and he offers us a very enticing opportunity to open our minds, especially in these familiar works most burdened by tradition.
Everywhere revelations abound, beginning with the spacious opening of the Nocturne in C Minor Op 48/1. Pogorelich’s Nocturnes are altogether dreamy and lyrical. And in the Fantasy in F Minor Op.49 he takes us unexpectedly into another world. It’s full of glinting lights, mysterious depths, expectations, doubts and hopes like the shattered shadows of a rapturous quasi-Mendelssohn scherzo, glimpsed by moonlight in a forest.
In sheer colour and variety, in the depth of characterization and in the exceptional range and refinement of pianism, Pogorelich imparts a power and majestic stature to Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.3 in B Minor Op.58. In its component parts the pianist displays urbanity and lyricism that is truly seductive and persuasive, which in itself is an object lesson in the very essence of style. The Scherzo is played with buoyant, aristocratic grace, psychological ambiguity and insolent virtuosity; Chopin as few pianists could even hope to try.