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Daniel Barenboim: The Warsaw Recital / Chopin [DVD]

Album Summary

>Chopin, Frédéric : Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49
>Chopin, Frédéric : Nocturne for piano no 8 in D flat major, Op. 27/2, CT. 115
>Chopin, Frédéric : Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 "Funeral March"
>Chopin, Frédéric : Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60
>Chopin, Frédéric : Waltz for piano no 4 in F major, Op. 34/3, CT. 210
>Chopin, Frédéric : Waltz for piano no 3 in F major, Op. 34/3, CT. 209
>Chopin, Frédéric : Waltz for piano no 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 64/2, CT. 213
>Chopin, Frédéric : Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57
>Chopin, Frédéric : Polonaise for piano no 6 in A flat major ("Héroique"), Op. 53, CT. 155
>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7
>Chopin, Frédéric : Waltz for piano no 6 in D flat major ("Minute"), Op. 64/1, CT. 212
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Frédéric Chopin Year 2010 coincides with the 60th anniversary of Daniel Barenboim's stage début, and as a pianist he has decided to devote this year to the great Romantic master of the keyboard.

Chopin was born on 1 March 1810 in a small village near Warsaw, and on the eve of the 200th anniversary of this date Barenboim gave this wildly acclaimed Warsaw recital as part of an extensive European tour.

The program comprised some of the composer's best-known works, including the great B flat minor Sonata with its famous Funeral March, which sounded to many "as the composer may well have imagined it".

While Chopin used to advise his piano scholars to take singing lessons, Barenboim, as an experienced conductor of operas is most familiar with the human voice as well. With his brilliant virtuosity, he lead the audience through a most colorful program, once again proving his talent for this composer.

Journal de Montréal
Chef d'orchestre influent, pianiste de renom, Daniel Barenboim a dit: «La musique m'a enseigné plus de choses à propos de la vie que la vie ne m'em a enseigné à propos de la musique.» Dans un décor sublime et empreint de recueillement, il revoit Chopin à Varsovie. Sublimement filmé, un grand moment pour tous les pianistes et surtout, amoureux de la musique tout court.

The Classical Review - Colin Anderson
For the 90 minutes of this recital, recorded live in the National Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw on 28 February 2010, the viewer can enjoy a generally straightforward presentation of images - long-held shots of pertinent details, such as fingers on keys and a focus on the pianist's face. Not that Daniel Barenboim gives too much away through his facial expressions; rather he is far more revealing through the sound of his performances (the reproduction of which is clear and immediate) - although the recital as a whole is rather hit and miss in terms of performance quality.

At least director Michael Beyer treats his at-home audience as intelligent enough not to require rapid-fire editing or oblique angles to hold the attention. He might, though, have curtailed some of the applause. One can at least centre on Barenboim's concentrated efforts to do a good job, even if he is not always successful.

There's an encouraging start with the great Op. 49 Fantasy, Barenboim searching in the opening paragraphs and creating a sense of expectancy. The ear notices subtle variations of dynamics and appreciates his sensitive touch. The march-like episode and its reprise are gratefully noble and Barenboim's hands are in good balance (where some pianists highlight the top line.) All in all, this is an impressive opening to the recital (given, of course, during Chopin's bicentenary year, which also marked the 60th anniversary of Barenboim's own recital debut.)

However the following Nocturne (in D flat, the second of the Op. 27 set) is just a little too slow with individual notes over-savored; a little more flow is required, but one cannot refuse Barenboim's obvious affection for the piece. It's good to have shots of Barenboim caressing the piano's keyboard and his heroic negotiating of the most complex and challenging passages that Chopin composed - not least in the B-flat minor Sonata (Op. 35) that follows, although it finds Barenboim technically lacking in what is a blustering performance. The first movement (Barenboim parsimoniously omitting the exposition repeat) is muddled and hesitant, the 'Scherzo' not much better. The 'Funeral March' third movement is somewhat numb and mournful, and the epigrammatic and elusive movement that forms the finale is cautious and lacks suspense.

In what was no doubt the recital's second half - the concert is presented as continuous (one reason for lessening the applause - there's a basinful of it after the Sonata and then again immediately to welcome back Barenboim for part two) - this inconsistent occasion continues with a trio of Waltzes (two from Op. 34 and one from Op. 64) that are occasionally lumpy even while Barenboim is alive to their melancholy and whimsy. The Berceuse is gently revealed, somewhat ethereal - a highlight - and the famous A-flat Polonaise is stately, and its rampaging middle section peals and struts with purpose.

Presumably the final two pieces are encores; a Mazurka (the F minor piece from Op. 7) inward and softly strummed, filigree intricacies easefully revealed and with earthier contrasts powerfully sounded; the so-called Minute Waltz (the nickname usually taken as time related, but maybe this soubriquet is more to do with size?) taking 1 minute and 59 seconds (excluding applause) at an ideally relaxed tempo in a lovely and insouciant version to complete an uneven recital.

Gramophone - Jeremy Nicholas
Barenboim takes a cool approach to Poland's national composer
This great musician and ambassador for music celebrated in 2010 the diamond jubilee of his public debut. He has just signed a new record deal, maintains a hectic schedule conducting operas, orchestras and world premieres and still, somewhat miraculously, finds time to keep in fine pianistic trim. Not that this recital, a prestigious occasion given in the National Philharmonic Hall, Warsaw, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, is one of untrammeled joy.

I suppose it was only right that the programme should consist of some of the Polish national composer's best-known works, but the first half is notable for its conservative, even mundane, views of the Fantasie and "Funeral March" Sonata (the repeat). The tempi are cautious, the emotions cool. Barenboim seems an almost diffident figure compared to the one conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in an inspired performance of Brahms's First Symphony recently shown on television. By the second half, however, he has warmed to his task. The Barcarolle and sequence of three Waltzes are quite beguiling, the F major and C sharp minor works presented as touching short stories rather than athletic events (Op 64 No 2 reminded me of Rosenthal's magical 1929 recording). A change to the enharmonic major leads to the Berceuse for more drawing-room intimacy and, not before time, a change of temperature with a magnificent and genuinely impassioned account of the A flat major Polonaise.

The neat, unfussy direction makes the film a pleasure to watch.

Fanfare
... Daniel Barenboim gave a solo Chopin recital of supremely idiomatic style. Whether in the "Minute" Waltz or the "Funeral March" Sonata, Barenboim is a master of the composer's sensibility and rhetoric.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 90 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, LPCM Stereo



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Works Details

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Fantasie for Piano in F minor/A flat major, B 137/Op. 49
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1841

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Nocturne for piano no 8 in D flat major, Op. 27/2, CT. 115
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1835

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Sonata for Piano no 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 "Funeral March"
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1837-1839

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Barcarolle for Piano in F sharp major, B 158/Op. 60
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1845-1846

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Waltz for piano no 4 in F major, Op. 34/3, CT. 210
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1838

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Waltz for piano no 3 in F major, Op. 34/3, CT. 209
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1838

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Waltz for piano no 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 64/2, CT. 213
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846-1847

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Berceuse for Piano in D flat major, B 154/Op. 57
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1844

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Polonaise for piano no 6 in A flat major ("Héroique"), Op. 53, CT. 155
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1842

>Chopin, Frédéric : Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7 :: no 3 in F minor
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1830-1832

>Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849) : Waltz for piano no 6 in D flat major ("Minute"), Op. 64/1, CT. 212
  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1846-1847