Chopin Let Down by Compatriots

The Warsaw Philharmonic makes a strong case that Chopin died in Poland and not France.

Composer: Chopin
Repertoire: Piano Concerto No.1
Artists: Olga Kern, Warsaw Philharmonic/Anton Wit
Rating: 2/5

Genre: Instrumental

Label: Harmonia Mundi HMU 907402

Chopin’s music hasn’t worked its magic on the composer’s national orchestra, in this live recording of his breakthrough concerto. The orchestral playing is tentative when you want it to be richly lyrical and lacks cohesion in the long opening movement of the First Piano Concerto. Soloist Olga Kern’s youthful playing dances to Chopin’s waltz-like phrases and pounds along at a march pace, but she lacks the confidence to follow the composer’s adventurous twists and turns. It’s not until the final Polonaise that her attack and vigour is maintained throughout the movement, declaring finally the kind of passion that Chopin’s music demands.