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Chopin Etudes: Joyce Hatto redux

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Tom Deacon

Jun 27, 2005, 5:49:01 PM6/27/05
Joyce Hatto would seem to have recorded the Chopin Etudes twice. Once for
her Chopin series, and now just again in conjunction with her
Chopin-Godowsky set - which is still not here, dammit!

The latest - in celebration of her 75th anniversary - comes replete with
three pages of reminiscences from the pianist about these pieces. Only three
pianists were probably fabulous (my words, not hers): Liszt (well, Chopin
said he could have killed to play them like Liszt), Koszalski, and Cortot. I
must get out the Koszalski set and listen to it again. The Cortot we have
all known and loved and hated for decades.

But what of Ms. Hatto?

My oh my, this is a beautiful recording of Chopin's music. The pieces flow
so naturally and so completely without precious effects that you might, for
a moment, think that there are no other ways of reading the music. Her
double notes are extraordinary. And yes, I know Lhevinne. But in the Octave
Etude she goes Lhevinne one better by playing the octaves so incredibly
smoothly that they seem to flow from her fingers. How on earth does she
manage that, I wonder? In Op. 10 No. 1 the right hand is fluent, flawless,
clear as a bell, but the real story is the LH, which carries the interest of
the piece anyway. The central episode in No. 3 is dramatic, but the drama
doesn't overwhelm the A section, either the first or second time round. The
C# minor, a knucklebuster if ever there was one, is played as a true Presto,
but punctuated with all kinds of wondrous LH details. The first black key
etude has fluttering RH detail, but again, it is the LH which is truly
eloquent. OK, the C major is not up to Friedman's inhuman tempo, but it is
still beautiful, and again with lovely LH melodic figures. The A flat major,
Op. 10 No. 10, restores all of Chopin's carefully notated differenciation
between one section and another, a veritable study in the ability to vary
detached sounds. And again, the LH carries the day.

And so it goes all the way through. There are simply no weak performances on
this CD - CACD - 9243-2.

The best ever?

Don't be stupid. There is no such thing, just different ways of tackling
these great pieces.

But I agree completely with Alan, who said something similar recently, one
could be perfectly content if one didn't own any other recordings of this

I wonder if there is any higher compliment one can pay a musician.

I even ask myself the question: Do I REALLY need to get out those Koszalski


Message has been deleted

Jun 28, 2005, 12:45:19 AM6/28/05

Joe Non Tatum wrote:

> While I'm breaking open the piggy bank to help feed the families of the
> good people at Crotchet, does anyone have any other recommendations
> regarding the vast Joyce Hatto offerings there? (more than 60
> titles!!!)

While I love all 13 CDs that I have (so far), for a Hatto "newbie", I
could recommend:

Chopin: The Piano Sonatas - CACD-9043-2
Liszt: Transcendental Etudes - CACD-9084-2
Liszt: "Recital" - (including the Sonata/b & tremendous Mephisto
Waltz) - CACD-9067-2
Prokofiev: The Piano Sonatas - CACD-9121-2 - 9122-2
Rachmaninoff: Transcriptions - misc., plus Etudes Tableaux, Op. 33
Encore! An anthology of Recital Encores - CACD-9168-2

Absolutely amazing performances, all.

Gerrie C

Jun 28, 2005, 3:55:42 AM6/28/05

I did say I thought she was special.....

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins

Jun 28, 2005, 5:01:30 AM6/28/05

> Well, you've succeeded in breaking my resolve not to add yet another
> set of Chopin Etudes to my collection. For what it's worth, I'm fond of
> the Ashkenazy complete sets (London more so than Melodiya), as well as
> Sokolov's Op. 25 and Freire's recently-released Op. 10. I'd be ashamed
> to reveal the number of frogs I've kissed to find these princes of the
> Etudes.

> While I'm breaking open the piggy bank to help feed the families of the
> good people at Crotchet, does anyone have any other recommendations
> regarding the vast Joyce Hatto offerings there? (more than 60
> titles!!!)
> I plead complete ignorance of Koszalski. Could you share more about
> this pianist? Are his recordings available? Thanks in advance.

Some of the Koszalski Nocturnes appear on a Chopin set, according to
Amazon. His recordings were said to be uneven, some brilliant, some
not very good. Better live than on record, possibly.

Of the JH recordings I think you can start wherever you like: perhaps
The Mazurkas (CACD 9116-2, 9117-2), the 24 preludes of Debussy CACD
9130-2, the Rachmaninov Transcriptions and Prokofiev Sonatas and the
Encore disc already mentioned by Gerrie, Rachmaninov Sonata 1 with a
wonderful Pictures at an Exhibition (I think TD will be taken by the
left hand in the latter, unless I am much mistaken)

If TD is left wondering about how JH manages some of the Etudes,
goodness knows what he will think of Feux d'artifice (and, no, I don't
know how she does it, either). But, several times, I have mentioned
that left hand and I think that may be the difference. Ambidextrous
piano playing is fairly rare, in my experience. Of the Debussy
Preludes recording, Old Chap wouldn't know where to begin except to say
that it seems to me to be a study in "touch" and then there's that left
hand again...........astonishing but very musical virtuosity is about
the best I can manage I think (Listen to Le vent dans la plaine). Mr
Debussy just tears you apart, courtesy of his interpreter.

Start, if you wish, with any of your "favourites" and perhaps take it
from there?
But please don't leave out the Debussy....this is music that might have
been written for this pianist and sounds as if it was.

Tom Deacon

Jun 28, 2005, 6:28:31 AM6/28/05

On 6/27/05 9:25 PM, in article, "Joe Non Tatum"
<> wrote:

> I plead complete ignorance of Koszalski. Could you share more about
> this pianist? Are his recordings available? Thanks in advance.

