New Classical Tracks: The allure and the thrill of Chopin

by Julie Amacher, Minnesota Public Radio
July 22, 2008

The young Argentine musician Ingrid Fliter is one of the brightest rising stars in the piano world. The composer she's most identified with is Chopin, and his music is the focus of her latest disc.

St. Paul, Minn. — In January 2006, Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter won a prestigious competition, without even realizing she was an applicant.

The judges for the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival review a candidate's work for an extended period of time without his or her knowledge. And two years ago, Fliter was named the fifth Gilmore Artist. The award carries a $300,000 stipend in support of the artist's career.

"With a world of pianists to choose from," Gilmore Director Daniel Gustin said, "we spent over two years listening to many greatly talented artists. But in the end we were unanimously swept away by Ingrid Fliter's astonishing pianistic prowess and her overall musicianship."

For her part, Ingrid Fliter has just released a new solo recording featuring works by Chopin, a composer she believes she was born to play.

"It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that if it had not been for Chopin's music, I wouldn't have been born," she explained. "My mother noticed my father for the first time while he was playing some Chopin waltzes during a party!"

Fliter highlights several of Chopin's waltzes on her first EMI recording. Chopin's "Minute" Waltz sparkles at high speed under Fliter's fingertips.

Chopin was exceptional at composing light music with substance. The Grande Valse Brillante in E flat, Op. 18, was the first of only eight waltzes that the composer allowed to be published. This waltz illuminates seven different ideas, with each one piquing our interest.

Ingrid Fliter gently bounces over the keys, ensuring this delightful waltz is loads of fun.

Chopin composed 51 of the lively Polish dances known as mazurkas. The Op. 59 Mazurkas on this recording are a trio of contrasts and colors.

These little dances are deceptive. They sound simple, yet the rich harmonies, sophisticated counterpoint, and the repeated figures give these little works musical depth. Ingrid Fliter's subtle use of dynamics and gentle phrasing makes these mazurkas that much more alluring.

The great Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor consumes 30 minutes of this new release. It was written in 1844, a time when Chopin's reverence for J.S. Bach was at its peak.

The sonata is scattered with polyphonic elements, where two or more separate parts are harmonizing with one another.

Ingrid Fliter's dramatic dynamics in the Largo embellish the emotional impact of this piece. The finale of the sonata is intended to be big and powerful. Ingrid Fliter plays this movement to thrilling effect.

Skill and elegance mark the style of the young Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter. No wonder she swept away the judges of the Gilmore Prize two years ago. With her new recording of works by Chopin, you'll be swept away as well.

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