“Hats off, gentlemen; a genius.” Composer Robert Schumann on Frederic Chopin
March 1 2010 marks the 200th birthday (*disputed) of Frederic Chopin, the greatest piano composer the world has ever known. Celebrations kicked off with a marathon 171-hour concert of Chopin’s music in his native Poland on February 23. The featured video (above) is from that marathon… Polish pianist Marek Drewnowski plays Grande Valse Brillante op. 34 No. 2 at the Palace of Łancut, Poland.
The G Minor Ballade was reportedly Chopin’s personal favorite.
Here are mine: Berceuse Op. 57, Waltz in C-sharp Op. 64 no. 2, Grand Valse Brillante,, Prelude No. 15 “Raindrop”, Op.64 no.1 Minute Waltz, Op.10 no. 3 Tristesse, Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4, Ballade No. 4, Nocturne op. 15 no.3 in G minor, Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66, and his pop masterpiece Polonaise As-Dur Op 53 “Heroique.”
The best Chopin interpreter is unclear. However, most mention Arthur Rubenstein first and then in no particular order: Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Horowitz, Ivan Moravec, Krystan Zimerman, Alfred Cortot, Maurizio Pollini, and Guiomar Novaes.
And then there was Art Tatum. Horowitz once said that if Tatum ever seriously took up classical piano, he’d quit the next day.