Thursday, August 26, 2010

Maria João Pires plays Nocturnes live, July 21 2010 in London

Frédéric Chopin

Nocturnes (selection)

Maria João Pires, piano

Pic Thanks to

July 21, 2010

Royal Albert Hall

London UK

BBC broadcast of Proms 2010: Prom 7

Op. 9, Nos. 1-3

Op. 15, Nos. 1-3

Op. 27, Nos. 1 and 2

Op. 62, Nos. 1 and 2

Op. 71 (Posthumous) Lento con gran espresione

Op.72 No.1.mp3

Op. 37 No.1

I hold this music closest to my heart, having listened to them from birth- in Ivan Moravec's recordings from the 60's. One day I will procure a Chopin recital by him and place it here.

Now Maria João Pires is to me the pianist whose recording of the Nocturnes holds equal stature with Moravec's, while mining such different emotional terrain with them; when I saw she had played the Proms this year I flipped out.

So here is the sound. Sit up straight for this music, listen close. Please

Some of The Telegraph's review:

"... unexpected intimacy accounts for some of the intensity of Maria Joao Pires’s recital of Chopin Nocturnes on Wednesday. But it would have counted for nothing without her special poetry. She’s a tiny, almost bird-like figure, and she seemed even smaller in that huge space, which was packed with more people than I’ve ever seen for a late-night Prom. It must be daunting for a pianist, but Pires seemed perfectly at ease, as if she was playing for a few friends at home.

That gives her performances an air of total sincerity. Usually in Chopin performance you can tell that expressivity is being mingled with sheer sensuous pleasure in playing the piano, and a relish for the delicious sparkly sounds that result. There’s nothing wrong with that – Chopin performance doesn’t have to be purist. But there is something compelling about a pianist who just doesn’t care about those things. Pires wants to get at the poetic heart of the music, and here she did that time after time.

The word Nocturne implies something dreamy and indistinct, but Pires’ performances reminded us that the expressive range of Chopin’s pieces is much bigger than that. There was the total rapt stillness of the early Bb minor Nocturne, uncannily clear, like a moonlit landscape. There was the fascinating uncertainty of the G major Nocturne Op. 15, which she poised so perfectly on the cusp between hesitancy and impetuous ardour. The late Nocturne in E major suddenly becomes stormy at its mid-point, but Pires managed to project this while suggesting it was only a momentary flurry – maybe only a dream – while the night-time stillness was still continuing, somewhere beyond our hearing. That is artistry of a very special order."

And The Guardian:


The evening turned out to be a special one for piano fans. The Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires made a rare appearance with a generous selection of Chopin's nocturnes as the late-night event...

Pires's playing was unostentatious but commanding, controlled yet free-flying in its sensitivity to the fluidity of Chopin's lines, and in its responsiveness to the scope of pieces still sometimes marked down as delicate miniatures."

Play it loud and clear, spread it around.

Thank you so much to for the great live picture of Maria João.