Browsing Category


Beethoven Chopin Schumann

Beethoven and more (by Ingrid Fliter)

In this review of the pianist Ingrid Fliter the critic says, “Her playing is not focused on the studied perfection and polish that is so often the case with younger competition-winning pianists today. Rather it makes these pieces come alive with a natural and unforced quality that underscores the very real perfection of the playing. It simply grabs the listener the way great Beethoven pieces should.”

Earlier he says, This is truly great Beethoven playing. It brings to mind the old recordings of Solomon, Hungerford, Myra Hess or Clara Haskil.

Wow – High praise indeed. Funny thing is .. I think I can hear it! Time to go shopping for much more of Fliter’s Beethoven.

here’s her take on the second movement of Beethoven’s Pathetique sonata


How about some more Ingrid! Here’s Chopin’s Waltz #8 op. 64 no. 3 in A flat


And some Schumann: Symphonic Etudes op. 13 Anhang variation V

Chopin Piano

Chopin – the “dreamiest?!”

Who can do “Dreamy” better than Chopin? Maybe nobody. Let’s listen!

His Nocturne in B #17. Two versions. One by Garrick Ohlsson, until 1970 the only American to win the International Chopin Competition.  And then a more recent winner of the Competition (2005) – Rafal Blechacz; who was proclaimed so superior to all the other entries that they couldn’t award a second prize! (check out Rafal – a fine young man without much of an Ego! A great “New” breed of pianist)

and a wonderful interview


By Ohlsson


By Blechacz

Chopin Chopin - Who plays him "right"? Piano

Chopin – who plays him “right?”

This is a re-posting of a post that was on the site for quite a while, which I deleted entirely. It’s very important to me since I was raised on Chopin; and recently spent a lot of time researching, listening and downloading various interpretations by the true ‘masters.’ I’ve since realized that the female pianist who I thought had captured Chopin’s essence was way off the mark!

If you love Chopin and would be interested in my search for: “Who plays him ‘right'” .. then read on. Otherwise cut to the chase, scroll down and find the little blue arrows … and listen to arguably the greatest composer of piano music.

So … even though my father – a genuine Chopin freak – listened to Horowitz and Rubinstein primarily: I find them both lacking compared to those I eventually found. Amongst others: Michelangeli, Ugorski, Cziffra, Arrau, Alexandre Tharaud, Richter, Guiomar Novaes, Pollini, Martha Argerich .. and from the ‘young ones’ – Yundi Li and Rafal Blechacz. Rafal was considered SO great in his playing of Chopin that at  the 15th International Frederick Chopin Piano CompetitionWarsaw According to ABC News, one of the judges, Professor Piotr Paleczny, said that Blechacz “so outclassed the remaining finalists that no second prize could actually be awarded.”

Without further ado – here are some great interpreters – of the great piano composer – Chopin.

PS – I have deleted and replaced the Long Playing entry for Chopin with other great artists/interpreters of his music.

Cantabile, [KK1230] – In Bb played by Anatoli Ugorski


Mazurka in d major op.33 no. 2 played by Martha Argerich


Waltze -12 in F minor op.70 2 played by Claudio Arrau


Revolutionary Etude played by Georges Cziffra


Prelude no. 15 in D flat major (Raindrop) played by Rafal Blechacz


Chopin Long Play


Piano Concerto #2 – second movement (*Sorry I lost the “tag” for who the artist is)

24 Preludes Op.28 No.6 in B minor played by Garrick Ohlsson

Fantaisie-Impromptu #4 in C sharp min, Op. 66 played by Martha Argerich

Waltz in A flat op.69 1 Valse de l’adieu played by Claudio Arrau

Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” played by Rafal Blechacz

Berceuse, Op. 57 played by Maurizio Pollini

Scherzo no.2 in B flat minor, Op.31 played by Yundi Li

Mazurka #43  in g, op67-  2 played by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise, op. 22 part 1 played by Alfred Brendel

Chopin – Piano Concertos no. 1 – 2. Romanze. Larghetto played by Yundi Li

Chopin Madmen of the piano redux Piano Piano Freaks Only!

