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“Life According to Chopin”
Frédéric Chopin: Waltz in D-Flat major, opus 64, n° 1 “Minute” – Waltz in C-Sharp minor, opus 64, n° 2 – Barcarolle in F-Sharp major, opus 60 – Nocturne in D-Flat major, opus 27, n° 2 – Mazurka in A minor, opus 17, n° 4 – Ballade n° 1 in G minor, opus 23 – Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante in E-Flat major, opus 22 – Mazurka in A-Flat major, opus Posthumous P2 n° 4 (BI 85) – Fantasie-Impromptu n° 4 in C-Sharp minor, opus 66 – Nocturne n° 20 in C-Sharp minor opus Posthumous P1 n° 16 (BI 49) – Scherzo n° 3 in C-Sharp minor, opus 39

Jeffrey Biegel (Piano)
Recording: Patrych Sound Studios – 71’
GPR Records # GPR 10014 – Booklet in English

Born without the ability to speak or hear begins life by figuring out ways in which to adapt. For three years Jeffrey Biegel encountered such hurdles until age three when he underwent corrective surgery. Up until that time he was only able to discern audibly through vibrations. It is this key communication which might explain why Jeffrey Biegel has such a connection and uncanny interpretation of piano. Life According to Chopin grabs the listener with Biegel’s uncompromising quality that approaches the prodigious Polish-born youth’s music from a most fascinating perspective. Universal collaborations with pop musicians such as Neil Sadaka and Billy Joel, makes Jeffrey Biegel’s Chopin translation sound almost a bit like it is coming from Broadway©.

Biegel intentionally places emphasis on particular notes, knowing precisely his desired approach to speed up or slow down. Take a case in point with the opening Minute Waltz. Though never intended to be played in the literal time sense, Biegel positions himself comfortably within the normal time range of one and a half to two and half minutes. The result is not particularly rushed, yet it gives accentuation and effervescence to Chopin’s musical statement; pulsations and literal pauses makes one really pay close attention to the ‘Biegel technique.’

A fine smattering of waltzes and nocturnes, there’s even a scherzo and a barcarolle added into the recipe. Biegel’s rendition of the Ballade noº 1 in G minor strongly anticipates Grieg. The Andante Spianato is sublime demonstrating Biegel’s lyrical poetic approach few ever possess when playing Chopin. Any of Chopin’s polonaises are a treat, but personally, the Grande Polonaise Brillante is a crowning highlight, grand in every sense of the word.

This compendium of Chopin’s great piano solos also has an extra added bonus: the write up. Within one page in a first person narrative Jeffrey Biegel provides his take on the pieces about to be heard. This personal touch is an informative approach.

Jeffrey Biegel has an exceptional musicianship and any lover of Chopin will not be disappointed with this recording. Spectacular.

Christie Grimstad




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