Thursday, December 11, 2014

Claudio Arrau Plays Chopin - Nocturnes (1977/78)

Fryderyk Chopin certainly did not invent the Nocturne. That honour goes to the Irish composer John Field (1782-1837). It derives from the 18th century Notturno (also known as nachtmusik, serenade, night music) and consists of a melody wafting over a chordal baseline. It is usually slow, quiet and serene, designed to played as contemplative music in the evening.
Chopin wrote 19 Nocturnes and they span his entire short life. And they include some of the best and most popular music Chopin ever wrote. Because of their popularity, they have become almost cliched, finding their way into sentimental movie scores, drippy advertisements and the repertoires of beginner piano students.
But when played well and listened to afresh, they are magical pieces. Chopin's entire fame rests on short, intricately crafted piano pieces. He wrote very little else. Even his two piano concertos are really works for piano with orchestral accompaniment. He was a master of the piano miniature, and his Nocturnes include the best of the best.
Most of the Nocturnes are structurally very simple, many in simple A-B-A form. They are instantly likeable, and not difficult music. But, not unlike much on Mozart's music, within their simplicity lies a more profound level of deep emotion, expressed so innocently and subtly that it leaves you wondering why you are so affected by such simple music.
Probably most famous is the Nocturne in E flat, Op.9 No.2, easily ruined with over-sentimentality, is beautiful when played straight. It evokes the Parisian salons and the elegant aristocracy for whom it was written.
Similarly the Nocturne in F sharp, Op.15, No.2 with its melody of ravishing beauty, so easily played with saccharine sweetness instead of Arrau's sublime simplicity.
Others, like the Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op.27, No.1 expresses pathos, tragedy, even hopelessness. Written when Chopin knew that he was sick with tuberculosis, this is as personal a statement as Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.


Claudio Arrau was born in Chile in 1903.His carreer spanned most of the twentieth century, giving his first European concert tour aged 10 in 1918 and died in 1991, still actively performing. His mammoth performances of the complete keyboard works of Bach and the complete Beethoven sonatas became legendary.
But his style is perhaps best suited to Chopin ; emotional without being sentimental. Elegant but not ostentatious. Arrau is the perfect gentleman. And his Chopin Nocturnes are perfect little diamonds. Spend a quiet summer evening rediscovering the real Chopin Nocturnes

Source : 

Claudio Arrau
Frédéric Chopin



Cd. 1

1 N° 1 In B Flat Minor, Op. 9, n° 1  5:46
2 N° 2 In E Flat, Op. 9, n° 2  4:46
3 N° 3 In B, Op. 9, n° 3  7:13
4 N° 4 In F, Op. 15, n° 1  5:04
5 N° 5 In F Sharp, Op. 15, n° 2  3:45
6 N° 6 In G Minor, Op. 15, n° 3  4:41
7 N° 7 In C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, n° 1  5:25
8 N° 8 In D Flat, Op. 27, n° 2  6:17
9 N° 9 In B, Op. 32, n° 1  5:39
10 N° 10 In A Flat, Op. 32, n° 2  5:16
11 N° 11 In G Minor, Op. 37, n° 1  7:16


Cd. 2

1 N° 12 In G, Op. 37, n° 2  7:02
2 N° 13 In C Minor, Op. 48, n° 1  6:20
3 N° 14 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 48, n° 2  7:47
4 N° 15 In F Minor, Op. 55, n° 1  5:43
5 N° 16 In E Flat, Op. 55, n° 2  5:28
6 N° 17 In B, Op. 62, n° 1  7:43
7 N° 18 In E, Op. 62, n° 2  7:09
8 N° 19 In E Minor, Op. 72, n° 1  4:12
9 N° 20 In C Sharp Minor, Op. Posth  4:28
10 N° 21 In C Minor, Op. Posth  3:42


Claudio Arrau - p

Recorded at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam ; September 1977 & March 1978,


archer said...

i've gotten into discovering and comparing classical pianists. arrau now added to richter, gould, weissenberg, horowitz, ashkenazy, and shelly.

much gratitude

Sandflyer said...

Another well placed item!
Just going crazy with Nocturnes. Arrau a nice addition, a little off the mainstream.
Rubinstein is still my favourite though.


salience said...

for the nocturnes, try Rubinstein. this should be an interesting compare, many thanks.

Otis Foster said...

Thnx melanchthon - a welcome change of pace for me.

Arewenotmen? said...

Un très grand enregistrement et un très grand merci !

cvllos said...

Melanchthon, on this ending of another year, I'd like to address you a wierd request:
I know that certainly there are real "work of arts" among these classical recordings that you post with so much caprice.
I feel jealous for not enjoying them - they are so many!
And certainly there are posts that would make our collection more rich and our taste more sofisticated.
So, here I'm going: would it be possible to give us some tips on these works you generously post?
Certainly, there are some (or many?) of them that we would be delighted to know, to hear, to collect, besides only Jazz.
Where could we begin?
Warm hugs from Rio/Brasil!

cucci marino said...

cvlios, your question is not only insightful, but fortuitous as the Chopin nocturnes are incredibly beautiful. I would start with these. Mel, thank you for all you do!

Melanchthon said...

Hello cvllos, what do you mean about "tips" ?

cvllos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cvllos said...

Dear friend, what I intended to say is that how hard for a beginner like me, among so many extrordinary works to head & enjoy your offers. I became delighted on Litz by Wilhelm Kempft and I intend to go ahead with Cucci Marino's suggestion, which I thank too much.
And by the way, how contemporary it seems those Brownie & Roach for Emarcy, some of my first introductions on Jazz field! Incredible!
Thanks for your continuous effort on MUSIC, Melanchthon!

Brush&Stick said...

Many thanks for these particularly beautiful versions of the Chopin Nocturnes!

Ehsan Kiani said...

Any links, good people ?