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CHOPIN BARCAROLLE
in F♯ major, Op 60



Here is a very large selection of differing interpretations of the Chopin Barcarolle by some of the finest concert pianists of the last 100 years. There are so many, in fact, that I have had to create two pages of them to allow the pages to load in a reasonable length of time, There are two by Vladimir Horowitz, one subtly different from the other, and five by Artur Rubinstein who might, in the last analysis, own this piece. One is the vision of a young man perhaps more susceptible to the romantic imagery than the other. Each is a superb performance by a master of the art.

The Chopin Barcarolle is not quite a typical Venetian boat song. It is by Chopin, after all. It is nonetheless a barcarolle, and as such must be played so as to convey the gently, sometimes not so gently, rocking rhythms of the motion of the waves and the swaying of the boat. The more successful of the interpretations you will find below never lose sight of this rhythm, not an easy task while playing a piece of the complexity of this work by Chopin. They will also pay heed to the flavors and passions of Italy to be found not far below the surface. In this respect, it is a much more difficult piece to play well than it might seem, and if these elements are overwhelmed by an excessive devotion to the Chopinesque and the perfect turn of each phrase, much of the meaning of this great piece is lost.

There are many very fine performances here, My favorites, today, are those by Cortot (1933), Rubinstein (1928 & 1962), Marguerite Long, Kempff, Gieseking (1938), Lipatti, Stanislav Neuhaus, Marcelle Meyer, Idil Biret, Rafal Blechacz, and Ashkenazy. Oh, and Moiseiwitsch (1939)! And Pouishnoff.

Maybe the one I love best is the one by Argerich at Carnegie Hall in March of 2000 which has unfortunately been removed.  But my favorite of all is the 1937 recording by Carlo Zecchi, one of the greatest pianists who ever lived, arguably the greatest.  Certainly his Chopin surpasses all others.

There are some performances of the Chopin Barcarolle that will make you wail and gnash your teeth. Why, you will ask, did he or she do this or that? Sometimes the answer will make itself apparent. Sometimes, not. Have fun.

If you want to compare a performance on this page with one on one of the other Barcarolle pages, use these links: Chopin Barcarolle II and Chopin Barcarolle III

I have kept the following paragraph as informational to encourage you to listen to the performance in question if you are fortunate enough to come across it. The performance referred to in the paragraph that follows has been removed by YouTube, doubtless for reasons I have bemoaned elsewhere on these pages.  What a shame.

[My latest addition to this group is Josep Colom, a Spanish pianist from Barcelona of whom, until this morning, I had never heard. He plays like a dream with the most beautiful touch imaginable. And to my way of thinking, his Barcarolle is impeccable. This is a recital video, so it is preceded by the 4th Ballade and followed by works of Debussy and Ravel. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing. Perhaps you too will wonder why we are bombarded with concerts and recordings by the likes of Yuja Wang, Lang Lang, and myriad other starlets when a pianist of this magnitude is available.]



VLADIMIR de PACHMANN
Russian pianist (1848-1933)

abridged 1907 recording




MARGUERITE LONG
French pianist (1874-1966)

recorded in 1933




ALFRED CORTOT
Franco-Swiss pianist (1877–1962)


recorded in 1933



recorded in 1952




LEONID KREUTZER
German pianist (1884-1953)

recorded in 1952




ANTONIETTA RUDGE
Brazilian Pianist (1885-1974)

recorded in the 1940s




ALFRED HOEHN
German pianist  (1887-1945)

recorded in 1929




ARTUR RUBINSTEIN
Polish-American Pianist (1887-1982)


recorded in 1928



recorded quite a bit later



and the best known studio recording




HEINRICH NEUHAUS
Soviet pianist (1888–1964)




BENNO MOISEIWITSCH
Ukranian-British pianist (1890-1963)

recorded in 1939



recorded in 1941




YVES NAT
French pianist  (1890-1956)

recorded in 1953




LEFF POUISHNOFF
Russian pianist (1891-1959)




NIKOLAJ ORLOFF
Russian pianist (1892-1964)

recorded in the early 1960s




IGNACE TIEGERMAN
Polish pianist (1893-1968)

recorded in the mid 1950s




GUIOMAR NOVAES
Brazilian pianist (1895-1979)

recorded ca1962




WILHELM KEMPFF
German pianist (1895-1991)

recorded in 1958




WALTER GIESEKING
German pianist (1895-1956)


recorded in 1938



recorded in 1956




YOURA GULLER
French pianist (1895-1980)

recorded in 1960




ALEXANDER BRAILOWSKY
Ukranian-French pianist (1896–1976)




MARCELLE MEYER
French pianist (1897-1958)

recorded in the 1950s




VLADIMIR SOFRONITSKY
Russian Pianist (1901-1961)


date of recording not specified



recorded live in 1949




CARLO ZECCHI
Italian pianist (1903-1984)

recorded in 1937




VLADIMIR HOROWITZ
Russian-American pianist (1903–1989)


recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1957



recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1967




CLAUDIO ARRAU
Chilean pianist (1903–1991)










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



Follow these links to our main subject categories


Or go to the Chopin Barcarolle II  or Chopin Barcarolle III pages



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