CHOPIN NOCTURNE
Op27-2 in D flat Major




The Chopin Nocturne Op27-2 is sublimely beautiful piano music. It is similar to the Chopin Berceuse in that the melodic and dramatic narratives of the piece work themselves out over an essentially static background.

But here the comparison ends. In the Berceuse the left hand is virtually unchanging throughout while the right hand weaves its somniferous magic. In this Nocturne there is tension between a melody trying repeatedly to take flight and escape the confines of an accompaniment unwilling to allow it to do so.

What begins as a lovely, lilting and bittersweet spianato melody becomes increasingly fraught with tension as it must turn this way and that to try to evolve against accompaniment gently unwaivering in its determination. There is a climactic moment at which the two forces do battle when the melody makes a final, unsuccessful attempt to break away, and gives up. In this moment, Chopin accomplishes a dramatic effect that surpasses all the fortississimo sturm and drang of the 19th Century.

While there are many beautiful renditions here, Allow me to single out the 1961 recording by Dame Moura Lympany as being most exquisite and one of the finest performance of Chopin I have ever encountered. The Lipatti and Smeterlin performances are also favorites of mine, as is the incomparable elegance of Rubinstein in his Moscow performance of 1964.

I'd also like to draw your attention to the three recordings by Jozef Hofmann dating from 1922, 1935, and 1942, the last of which certainly belongs with the two mentioned above.

If you are an admirer of Richter, Gilels and their Russian contemporaries, please do not fail to listen to the recording by Olef Boshniakovich, a pianist whose name should be as well known. And those of you who are interested in hints of how Chopin himself might have played the piece, be sure to listen to the recording by Moriz Rosenthal, a pupil of Franz Liszt.




MARTHA ARGERICH
Argentine Pianist (b 1941)
Recorded live in 1972


br>



CLAUDIO ARRAU
Chilean pianist (1903-1991)







LOLA ASTANOVA
Russian-American pianist (b 1985)







WILHELM BACKHAUS
german pianist (1884-1969)
recorded live in 1953







DANIEL BARENBOIM
Argentine-born Israeli pianist (b 1942)
recorded live in 2009







MAGDALENA BACZEWSKA
contemporary Polish pianist
followed by a lovely Mazurka







IDIL BIRET
Turkish pianist (b 1941)







OLEG BOSHNIAKOVICH
Russian pianist (b 1920)







John Browning
Amereican pianist (1933-2003)
recorded c. the early 1960s







SHURA CHERKASSKY
Russian-American pianist (1909-1995)
recorded in 1956







GYORGY CIFFRA
Hungarian-French pianist (1921-1994)







IMOGEN COOPER
British pianist (b 1949)







LOUIS DIÉMER
French Pianist (1843-1919)
Recorded c. 1903-04







LEON FLEISHER
American pianist (b 1928)
recorded in the early 1980s





INGRID FLITER
Argentine pianist (b 1973)







SAMSON FRANCOIS
French pianist (1924-1970)







ANDREI GAVRILOV
Russian pianist (b 1955)
live performance in 2004







PAVEL GINTOV
Ukranian pianist (b 1984)







ANNA GOLDSWORTHY
Australian pianist (b 1974)







ADAM HARASIEWICZ
Polish Pianist (b 1932)







JOZEF HOFMANN
Polish-American Pianist (1876-1957)


Duo Arte piano roll recorded in 1922






Acoustic recording made in 1935






radio broadcast in 1942







BRUCE HUNGERFORD
Australian Pianist (1922-1977)







ILYA ITIN
Russian pianist (b 1967)







BYRON JANIS
American pianist (b 1928)







RAOUL KOCZALSKI
Polish-American Pianist (1884-1948)







EVGENY KISSIN
Russian Pianist (b 1971)







CHISATO KUSUNOKI
German-born English pianist (b 1979)
recorded in 2010







LI YUNDI
Chinese pianist (b 1982)
recorded in 2010







DINU LIPATTI
Romanian Pianist (1917-1950)







NIKOLAI LUGANSKY
Russian Pianist (b 1972)
live performance 2004







MOURA LYMPANY
British Pianist (1916-2005)







VITALIJ MARGULIS
Ukrainian Pianist (b.1928)







JANNE MERTANEN
contemporary Finnish pianist







IVAN MORAVEC
Czech pianist (b 1930)







VLADIMIR de PACHMANN
Russian-German Pianist (1848-1933)
Recorded in 1916 and again in 1925







MAURIZIO POLLINI
Italian Pianist (b.1942)






and another







MORIZ ROSENTHAL
Polish pianist (1862-1946)
preceded by Op 9 n2







ARTUR RUBINSTEIN
Polish-American pianist (1887-1982)
live video from 1964






and a commercial recording







SANDRO RUSSO
contemporary Italian pianist







VLADIMIR SOFRONITSKY
Russian Pianist (1901-1961)
1. Nocturne in C sharp minor and 2. Nocturne in D flat major







SOLOMON CUTNER
British Pianist (1902-1988)
recorded in 1942







JAN SMETERLIN
Polish Pianist (1892-1967)
recorded in 1954







PIOTR SWITON
contemporary Polish Pianist







RAYMOND TROUARD
French Pianist (1916-2008)
Recorded in 1953







ALEXIS WEISSENBERG
Bulgarian-born French Pianist (1929-2012







This last example is by a pianist who posts wonderful recordings by the great pianists on YouTube. All I know about him is that his first name seems to be Andrei, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and he goes by the name of Truecrypt. If you Google him, you will find a number of people as amazed by his playing as I asking if anyone knows who he is. Whoever he is, he is a marvelous pianist of the first order.














Here is my new book, a murder mystery with a musical polemic






and the audiobook version



Click here to return to the Interpretation page


Click here to go to the Great Classical Pianists page


Click here to go to the Great Women Pianists page


Click here to go to the Great Composers Play page


Click here to return to the Piano Concerto page