Madmen of the piano redux

In an earlier posting titled “Madmen of the piano” I focused on composers. Here let’s focus on the pianists.

I’ve recently spent a lot of time updating my Chopin collection; seeking out the greatest pianists I can find.  The more I listen to these virtuosic dynamos … the more amazed I am that the human body can accomplish these feats. How can fingers move so rapidly? How can the rythym and timing of striking the right note go on and on … when it’s different between the two hands? – Sometimes a variable speed, rythm, reach and tone going on between the two hands. I don’t get it. I mean… they don’t all have a touch of Tourettes Syndrome do they!?

(*I remember reading that some Tourettes people have much faster reflexes and mechanical movements than normal)

Just listen to, and watch, what 10 fingers, 2 hands, 2 wrists and forearms can do!

(My vote for the “impossible” goes to Cziffra in the video)

Claudio Arrua plays Chopin’s Etude #1 op. 10


Georges Cziffra – Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 2


Martha Argerich – Chopin prelude 16, op. 28


Vladimir Horowitz – Franz Liszt / Tarentella

You have to see this to believe it!

Chopin Piano Show Emotion? or be a "machine"? Worth Watching

Show Emotion? Or be a “Machine”? It’s worth watching!

Many musicians these days are either accused of being over-emotional in their presentation; or machine like. Yundi Li apparently has attained something like rock star status since he’s nice looking, young and really puts it out there. But to judge him by how moved he becomes by the music (*some say the Modern Crop of artists  ‘put it on’ a bit) – I think this does Yundi a real injustice. This is “real” emotion as far as I can see.

More importantly: I’ve heard Chopin all my life and I’d place Yundi’s presentation up against even the “Old Masters”

Another thing: I had no idea that when these Artists competed in Major competitions, that they had to play for this long. Wish I’d been there! Anyway – out of the entire hour or so – I think I might have heard one, two or three missed, or  miss-played notes!

Hang on a minute. I’m assuming that this Video was a single presentation? It just occured to me that maybe Yundi played all these pieces over several days?!  Whatever.  Did he win?  Google it and find out!

So Dear Listener: What do you think? Has Yundi “got it”?

Bach Chopin Elgar Handel Just Music. No Commentary! An Eclectic Mix Liszt Piano Saint Saens Satie

Just Music. An Eclectic Mix. NO Commentary!

Chopin Nocturne Op. 37 in G minor

Chopin nocturne


Saint Saens – The Swan from Carnival of the Animals

saint saens the swan


Eric Satie pieces froides – danse de travers # 1



Liszt – Ave Maria



Elgar – Sospiri Op. 70

Elgar Sospiri


Bach Suite #1 – Ouverture

Bach overtures01_suite-no-1_-i-ouverture


Handel oboe concerto in G minor HWV 287 – Allegro

Hanel oboe

Chopin Chopin drove me crazy Piano

Chopin drove me crazy!

A listener wrote and asked what this piece was. It’s from the Movie “Green Card” that I refer to on the right hand side as: “Did you see the movie Green Card”?

They sent me this link to find out what piece is being played.

Having been raised on Chopin (see About Me) I knew I’d heard this a thousand times! Therefore, I knew it had to be Chopin. BUT .. I’m not so good on titles. I started searching in Waltzes and Mazurkas … it  must be one or the other.

Since what she plays in the video is quite short (and it sounds complete!) – I was only listening to the first notes of all the Waltzes and Mazurkas. Then I even went on to unlikely Nocturnes and Etudes! Going crazy! My library of Chopin pieces is very comprehensive – it HAD to be there! But it wasn’t.

WHY couldn’t I find it? Because she’s playing the very end of the piece!

So here’s the exquisite Chopin Waltz #9 in a Flat Op. 69 “Farewell” played by Ashkenazy.

Waltz no. 9 Farewell

Balakirev Chopin Liszt Madmen of the Piano Piano Rachmaninoff

Madmen of the Piano

Madmen of the Piano (*and the piano’s supreme emotional power –  Inspired by, and dedicated to  Tam from Retravision in Byron Bay, because he just loves the wild piano stuff! )

Liszt, Chopin and Rachmaninoff

(*Yes indeed … there are lots of other ‘Madmen Pianists’ – but these guys take the cake)

I was thinking the other day – What instruments convey the most ‘intensity’? Drums? Electric guitar (ala Jimmy Hendrix!) … maybe the Sax? (John Coltrain)

For me it’s the piano. Done by the “Masters.”

