Olejniczak brings out Chopin's beautiful melancholy

Pianist Janusz Olejniczak's unflashy recording of 10 of Chopin's piano works highlight the Polish composer's darker side

Composer:  Chopin
Repertoire: Polonaises, Mazurkas and Nocturnes
Artists: Janusz Olejniczak (piano)
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: NIFC NIFC CD 011

To mark the 200th birthday celebrations of Poland’s music icon, Warsaw’s Fryderyk Chopin Institute is recording the complete works of Chopin on period pianos allowing us to hear the music exactly as the composer himself would have heard it. With their very different timbre to modern instruments, Pleyel and Erard were Chopin’s two preferred piano makers. This volume has 10 works played on an 1849 Erard and one (the popular ‘Military’ Polonaise) on an 1848 Pleyel. Olejniczak’s performances, beautifully recorded, are unflashy, conscientious and a shade pedantic but emphasise the brooding melancholy that lies under the surface of so much of Chopin’s music.