When Wolfram Schmitt‐Leonardy’s recording of the Preludes was first released in 2011, critics reached for the superlatives:
‘In his recording of Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy achieves a fusion of impassioned ardor and classical textual rigor… the best of Schmitt-Leonardy’s Chopin
adds up to a stimulating and compelling listening journey well worth traveling, even if you’ve heard these works hundreds of times.’(Jed Distler, Classics Today). Now the Preludes have been recoupled with new recordings of the Ballades and
Impromptus, made in January 2015 and also made available within the latest version of Brilliant Classics’ Chopin Edition (94660). With their more intricate structures and longer-form narratives, these works also respond to the sureness of touch and steady pulse that make Schmitt‐Leonardy particularly acclaimed for his Brahms. Hebuilds the Ballades patiently and with awareness of the extrovert spirit identified by one of Chopin’s contemporaries as ‘animated by the strangeness of the Romantic world, sung in a melancholy tone, in a serious style, simple and natural in its expressions.’
This latest release from one of the finest German pianists of his generation is sure to receive wide critical attention, not only in
his home country but internationally. Schmitt-Leonardy (b.1967) can boast among his teachers and mentors such luminaries of
the piano world as Ciccolini, Ponti and Weissenberg. Critics such as Peter Cossé, Ingo Harden, Knut Franke, Jeremy
Siepmann, Gregor Willmes, Ates Orga and others have praised his interpretations as ‘astonishing, exquisite, electrifying, dazzling brilliant, as well as grippingly independent’.
He is ‘a virtuoso to the Russian manner born, but with a Classicist’s sense of proportion, a multi‐hued tonal palette which abjures only the ugly, and a propulsive rhythmic
vocabulary which keeps you listening every note of the way.’
This 2CD set contains the complete 4 Ballades, Impromptus and the Preludes Op. 28.
The names of these genres were not invented by Chopin, but he gave them a wholly new, original and personal meaning and content. The Ballades are full bodied works in a free narrative form, building up the tension and drama from the contemplative lyrical beginnings to the highly passionate conclusions. The Impromptus are in free A‐B‐A form, and are a fusion of
the Nocturne and Ballade style. The Preludes Op. 28 are the romantic answer to Bach’s Preludes, each short piece a gem of refined and distilled emotions.
Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy is one of the finest German pianists of his generation. The recording of the Preludes received a 9/9 on Classicstoday, Jed Distler wrote: “he achieves a fusion of impassioned ardor and classical textual rigor… the best of Schmitt-Leonardy’s Chopin adds up to a stimulating and compelling listening journey well worth traveling, even if
you’ve heard these works hundreds of times”. “astonishing, exquisite, electrifying, dazzling brilliant, as well as grippingly independent“ (Ates Orga).