Espressione … From Bolzano to San Marino
This release, entitled ‘Espressione … From Bolzano to San Marino’, constitutes a travelogue, or perhaps a ‘competition diary’. In August of 2016, Łukasz Krupiński qualified for this month’s Busoni Competition in Bolzano with the Chopin Polonaise-fantaisie on his programme. Then, following a junket to Leipzig, he arrived at the International Competition in San Marino, where he opened his programme with the Scriabin Sonata Fantasy and, at a later stage, played the Haydn sonata and Chopin Barcarolle, eventually winning first prize.
It’s almost impossible not to feel something akin to sympathy for Polish pianists, who are invariably typecast as Chopin specialists, regardless of temperamental aptitude. A 25-year-old Warsaw native, Krupiński seems to fulfil the role naturally. The desire for originality, rather than the physical dictates of dancing, seems to motivate some of the agogic choices in the E flat Waltz. On the other hand, a beautifully settled and thoughtful interpretation of the Polonaise-fantaisie is a highlight of the disc. The C sharp minor Nocturne is languidly poetic throughout, though the choice not to make more of the brief contrasting middle section seems a missed opportunity for contrast.
Krupiński fully inhabits the Sonata Fantasy in a passionate reading that gives Scriabin’s interesting voice-leading its full due. The Haydn sonata is vividly characterised, though the rubato, both in the first movement’s development and the Adagio, press the stylistic envelope. These quibbles aside, Krupiński’s gifts are undeniable and I will watch their full flowering with interest.