Janina Fialkowska - Chopin Recital 3
While the works chosen for this Chopin recital are programmed to ensure maximum contrast of mood and emotion, a unified trajectory nevertheless makes itself felt, possibly through subtle key relationships from one selection to the next. Perhaps this was intentional on Janina Fialkowska’s part, since her seasoned musicianship and thoughtful virtuosity thoroughly inhabit this music. The Polonaise-fantaisie’s climaxes convey headlong momentum yet with palpable tension and release in regard to the timings of the sweeping scales and big chordal build-ups. In the B major Nocturne, Op 9 No 3, Fialkowska effects a startling yet inevitable change of colour at the minor-key episode, while her well-controlled right-hand cantilenas are anchored by buoyant, shapely bass lines throughout.
Although she rightly resists gilding the decorative lilies, so to speak, in the F sharp major Nocturne, Op 15 No 2, she habitually lingers on the main theme’s first-note up‑beat to the point of predictability, yet such ‘stretching out’ reveals a rare wistful (even tragic) side to the B minor Waltz. By contrast, she astutely underlines the G flat Impromptu’s polyphonic interplay, while casting a playful light and more than a few skittish accents upon the A flat Waltz, Op 42; indeed, Fialkowska truly makes the latter her own.
Fialkowska unleashes the E major Scherzo’s vivacious outer sections with impressive suppleness and architectonic determination, akin to the young Ashkenazy’s reference recording, but with just a soupçon of rubato. A grim, driving E flat minor Prelude leads into a D flat major ‘Raindrop’ Prelude that’s less about the persistent repeated-note pulse than its long melodic arcs. The F minor Ballade receives a direct yet flexible reading, where Fialkowska makes expressive points by proportioning her dynamics with care and articulating the thickest textures with the utmost clarity. In the coda, for example, her multi-level contouring of the contrapuntal lines and intelligently meted-out crescendos conclude this highly recommended recital on a shattering note. J