Chopin's Anniversary Year


March 1 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frédéric François Chopin. To celebrate the date, check out the Telarc CD Malcolm Frager Plays Chopin, a mixed program pairing the four-movement Sonata in B minor, Op. 58 with a polonaise, mazurka, contredanse, tarantella and other works, performed by Malcolm Frager.

Born in the Duchy of Warsaw, Poland, Chopin began giving public piano concerts and composing works for solo piano at the age of seven. Over the next thirty-two years of his short life (he died in the fall of 1849), he composed some of the most inventive and emotionally expressive music ever written for the piano. As romantic-laden as some of his works may be, their poetry and nuance has a core truth that reaches deep into the heart.

Nearly a century later, Frager delivered what one critic called "An inspired performance in some of the most realistic piano sound ever brought to discs." The playing is bold, forthright, grand, and filled with immense energy. Frager, who was propelled to fame by an astounding succession of major piano competition prizes that began with Geneva Competition in 1955 and culminated in victories in the Leventritt Competition in New York in 1959 and the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1960, recorded the recital thirteen years before his own premature death at the age of 56. It's a fitting memorial, not only to his artistry, but also to a composer whose music never fails to connect us with our own loves and longings.