Gorgeous Chopin - with a twist

Daniil Trifonov approaches Chopin with beautiful tone, nuanced phrasing, and a rare sense of the composer’s ineffable magic.

Composer: Chopin
Repertoire: Piano Concerto No.1; Barcarolle; Impromptus Nos 1 & 2; Tarantella
Artists: Daniil Trifonov (pf), Polish Chamber PO/Wojciech Rajski
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: DUX0832

The Music: A gorgeous selection of Chopin, with a twist: the Piano Concerto No.1 is presented in a new arrangement by the conductor Wojciech Rajski, with the soloist accompanied by just a small string orchestra. The fillers are solos in which Daniil Trifonov has ample chance to display his skills as a pianistic poet.

The Performance: Since recording this CD last December soon after he was a prizewinner in the Chopin Competition, Trifonov, 20, has scooped top prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Moscow. He’s a classy player – though he sometimes betrays his youth with an awkward gear change or issues around tempi (such as moving into the final flights of fantasy in the
 F sharp major Impromptu). He never lets fast passages descend into note spinning, but shapes everything melodically; he could nevertheless show more of the young Chopin’s playfulness in the Concerto, which becomes a highly romantic reverie. The string orchestra arrangement is refreshing and the playing persuasive.

The Verdict: Trifonov is a pianist to watch – and we’ll be hearing a lot more of him soon, thanks to his Tchaikovsky prize...

Want More? If you like your Chopin concertos as romantic as Trifonov’s, or even more so, try Krystian Zimerman’s recording with his Polish Festival Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon 459 6842).