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Chopin: Sonata in B flat minor; Berceuse; Ballade No. 4 in F minor


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Product Details

  • Performer: Ivan Moravec
  • Composer: Frederic Chopin
  • Audio CD (March 9 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vox
  • ASIN: B00009PY4F
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,233 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. CHOPIN Sonata in Bb minor Op. 35 1 Grave-Doppio movimento
2. CHOPIN Sonata in Bb minor Op. 35 2 Scherzo
3. CHOPIN Sonata in Bb minor Op. 35 3 Marche Funebre
4. CHOPIN Sonata in Bb minor Op. 35 4 Presto
5. CHOPIN Berceuse Op. 57
6. CHOPIN Ballade No. 4 in F minor Op. 52
7. CHOPIN Mazurka in E Op. 6 No. 3
8. CHOPIN Mazurka in Bb minor Op. 24 No. 4
9. CHOPIN Mazurka in Db Op. 30 No. 3
10. CHOPIN Fantaisie in F minor Op. 49

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By blue-59 on Sept. 14 2003
Format: Audio CD
It doesn't really seem so long ago that I first heard Ivan Moravec and sat stunned at his superb artistry. But it has been 40 years, and this great master whom I heard play in his early thirties is now 73. And what has he recorded in that span? Three sonatas and five concertos of Mozart, a little Bach and Schumann, six Beethoven sonatas (while other pianists his age are on their second or even third complete cycle), the third and fourth Beethoven concertos, the Ravel Sonatine, some Brahms, some nice Czech music, and a good deal of wonderful Debussy and Chopin. In other words, just a few years' worth of recordings for some of the more famous names on the big labels. However, within his modest output, Ivan Moravec has given some of the greatest performances ever preserved.
So we are thankful whenever this musician-virtuoso records anything, and this latest release is nothing less than magnificent. Is it possible for a performance of the warhorse B-flat minor sonata of Chopin to sound strikingly fresh and new? Apparently so. This introspective reading is one for the ages. Other pianists (Pollini comes to mind) have certainly recorded unsurpassable renditions of this piece, but Moravec's is unique and incomparable. Moravec is capable of pyrotechnics, but they simply have no place here. Even so, each note is beautifully in place and given its full due, as if it were a human soul.
It is interesting to compare this performance of the fourth Ballade with the recording Moravec made back in 1966. The 2002 version seems more leisurely, but in fact has a shorter playing time. The earlier version makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. The new version puts you deep into thought. Apply superlatives to the rest of the disc and you have my review.
This disc is hard to find but certainly available, and at mid-price to boot.
Please, Ivan. The B minor sonata. The late Beethoven. Some more Mozart and Debussy. Anything you want to play.
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Format: Audio CD
I will make it very simple to digest:
Sound Quality, Performance, Selection, Price: 10 out of 10.
I was so impressed with this album that I decided to write about it for you to enjoy it as well. Even the content selection is a piece of art in itself. The production of this compact is very well done. It sets the "magic" that goes from the Sonata in B flat minor to Berceuse, and from Berceuse to the Ballade, the lingering mazurkas, and, finally, the crown of this outstanding production and performance: The Fantasie in F minor.
This album is a piece of art in every way...! It's not only Moravec, who is way up there in inspiration and impecable performance. I'm talking about the team that put these pieces together -like jewels- without overwhelming each other, but supporting each other, articulating a mood that is consistent without falling in monotony. And, yes, it will mesmerize your senses as it did with mine. And yes, it will let you craving for more, and you will do what I did: play it again, and again. If you need to grab a defect on this album, THIS IS IT!
This is the kind of album that will set the mood for intimacy...
Very moving, very touching. Ideal companion to a good wine or a moment of inner expansion.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Unique and unforgettable May 8 2005
By Jeffrey G. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
All of this music has been recorded many times over by musicians ranging from the dire to the sublime. For any Chopin recording to really stand out from the pack nowadays, it has to have some really special qualities. This is one of those recordings, and as someone who has never heard any other Moravec, it has made me eager to explore him further.

The B-flat minor Sonata of Chopin is a four-movement work cut from granite; the third movement is the Funeral March you hear at every memorial service today. The sonata can be shattering, but Moravec plays it with an inward expression I've never heard before in this piece, together with the most rounded tone to be recorded since Rubinstein. His interpretation is dramatic and majestic, not athletic, and certainly not bombastic.

The Berceuse is next, a short and deservedly popular cradle song which uses a gentle, rocking ostinato figure, practically unchanged through the entire piece, underneath what amounts to a kind of chaconne. I do not expect to ever hear it played with a greater inner peace than on this CD.

Following this little bon-bon is the great F minor Ballade, which is deeply tragic. A heavenly opening with subtle bell effects, which returns later in A major to great effect, is followed by a curiously obsessive theme which sounds like a song sung by a child in the wilderness. This theme keeps returning, in varied forms as the child grows into a full-fledged adult, until it returns one last time for the coda, in the form of an intense and furious two-part counterpoint which is among the most difficult passages in Chopin and leaves a strong psychological imprint.

Included in the CD are three Mazurkas, which are delightful. Strict Polish practice would entail prolonging the first beat for so long that it felt like a 4/4, rather than a 3/4 as notated. The usual approach today is to ignore this stylistic trait and play the Mazurkas like Waltzes, but Moravec's solution is to use a pungent rubato which fits the melody and accents its light, dance-like quality. Even if it is not a perfectly accurate mazurka style, Moravec is thoroughly charming.

