Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11
1. I. Allegro maestoso
2. II. Romance. Larghetto
3. III. Rhondo. Vivace
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
1. I. Maestoso
2. II. Larghetto
3. III. Allegro vivace
Recording of the Month
- Gramophone Magazine, March 2020
- Diapason, March 2020
Album of the Day "Le disque du jour”
- France Musique, March 2020
Album of the Week
- RTE Lyric FM
Chopin Concerto No. 2 in F Minor Op. 21 - III. Allegro vivace, Decca Music Group, 2020
Chopin Piano Concertos
Benjamin Grosvenor joins forces with Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for his fifth album on the Decca Classics label.
The recording features Chopin's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, and marks Benjamin's first orchestral album since his 2012 release Rhapsody in Blue.
In The Press
“When Benjamin Grosvenor finally makes his entrance, it proves well worth the wait, and his playing beguiles from the off; as the dynamics sink, his lines are full of poetry but they unfold with utter naturalness. Chan follows his every gesture unerringly — there’s no doubting the musical chemistry at play here. And that brings me to another point: Grosvenor has always balanced his solo career with chamber music-making and it really shows … But he’s not afraid to command the stage either.
… Grosvenor is master of the sung line, and the way he deals with Chopin’s phantasmagoric ornamentation has a rare inevitability about it … The F minor Second Concerto is every bit as outstanding, with Grosvenor and Chan bringing out not only the work’s songfulness but also making us aware of the inner lines and Chopin’s contrapuntal thinking … [The opening] movement as a whole has many moments of sheerly luminous playing, its innate wistfulness beautifully brought out.
The finale comes as a delicious balance of extroversion with playfulness Grosvenor’s virtuosity always at the service of the music … It’s the kind of disc that makes you rethink these works and appreciate them all over again. And lets hope that this is the start of a wonderful recording partnership with Elim Chan.”
- Gramophone Magazine, Recording of the Month
"With an extravagant vitality, the young English musician delivers an interpretation which upsets the plethoric discography … The pianist seems to reinvent the score at every moment, not hesitating to shake up the tempos, playing with unreal precision and lightness. A disarming simplicity - and all the more moving - is expressed in all the singing passages … So much ease, so much nobility impresses us and reminds us of Byron Janis, in his princely, unpredictable and airy gait. The delicacies of the slow movements have an incredible charm, and the finales, more lively than ever, display an insane, madly winged verve. A version to rank among the best, and confirmation of an extraordinary artist."
- Diapason, Diapason D’Or
“Surely the most successful British pianist of his generation, and uncommonly introspective too … he has already lived with these works for long enough to strike a balance between thoughtfulness and youthful spontaneity … Grosvenor is most successful of all in the second and third movements of the E minor Concerto, where he captures the music’s dreamy introspection and brilliant lightness.”
- BBC Music Magazine
“Benjamin Grosvenor is the real deal … emotional volatility is so characteristic of Chopin, and Grosvenor always keeps it in mind. That, plus the warm and vivid recorded sound (and Elim Chan’s sympathetic conducting of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) make this recording the one to go for."
- The Telegraph
"Chopin. No classical pianist with a recording contract can ignore him for long. Benjamin Grosvenor — young, British, very gifted — recorded some pieces in 2011 when a student, but it has taken time for a whole album of the Romantic composer. His repertoire is the two concertos, exactly that being promoted by the pianist now known as Yundi — not quite so young, Chinese, gifted — who made his reputation with Chopin 20 years ago.
Grosvenor’s playing is thoughtful and fresh, with flecks of rubato, quizzical pauses and tumbling, fast-fingered runs. They help to bring spontaneity to concertos that, despite their beauties, need assistance to fully come alive. He is especially winning in spinning the lightly melancholic reverie of the first concerto’s larghetto.”
- The Times
“In this new album, the young virtuoso brings shimmering playing and a touch of wizardry … He has cited magicians of the keyboard like Vladimir Horowitz, Alfred Cortot and Shura Cherkassky as pianists that he likes to listen to, and he dispenses a touch of their wizardry himself. Each of those titans brought particular spontaneity to the music of Chopin, and Grosvenor follows in their footsteps. These recordings of the two piano concertos, made in Glasgow with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under conductor Elim Chan, are lit up by the flashes of enchantment that we have come to expect from him. The outline of the performances is firm, purposeful, quite swift. Within this, though, Grosvenor creates space for the kind of shimmering, pearly playing at which he excels, opening a window each time on Chopin’s poetry. The slow movements are especially fine. From the glinting chords that drop like ice crystals near the end of the First Concerto’s Romance, the movement closes in a wonderfully rapt and concentrated atmosphere. The Second Concerto’s Larghetto feels no less elevated in its closing pages. Recordings of the Chopin concertos are a crowded field, even among pianists of Benjamin’s generation, but he has staked out his claim with a pair of performances true to his own brand of artistry.”
- The Financial Times
"Grosvenor’s instinct for the pacing and phrasing of Chopin’s melodic lines, and his way with the decorations and tempo fluctuations is impressive in its naturalness. The unforced manor in which he lifts the music from the page is sympathetically matched by [Elim] Chan and the orchestra."
- BBC Radio 3 Record Review
"The E minor Concerto opens in a wash of summery radiance, the strings superheated and heartfelt, from which the woodwind solos emerge soulfully, followed by a first triumphant flourish from Grosvenor, releasing floods of effortless poetic diversion. Beyond that the enchanting timelessness of the Romance, the closing Rondo’s virile playfulness, and the dazzling virtuosity of the F minor Concerto unfold with breathtaking rapture. … [Chan] and Grosvenor play entirely to the music’s natural strengths."
- The Scotsman
“Benjamin Grosvenor’s playing is naturally fluid and very poetic, with wonderful vocal lines, but at the same time also immensely imaginative. Even when the music is more powerful, the sound produced by the young Brit is always delicate and beautiful, sometimes bell-like, which brightly decorates his playing. In general, Grosvenor’s interpretations in both concertos can be described as very luminous. The slow movement in the Second Concerto is filigree and light, with the finest dynamic and colourful nuances, which Elim Chan follows with the greatest attention. The perfectly balanced sound recording contributes much to the good impression of these top-notch interpretations.”
“[Grosvenor] deploys a superb eloquence in the two slow, central movements, the most intimate, in this revealing of the fighting thoughts of nostalgic Chopin. We dream with Grosvenor of the beauty of the soprano Konstance Gladkowska who bewitched [Chopin] and whose image inspires all the Larghetto"
- Classique News
“… Grosvenor plays with clarity of sentiment … Grosvenor is at his strongest in captivating both the warmth and tenderness but also straying into the shadows when called for … The sound of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is flawless, with a particularly fine wind section … Chan ensures soloist and orchestra are one throughout.”
- The Classic Review