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CHOPIN  BALLADE 1
in G minor, Op 23



The Chopin Ballade 1 and the three succeeding Ballades are big, sweeping Romantic declarations. In the opinion of many. these are his most successful compositions, not at all created for the salon, entirely suitable for performance in a large concert hall. In the Ballades, Chopin finds his most powerful and sustained voice. They are simply magnificent compositions for the piano.

The Chopin Ballade 1 is, to my mind, the most successful of the four. It seems to grow seamlessly out of a single thought, reach tasteful heights of passion and end when what needs saying is said. But along the way, there is a buffet of delights encouraging a range of options for differences of interpretation. Individual classical pianists return to this Ballade with new ideas performing it again and again in concert and in the studio.

Below you will find numerous excellent interpretations of the work including three performances by Claudio Arrau and two by Krystian Zimerman, and, on a separate page all his own, six different performances by Vladimir Horowitz spanning some 40 years.

Yesterday my favorites among these were by Bolet, Cortot, Michelangeli, Oborin and Perlemuter, but this has changed and will again, perhaps in favor of Hofmann, Richter and Godowsky, or Argerich, Arrau and Backhaus. And, of course, Elena Kuschnerova. There are many stunning performances here.



LEOPOLD GODOWSKY
Polish-American pianist (1870 - 1938)

1916 Duo-Art piano roll




JOSEF HOFMANN
Polish-American pianist (1876 - 1957)




ALFRED CORTOT
Franco-Swiss pianist (1877 - 1962)




MARK HAMBOURG
Russian-British pianist (1879 - 1960)

recorded in 1928




WILHELM BACKHAUS
German pianist (1884 - 1969)

recorded in 1952




ARTUR RUBINSTEIN
Polish-American pianist (1887 - 1982)

recorded in 1959




TERESA CARREÑO
Venezuelan pianist (1896 - 1976)

1905 piano roll




ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY
Russian pianist (1896 - 1976)




SIMON BARERE
Ukranian-born Russian pianist (1896 - 1951)

recorded in 1950




VLADIMIR HOROWITZ
Russian-American Pianist (1903 - 1989)



CLAUDIO ARRAU
Chilean Pianist (1903 - 1991)


recorded in 1938



recorded in 1953
[followed by Ballaes 2-4]



recorded in 1977




VLADO PERLEMUTER
French pianist (1904 - 2002)




LOUIS KENTNER
Hungarian-British pianist (1905-1987)

recorded in 1947




LEV OBORIN
Russian pianist (1907 - 1974)

recorded in the 1950s




EILEEN JOYCE
Australian pianist (1908 - 1991)

recorded in 1942




MARIA GRINBERG
Russian pianist (1908 - 1979)




ANNIE FISCHER
Hungarian pianist (1914 - 1995)

recorded live in 1951




JORGE BOLET
Cuban pianist (1914 - 1990)




SVIATOSLAV RICHTER
Soviet pianist (1915 - 1997)

recorded live in 1960




ARTURO BENEDETTI MICHELANGELI
Italian pianist (1920 - 1995)




GINETTE DOYEN
French pianist (1921 - 2002)

recorded in 1952




MARGARITA FYODOROVA
Russian-Soviet pianist (b 1920s)

filmed in 1993




BÉLA SÍKI
Hungarian pianist (b 1923)

recorded in 1955




SERGIO FIORENTINO
Italian pianist (1927 - 1998)

recorded in 1995




VALENTINA KAMENIKOVA
Soviet-Czech pianist (1930-1989)




IVAN MORAVEC
Czech pianist (b 1930)




MARIA TIPO
Italian pianist (b 1931)




VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY
Russian-Icelandic pianist (b 1937)




MARTHA ARGERICH
Argentine pianist (b 1941)




IDIL BIRET
Turkish pianist (b 1941)




Maurizio Pollini
Italian pianist (b 1942)

recorded live in 2004




ANDREI GAVRILOV
Russian pianist (b 1955)




KRYSTIAN ZIMERMAN
Polish pianist (b 1956)


recorded in 1987



date of recording unspecified




CECILE LICAD
Philippine pianist (b 1961)

recorded in the mid 1980s




PIETRO de MARIA
Italian pianist (b 1967)

recorded live in 2004




MASSIMILIANO FERRATI
Italian pianist (b 1970)




EVGENY KISSIN
Russian pianist (b 1971)




CEDRIC TIBERGHIEN
French pianist (b 1975)




ELENA KUSCHNEROVA
contemporary Russian pianist

recorded in 1995




SOPHIA AGRANOVICH
contemporary Ukranian-American pianist

recorded in 2010










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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