Magyar Narancs: Chopin: Ballades & Impromptus
The Polish romantic composer spent the majority of his life far from his homeland. That is partly what made his music so incomparably nostalgic, and painful. His art represents the unity of creation and performance. Listening to his music his contemporaries experienced a mutually inspiring role of these two. Chopin was the salons’ idolized virtuoso, and at the same time a renewer of piano composition technique who managed to create original art in an era dominated by Liszt.
Two markedly different genres meet on this disc: the composer’s own ‘invention’, the piano ballad whose romantic story-telling tone was partly inspired by Mickiewicz’ poems, and the impromptu owing its musical fame to Schubert, and whose behavioural essence consists in improvisation-type musical expression as suggested by the Latin phrase in promptu (‘on the alert’). The four ballads and the four impromptus together constitute a fertile editorial idea that enables the performer to sketch Chopin’s two different profiles by means of powerful contrasts: the epic-dramatic and the capriciously lyrical tonality characterized by elegant improvisation.
Gábor Farkas, who lives and teaches in Tokyo applies superior creativity in exploiting the potential offered by the program. He controls the instrument with impressive virtuosity, his fingers produce tones symphonic, or reminiscent of filigree lace, whichever is more appropriate. His timbre is sometimes grandiose, sometimes dreamily soft, his rich harmonies are brazen, and the ornaments pearly. Most important of all, though, is perhaps his artistic sovereignty: music in his interpretation lives and breathes through genuine emphases, and meaningful segmentation.
Source: Magyar Narancs