04 Chopin FialkowskaChopin Recital 4
Janina Fialkowska
ATMA ACD2 2803 (atmaclassique.com/en) 

Canada can be proud of having many world class pianists. The confluence of diverse cultures is a happy breeding ground putting forth pianists of different backgrounds like Poland that produced this shining example, the Grande Dame of Canadian pianism, Janina Fialkowska. She is, as said by Arthur Rubinstein, a “born interpreter of Chopin,” whose credits are too numerous to mention – including concerts all over the world, the JUNO Award, the Order of Canada – she is praised for “her musical integrity and refreshing natural approach.”

Fialkowska records exclusively with ATMA Classique and this is her 15th release and fourth Chopin album. It’s a good cross section of various genres of Chopin’s genius: Polonaises, Nocturnes, Preludes, Ballades, Valses etc. Curiously enough a few of the pieces are not of the highest difficulty and within the capabilities of any aspiring piano student of Grade 8 level, (yours truly included) so these come back to me as old friends like the defiant, heroic Military Polonaise in A Major that starts off the program or the sweet, nostalgic Nocturne Op.55 No.1 in F Minor. Both are exquisitely played. These are followed by the Berceuse in D-flat Major, one of the most beautiful things Chopin ever wrote, played with a lovely sustained soft supple legato.

The big guns however are the virtuoso pieces like the Ballade in G Minor that starts off deceptively simple but gradually gets more and more complex and difficult with a prestissimo finish. The Scherzo No.3 in C-sharp Minor is even more demanding. The strong chords at the beginning remind me of Liszt, the incessant, cascading fioratures are so delicately and precisely played and the 110-bar coda finishes the piece with a big flourish.

Pin It

Back to top