Ingrid Fliter is coming to perform in Colorado on September 11th and 12th - and is releasing a new CD of Chopin Waltzes in November. In preparation for this, I took a a chance to listen to a previous recording - Chopin and am delighted in how wonderfully lyrical she plays the music.
Solo piano music is very intimate and yet can also be intimidating, particularly for the performer when confronted with attempting to put all those notes onto one little CD. Frédéric Chopin was a brilliant performer with some of the most endearing yet challenging music ever written for the piano. Listening to Ingrid Fliter I got the impression she either studied with Chopin (not likely, he died 160 years ago) or has at least had intimate conversations with him regarding his music. Her intuitive touch on Chopin’s solo works feel as organic to her hands as his music is to the piano.
Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 3 is filled with lots of rubato elements, hovering at the top of the keyboard and then rushing down, with bold, rich chords to light melodic lines wafting through the air. Ingrid performs each of these with a delightful touch. There is a sense of her classical style, reminiscent of a time when romantic music was played with the lush, florid manner as the composers themselves might have played it. The Scherzo is an exercise in sheer technical ability with an opening of rapid fire notes, flying across the keyboard. Shifting to a lovely, yet gloomy passage, the music allows Ingrid a chance to display as keen sense of the darker elements of Chopin’s music. The Largo demonstrates Ingrid’s ability to construct some of the softest, most subtle, emotional moments in the music. Then, the Finale closes off the opening piece, combining the previous elements into one elaborate finish.
The Mazurka’s drift along beautifully. At the end of the first, Ingrid delights in allowing the piece to lightly fade away – the end mysteriously drifting into the next piece. Ingrid speaks in the liner notes about the Mazurka’s being intimidating, yet seductive. Well, her performance is certainly seductive - so entrancing for the listener it’s hard to imagine any struggle with the music whatsoever.
The Barcarolle in F sharp is atmospheric music. Although Chopin was opposed to program music, there are definitely the influences of Venetian Gondola tunes. Ingrid drifts the canals bringing to light numerous colors and textures, all amusingly concealed in the music. Chopin’s Op. 18, grand valse brilliante is perhaps Chopin’s most famous waltz, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it played more impeccably in line with the style of the music. There was no touch of schmaltz, even though pieces like this tend to get performed that way, tongue in cheek. Gliding across the keys, Ingrid had to be dancing to the music internally. I imagine she was probably grinning from ear to ear as she performed it – the pleasure of playing is evident with every note.
The CD continues with Waltzes Op. 64 and Ballade No. 4, equally as well performed and charmingly brought to life. These pieces were recorded in 2007, so she’s had a couple of years now to grow and mature as a pianist. I can’t wait to hear what she does with Schumann Piano Concerto in Denver or what her next Chopin CD is like.