Frédéric Chopin: Préludes, Op. 28 – Prélude in C Sharp major, Op. 45 – Prélude no. 26 in A Flat major, Op. Posthumous – Barcarolle in F Sharp major, Op. 60 – Fantasie in f minor, Op. 49
Vanessa Perez (piano)
Recorded at Patrych Sound Studios, Bronx, New York, NY (Performed on a Hamburg Steinway CD 147 piano) – 60’06
TELARC 33388-02 – Booklet in English with photos and program notes
Préludes, op. 28, of Frédéric Chopin are a set of very short pieces composed in all twenty four of the major and minor keys. Although they were published in 1839 and dedicated to the composer Joseph Christoph Kessler, they are generally acknowledged as Chopin’s nod to Johann Sebastian Bach, who was the first composer to write a set of preludes in all twenty four of the major and minor keys.
Bach composed his preludes and fugues from The Well Tempered Clavier chromatically beginning with C major, c minor, C# major, c# minor, D major, d minor, and so on and so forth. Chopin however, arranged his preludes by the circle of fifths and their relative minors. The first is in C major and the second is in the relative a minor, the third is in G major and the forth is in e minor. The fifth is in D major and the sixth is in b minor, etcetera, etc. Neither Bach nor Chopin intended the pieces to be performed as a set, but they can be and frequently are. Indeed, there are many, many complete recordings of Bach’s The Well Tempered Clavier and Chopin’s Préludes, op. 28, and they span the history of the Gramophone right up to the present Digital era.
Vanessa Perez is a formidable pianist, and among the current generation, she is a force to be reckoned with in the music of Chopin. But she has much to contend with when compared along side of Arthur Rubinstein, Shura Cherkassky, Nikita Magaloff, Vladimir Horowitz, Ivan Moravec, or Claudio Arrau.
In fact it was Claudio Arrau who was very impressed by her playing and encouraged her early on to pursue a career.
Her technique is impressive and her style is bold and in the Romantic tradition. She is able to produce large sweeping phrases, with much attention given to the weights and stresses in her fingerings of certain notes. Ms. Perez has an excellent cantabile style that is very effective in producing a singing quality in the long melodic phrases that is so prized in the playing of Chopin’s music.
If you do not own a recording of the Chopin Préludes, and are looking for a new performance, well played, with excellent digital sound, I can recommend this recording without reservation. If you know this music well and have many other recordings of the Préludes, this disc will have very little to offer you other than the voice of the new kid on the block. But indeed, it is an excellent voice!