With his two books of Etudes, Frédéric Chopin threw down the gauntlet for all who would come after him. These 24 studies, and the three works published as ‘Nouvelles Etudes’ within the Méthode des Méthodes de Moscheles et Fétis – a publication including studies by Henselt, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Thalberg – probe and refine every aspect of a pianist’s technique, as one might expect from the technical and didactic implications of their title. What distinguishes them, however, from the hundreds of other similar volumes published throughout the 19th century and beyond, is the melodic genius, harmonic novelty and long-range structure that is peculiar to Chopin.
Alessandro Deljavan is a young Italian pianist whose previous recordings for Brilliant Classics include the violin sonatas of Anton Rubinstein (BC94605), played with his regular duet partner Daniela Cammarano. Perhaps more pertinently, Brilliant has also just released his new recording of Chopin’s Waltzes (BC95208). According to Fou T’Song – no mean Chopin pianist himself – Alessandro Deljavan is ‘one of the most interesting pianists I have heard in my life’. Excerpts on YouTube from his success at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition in Fort Worth confirm the truth and promise of Fou T’Song’s acclamation. Deljavan’s approach to the Etudes is not as monuments of pianism but with a charming and sometimes surprising sense of relaxation which takes for granted the kind of formidable technique that they were designed to test. Deljavan is free with the rubato that makes this music breathe: there are many other recordings of the Etudes that set the pages on fire: this one riffles them in the breeze, tapping into the vein of aching nostalgia from which all of Chopin’s music draws. It was first made available as part of the most recent Chopin Edition from Brilliant Classics (BC94660).
Chopin Etudes are the Mount Everest for every concert pianist: the combination of technical difficulties of the highest level and a rich and complex musical content make them even today the biggest challenge a mortal pianist can meet.
Young Italian pianist Alessandro Deljavan presents a strong and highly personal interpretation: deeply poetic and passionate, backed by a superlative technical mastery.
Deljavan is one of the most remarkable pianists of his generation. “His playing is full of intensive power and contagious artistry” (Dmitri Bashkirov), “he is one of the most interesting pianists I’ve heard in my life” (Fou Ts’Ong), “he is one of the most major talents of his age” (John Perry), “Jaw-dropping virtuosity and heart-stopping eloquence” (Dallas Morning News).