This album has had rave reviews, including the Telegraph, who remarked that she finds “a heart-stopping simplicity that is just as difficult as keyboard heroics”.
Awarded Gramophone ‘Choice’ in August, they had this to say: “her performances blaze and challenge with a potent and highly individual sense of drama.
For Fialkowska, Chopin can take on something of the dark-hued austerity of late Liszt and when you hear her unleash such a formidable tempest of sound in the presto storms of the Second Ballade, you seem to see Delacroix’s pained and tortured portrait of the composer. Her F minor Fantaisie is of a grandeur rarely met with on disc, her Second Scherzo, broadly paced, of a quasi-symphonic breath and weight…All this is a striking advance on earlier recordings, with their more conventional notion of interpretation, and to crown it all Fialkowska has been superbly recorded.”
BBC Music Magazine themselves could not have been more complimentary. “This is a rich and illuminating find. From the outset you sense Janina Fialkowska’s innate, developmental grasp of drama – of the connection between phrases and their dynamic character. Then there’s the sheer life in her playing, reflected in the perfectly nourished and shrewdly apportioned sound, unmarred by any hint of coarseness or ill-defined tone. Without exaggeration she reveals the deep humanity of Chopin’s counterpoint, in which every strand plays an expressive role. She has a grasp of polyphony (never more evident than in the bewitching E-flat Nocturne). True to Chopin’s spirit, the playing is everywhere informed by a classical sense of proportion. Yet her pacing and exceptional grasp of musical narrative is a masterclass in the art of pianistic rhetoric.
Above all, her rhythm is continuously supple at every level, from note-to-note inflection to the binding together of whole phrases. In all best senses, Fialkowska is a big pianist. In contrast to accounts of Chopin’s own playing (but like his idol Bach), she communicates an abiding and exhilarating physicality. The F major Ballade and F minor Fantasy are by turns exciting, poignant, volcanic, driven and exhausting – this is tragic art on a Shakespearean level. Like her mentor Arthur Rubinstein, she presents a profoundly rounded portrait of Chopin, illuminating both his innate virility as a composer, and his transcendent grace.”
We could go on, as this disc received countless such reviews. But now Janina Fialkowska needs your vote! To win the category, she must receive the most votes…