The disc ends with the Fantaisie in F minor, a brilliant military-themed work which I both love and hate when I play it myself, because it is comfortable for the hand and very rewarding to listen to, but it is not easy to hold together structurally. This recording has gone a long way towards instructing me in how to do that. Without question, this Fantaisie stands head and shoulders over any other recording of this work I've heard, be it from Rubinstein, Pollini, Arrau, or Katchen, all legendary pianists in their own right.

In all, recommended in the strongest possible terms. Don't think twice.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Moravec does it again. Sept. 14 2003
By blue-59 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It doesn't really seem so long ago that I first heard Ivan Moravec and sat stunned at his superb artistry. But it has been 40 years, and this great master whom I heard play in his early thirties is now 73. And what has he recorded in that span? Three sonatas and five concertos of Mozart, a little Bach and Schumann, six Beethoven sonatas (while other pianists his age are on their second or even third complete cycle), the third and fourth Beethoven concertos, the Ravel Sonatine, some Brahms, some nice Czech music, and a good deal of wonderful Debussy and Chopin. In other words, just a few years' worth of recordings for some of the more famous names on the big labels. However, within his modest output, Ivan Moravec has given some of the greatest performances ever preserved.
So we are thankful whenever this musician-virtuoso records anything, and this latest release is nothing less than magnificent. Is it possible for a performance of the warhorse B-flat minor sonata of Chopin to sound strikingly fresh and new? Apparently so. This introspective reading is one for the ages. Other pianists (Pollini comes to mind) have certainly recorded unsurpassable renditions of this piece, but Moravec's is unique and incomparable. Moravec is capable of pyrotechnics, but they simply have no place here. Even so, each note is beautifully in place and given its full due, as if it were a human soul.
It is interesting to compare this performance of the fourth Ballade with the recording Moravec made back in 1966. The 2002 version seems more leisurely, but in fact has a shorter playing time. The earlier version makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. The new version puts you deep into thought. Apply superlatives to the rest of the disc and you have my review.
This disc is hard to find but certainly available, and at mid-price to boot.
Please, Ivan. The B minor sonata. The late Beethoven. Some more Mozart and Debussy. Anything you want to play.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Recomended to me and now I recommend it to you all !!! June 17 2003
By Lincoln-63542 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I will make it very simple to digest:
Sound Quality, Performance, Selection, Price: 10 out of 10.
I was so impressed with this album that I decided to write about it for you to enjoy it as well. Even the content selection is a piece of art in itself. The production of this compact is very well done. It sets the "magic" that goes from the Sonata in B flat minor to Berceuse, and from Berceuse to the Ballade, the lingering mazurkas, and, finally, the crown of this outstanding production and performance: The Fantasie in F minor.
This album is a piece of art in every way...! It's not only Moravec, who is way up there in inspiration and impecable performance. I'm talking about the team that put these pieces together -like jewels- without overwhelming each other, but supporting each other, articulating a mood that is consistent without falling in monotony. And, yes, it will mesmerize your senses as it did with mine. And yes, it will let you craving for more, and you will do what I did: play it again, and again. If you need to grab a defect on this album, THIS IS IT!
This is the kind of album that will set the mood for intimacy...
Very moving, very touching. Ideal companion to a good wine or a moment of inner expansion.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fabulous Chopin playing Feb. 5 2008
By Richard Steiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Though I have a few reservations, this cd contains some of the finest Chopin playing you'll ever hear. To get the grumbles out of the way first, Moravec has a tendency to get a little too fancy at times, to insert pauses between, and sometimes within, phrases, thus fracturing the line. This shows up in the trio of the funeral march and. most particularly, throughout the Fourth Ballade, a work whcih Moravec worries to death. The main theme, which I believe ought to be played simply, is frequently disrupted by these ungainly pauses. The recent performance by Cedric Tiberghien (Harmonia Mundi), though not nearly as well recorded, is much more to my taste. With that cavil out of the way, we can get on to the rest of this cd, which is fabulous. Moravec interprets the sonata (with first movement repeat, by the way) more lyrically than most, finding much more variety than usual in the first movement. The scherzo too is more enigmatic than barnstorming, and the funeral march less oppressive and more consoling. The Berceuse is, as you would expect, exquisite, and the marzurkas are simply incomparable. No other pianist, in my view, unlocks the secrets of these elusive masterpieces the way Moravec does. A great performance of the Fantasie concludes the disc. The recorded sound is fully equal to the performances. If you love Chopin, you can't afford to miss this cd.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A master giant of the piano! Feb. 14 2008
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ivan Moravec (1930) has literally overpowered the musical world, and has gained with well deserved honours, an enviable status among the most important pianists of the world. Pupil of Benedetti Michelangeli, Moravec has decided to focus around the romantic repertoire with surprising and effective results.

As a matter of fact, he has been able to express an epic lyricism in these works, creating indeed new atmospheres and aristocratic musicality that equals him to legendary figures of the recent past as Samson Francois, for instance.

This album has been gaining through all these years, a peerless notoriety; not only has overcome the test of time, thanks to his sublime pianism. Since the first bar, in every Nocturne, you are immediately conveyed and persuaded he is in another level of interpretation, providing us of new visions around these transcendental pieces of the keyboard's repertoire

Because Moravec has always kept a low profile and the fact of his Czech nationality, most of audiences in the last sixties and early seventies, dazzled by other fashionable- pianists, by then tended to overlook him, but due the technologic miracle, the new generations have realized about his grandness.

He is a master artist of the keyboard.


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