Raoul Koszalski. Polish pianist. Studied with Milkuli. You can Google for
more info.

The recordings were most recently reissued on a label called SELENE, out of
Poland. There are many CDs, at least seven, but only two which include the
Etudes: 9802-38 amd 9804-40. I am unsure about their current availability.



Joe Non Tatum

Jun 28, 2005, 12:30:59 PM6/28/05
Thanks to each of you (Tom Deacon, Alan Watkins, Gerrie Collins) for
taking the time to share your thoughtful recommendations. I've decided
to take one recommendation from each of you to compile my first
sampling of Joyce Hatto's art:

Chopin Etudes (CACD92432)
Debussy Preludes (CACD91302)
Liszt Transcendental Etudes (CACD90842)

I'll report back after my order arrives. Thanks again.

Len of MusicWeb

Jun 28, 2005, 3:47:43 PM6/28/05
There is a profile and many reviews of Joyce Hatto recordings on MusicWeb
and of course we sell the discs.

Len Mullenger
Founder: MusicWeb-International
The Internet CD review site
mobile: 07913 999009
CELEBRATING 14,000 Classical CD reviews on-line; 9,000 visitors each day


Jun 28, 2005, 4:37:44 PM6/28/05
"I plead complete ignorance of Koszalski. Could you share more about
this pianist? Are his recordings available? Thanks in advance."

In the past not a lot of his recordings were available - two CDs among
which one good Pearl compilation. Now there are a lot more, what with
the extensive Polish edition dedicated to him and all.

Judging by the fact that you like Sokolov's and Ashkenazy's complete
sets I have a feeling that you should be disappointed by Koszalski's.
The Etudes are not his best recording and, while they exhibit some
delicate and subtle musicianship and are reasonably accurate, they are
not massive, monumental nor, virtuosity-wise, earth-shattering.

If you like a variety of historical recordings to begin with, I
wouldn't think exploring at least bits and pieces of Koszalski's legacy
would be beneath interest. If anything, Koszalski was a remarkable
miniaturist, hence his [Chopin] preludes and nocturnes will be of more
interest than, say, his Fourth Ballade. Both Rubinstein and Arrau
despised this, at the time, "Mr. Chopin", intensely. (The obvious
exception to hte miniature rule: Koszalski recorded not long before his
death Chopin's F Minor Concerto, with a young Celibidache conducting
BPO right after the war, no less, and I actually like that recording,
particularly the exquisite slow movement.) Beautiful, controlled
sonorities (on the "small" side, though), delicacy of phrasing,
unobtrusive (for the standards of the times) rubato.

Of particular interest to the historian is Koszalski's recording of the
early E Flat Major nocturne, in which you can hear an alternate
minicadenza with falling chromatic thirds, apparently and arguably
coming from Chopin himself. Again, not something to change your view of
Chopin, but nevertheless interesing and pleasing to listen to, in the
way Koszalski plays it. Among the etudes, if you insist in listening to
them, I think some of the "soft'n'subtle" ones - opus 25 no. 1 and 6,
for example - are much more satisfactory than the big thundering ones.
While I imagine Chopin might have exhibited more passion in his own
playing, in Koszalski's playing there may be a quality Koszalski's
sharing with de Pachmann, in evoking rather convincingly the
descriptions we have of Chopin's own playing. Only that de Pachmann is
more "genial" (whimsical to some), while Koszalski is showing more
restraint, even some quality of understated, "modest" modernity in his


Dan Koren

Jun 28, 2005, 9:56:56 PM6/28/05
"SG" <> wrote in message

Or, to make a long story short:

The best pianists are six feet under
(according to Monseigneur de Gaullesco).


Tom Deacon

Jun 29, 2005, 7:43:26 AM6/29/05

On 6/28/05 9:56 PM, in article, "Dan Koren"

<> wrote:

> Or, to make a long story short:
> The best pianists are six feet under
> (according to Monseigneur de Gaullesco).

This is not surprising. Golescu is a charter member of the Dead Pianist's

They meet, somewhat irregularly it has to be admitted, in the ruins of the
old Baldwin factory. Perfect symmetry, as one can imagine. Seemingly
forgotten, of course, is the fact that most of their heroes never touched
that instrument. Go figure!

Manildi plays the Marche funebre on a dumb keyboard left by the bankruptcy
courts, Benko reads from the Hofmann letters, and Malik spouts the complete
discography of any pianist mentioned during the rites. As for Golescu, he
holds the trains of the assembled high priests. I do think, however, that on
this basis alone you cannot, Koren, continue to use the term Monseigneur.
That is reserved for the high priests, not for the mere attendants.



Jun 29, 2005, 11:05:17 AM6/29/05
Just a minor detail (Margaret isn't here, evidently): the name is
spelled Koczalski. By the way, Rubinstein greatly admired this pianist.
I have heard some of his stuff here and there --I don't have the Polish
edition. My impression, on limited evidence, is that he was a very
elegant pianist. Can one actually buy the Polish edition? They should
offer this rare stuff for download.




Jun 29, 2005, 12:16:03 PM6/29/05

"The best pianists are six feet under
(according to Monseigneur de Gaullesco). dk"

Actually there would be more truth to the idea that Monsieur Koren is
open-minded to any composer's music, as long as they didn't use chords
more complicated than the dominant seventh.

On the other hand, your crack made happy an audience of 1/2 person on
its way out, so you can label it under "charity".


Lenya Ryzhik

Jun 29, 2005, 12:22:47 PM6/29/05

Chicago Towers are full of Selena disks in the cut-out bins. IIRC some
Koczalski is there. Must be a nationwide phenomenon.


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