Here are some intense pieces; some supremely difficult to play: Pieces that blend that ‘wild’ quality – with emotional glory!

Sorry Tam! I didn’t do what I originally intended; which was to introduce only the purely ‘berserk’ numbers. I know you love ‘em … but hey – I might lose listeners!

Dear listener – if these pieces move you, click on the Title on the right, “My Personal Bias” You’ll find gorgeous piano pieces without as much intensity.

Chopin Ballade #1


Rachmaninoff prelude in G Minor (played by “THE Piano man” – no .. not Billy Joel !! but The Big H – Horowitz)

Rachmaninoff prelude in g- minor Vladimir Horowitz-piano


Liszt erlkonig-op1


Chopin Fanstasie Impromptu in C sharp minor


Rachmaninoff preludes-no-10-in-b-minor-lento


Liszt hungarian rhapsody no-2


Here’s another one. This piece is often mentioned in the “hardest to play” category. It is surely “Intense”!

Islamey an Oriental Fantasy by Mily Balakirev. And here’s what a critic said:

Despite some dismissal that the work is merely a showpiece, Islamey has had a lasting impact on piano solo music; Ravel once remarked to a friend that his goal in writing Gaspard de la nuit was to compose a piece that was “more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey.”

Balakirev Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)

Albinoni Baroque Chopin Piano

Special Request

How exciting! I’m getting requests!

Eve has requested Chopin’s Prelude op. 28 / no. 4 – and some Albinoni. (not on the site until now)

Since my father was the ultimate  ‘Chopin freak’ – I probably heard this Prelude many times whilst still in the womb. And many, many more times after exiting! It’s exquisite… and SO Chopin.

Albinoni: His debut on jimsclassicalmusic (A simple oversight Eve) Eventually I’ll have EVERYBODY!

Let’s go with the ‘signature’ Albinoni. We’ve all heard it somewhere (the theme to the movie Gallipoli maybe?) but a great piece of music nonetheless.

I just read something really interesting about Albinoni. Apparently he was very rich and wasn’t much concerned with ‘hanging out’ with other musicians. Too busy being with the wealthy and aristocratic!

Albinoni Adagio in G minor


Chopin prelude in e minor Opus 28 no. 4

Chopin Perfect Music

Perfect Music #3

Number three in the series. Perfect Music means … well – perfect music. (see on the right [Categories] for the full series. Click on Number 1 for the story about “Perfect Music”)

Chopin Piano Concerto number one: Second movement Romance Larghetto. First watch this superb pianists Yundi Li work his magic. Inferior sound compared to the blue arrow recording – but to see and feel the emotion is worth a drop in fidelity!

Chopin – Piano Concertos no. 1 – 2. Romanze. Larghetto

Beethoven Brahms Chopin Liszt Mendelssohn My personal bias - emotionally moving piano Piano Rachmaninoff

My Personal Bias – emotionally moving piano

A selection of solo piano pieces that fit my bias … Dreamy, melancholy, peaceful or joyously uplifting.

Here is a handful of the pianos ‘Master Composers.’ (*this bias is due no doubt to the neural imprinting from birth – of my father’s Chopin blasting!)  SEE : ABOUT ME on right hand panel

Rachmaninoff prelude in D major op. 23 no. 4


Liszt – Un Sospiro (Italian for “a sigh” – although there is some doubt Liszt ever sanctioned or used this title!) It’s the third of Liszt’s trois etudes de concert.



Mendelssohn op 053 no. 2 from his series Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without words)


Another from the series: op 019 no. 3 in A Major “Jagerlied”

Another from the series: op 019 no. 3 in A Major “Jagerlied”


Brahms’ Waltz – op. 39 / 15 in A flat major


Beethoven piano sonata 8 – adagio cantibile [listen]


Chopin Nocturne op. 15 in F sharp