Chopin is alive and well when played like this by Bruce Xiaoyu Liu ,winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition.
A concert live from Warsaw for Chopin’s 212th birthday and dedicated to victims of the war in Ukraine.
A sense of style from another age as he allowed the music to stream from his crystalline fingers with the charm and ease of a De Pachmann but the intelligence and scholarship of a Pollini.
He managed to stay on the high wire as he completely seduced us from the first notes of the impressionistic nocturne in C sharp minor leading into the charm and the delicious jeux perle of the early Rondo op 5.
A majestically whispered B flat minor Sonata so intelligently repeating only from the doppio movimento despite modern scholarly reports.
A scintillating scherzo and deeply felt Funeral March disappearing in a gust of wind where Chopin’s genial invention was quite enough from this young star without any additions from lesser mortals.
Two Ballades n 2 and 3 that like Zimerman before him were reborn in his beautifully supple hands.
To watch his hands mould the notes was in itself an experience of beauty as he shaped the sounds with such artistry.
Three eccossaises were played with the same infectious rhythmic verve of a young Magaloff (who was one of the very few that would include them in his programmes together with the rondos).He plunged into their rustic simplicity with all the vitality of these Scottish cameos.
Dedicating the little waltz in A minor to all the children suffering in conflict as he said it was the first piece by Chopin that he had played at the age of ten.The simplicity and flexibility of a bel canto singer just summed up the supreme artistry of this young artist.
He and Alexandre Kantarow are two that I would travel a long way to hear as they give hope for a future world where love and beauty without conflict is our aspired Eutopia.
Gilels used to compare live performance to recorded as fresh food or tinned but the streaming from Fryderyk Concert Hall Warsaw last night or the Philharmonie de Paris last winter transcended that .Such was the magic of these two young artists that they could bewitch and seduce even long distance via the superb streaming that has come of age during the pandemic.
How could I forget the magic of the Andante spianato or the scintillating grandeur and subtle virtuosity of the Polonaise where there was no doubt of the meaning of ‘grande’ with a work that Chopin himself would have conquered the noble salons with on his arrival in Paris.
I had never forgotten the very first time I heard this work and how I was bewitched as a child by a recording of Valentin Giorgiou’s playing of Chopin.
It was Alexander Brailowsky though that I first heard in a live performance followed shortly after by Jan Smeterlin.But the performance of this young artist today relived this golden memory that has haunted me since my childhood.
Bruce (Xiaoyu) Liu Recital of the Chopin Competition winner On 1 March, on Fryderyk Chopin’s 212th birthday at 7:00 p.m. CET in the National Philharmonic Concert is dedicated to victims of the war in Ukraine. Programme: Fryderyk Chopin: Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1 Rondo à la Mazur in F major, Op. 5 Ballade in F major, Op. 38 Ballade in A flat major, Op. 47 Sonata in B flat minor, Op. 35 Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante in E flat major, Op. 22