Chopin Lullaby – Compared listening

Chopin Lullaby – Compared listening

berceuse

Wandering on the Net, if found this at Gramophone about the Berceuse included in the Nocturnes album by Pascal Amoyel:

"I also hoped that would be true of the Berceuse Op 57
that opens disc one, but, no; by the tenth time around, the interpretation still sounded foursquare and boring". (Jed Distler)

(the 1rst time I heard this recording, I played it 3 times in a row since I was so much impressed, but listening to it “10 times” when you don’t like it…).

So I am going to do a complete survey of the versions of the Berceuse I can have access to… thus more than 130. They are presented in alphabetical order. The piece id quoted Andante, but timing goes from 3′ to more than 6’… (recordings with a too bad sound are quoted NS).


Rebecca Aarons (a pseudo?) – 2014 – 5’08”
It’s not very nice pianistically, the pace is not always kept, touch is fairly flat. 6,5

Alfonso Alberti (1976*) – 2005 – 3’50”
A nice touch, a tempo that works, lacks some refinement. 7,5

Pascal Amoyel (1971*) – 2004 – 5’14”
Poetry … from the first note of the theme, you are carried away by the inner brightness, constancy of rhythm – a true lullaby, equality of touch, respect of the indications. I persist: miraculous – Sorry Jed Distler. 9

Jean-François Antonioli (1959*) – 2015 – 4’56”
Very nice touch, color is more outgoing, more for the ear than the heart.8

Vladimir Ashkenazy (1937*) – 1977 – 4’58”
Lots of atmosphere, grand piano, a little rubato, very beautiful. 8,5

Vladimir Ashkenazy (1937*) – 1999 – 5’18”
It is less well, touch is less assured, the speech less evident. 7,5

Stefan Askenase (1886-1985) – 1969 – 4’52”
It’s beautiful, but not excessive enough rubato, of great delicacy of touch, respect for all indications, perhaps more a dream than a lullaby. 9

Alwin Bär (1941 – 2000) – 1982 – 5’06”
Stamps fleshy, perceived slow tempo, very nice atmosphere. 8

Adolfo Barabino (19??*) – 2014 – 4’50”
“Fleeced” timbers, great sensitivity (superb introduction of the trill bar 19), everything is a little too shrouded, but it is very beautiful. 8

Daniel Barenboim (1942*) – 1977 – 4’43”
Lovely things, but it’s a bit outside.7,5

Daniel Barenboim (1942*) – 2010 – 4’48”
Live – Many small rallentendi, but it is the great class. 8,5

Giovanni Umberto Battel (19??) – 2015 – 5’47”
Slow, muffled sound, this is not a Barcarolle! We lose the basic rhythm. 6,5

Harold Bauer (1873-1951) – 1939 – 4’04”
The sound is so bad that it seems to have arpeggios instead of notes. Great means, an art of phrasing, end a little neglected. 7,5

Alexander Brailowsky (1896-1976) – 1938 – 4’35”
The duration of notes didn’t not matter! It’s rather barque sur l’océan … but it’s great piano. 7,5

Alexander Brailowsky (1896-1976) – 1959 – 4’25”
Still fast, it’s pretty.7,5

Joanna Brezezinska (1964*) –  1996 – 6’28”
Advantage: we have plenty of time to follow the score at this tempo! but it did not raise much interest.6,5

Gianluca Cascioli (1979*) – 2004 – 4’17”
Piano far, everything starts a bit in every sense (and why arpeggiate the last chord?). 6

Yin Chengzong (1941*) – 1998 – 5’03”
We hope not to confuse and last name. Much presence, subjectively a little slow maybe. 8

Frederic Chiu (1964*) – 2004 – 4’38”
Nothing to say, it is well done, felt a little too much pedal. 7,5

Karen Lund Christiansen (19??) – 2010 – 4’41”
Apparently a Danish professor of piano. Touching a little heavy, sixteens slightly limping. 6,5

Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) – 1949 – 4’08”
There exist four recordings for HMV: 1920, 1926, 1949, 1954.
It’s a little rubato, the key seems rather to keep an unchanging rhythm, and we lack a little poetry and clarity despite some eloquence. 8

Eugen d’Albert (1864-1932) – 19?? – 3’18”
The Pianist “Centaur”, half man, half piano … You do not hear much, if not a kind of impressive liquid virtuosity. HC

Jeanne-Marie Darré (1905-1999) – 1965 – 5’03”
Student of Isidor Philipp and Marguerite Long, she worked with Gabriel Fauré, Camille Saint-Saëns and Ravel.
Clarity, enough rubato, but it is very addictive. 8,5

Bernard d’Ascoli (1958*) – 2012 – 4’55”
It’s very well done, indications respected, but lacks a bit of personality.7,5

Pietro De Maria (1967*) – 2011 – 4’51”
Superb fingering very dolce version yet very “straight”. Not very personal, but beautiful. 8

Alex de Vries (1919-1964) – 1957 – 4’45”
There are variations of rhythm at each sentence, without much interest. 6

Peter Donohoe (1953*) – 1993 – 4’24”
Available in the album “Classics For My Baby” … Very clean, no rubato, simplicity, beautiful end. 8

François Dumont (1985*) – 2012 – 5’09”
Beautiful piano, slight rubato, end a little too ‘morendo’ A beautiful version.7,5

Detlev Eisinger (1957*) – 2004 – 4’58”
Available in the album “Quiet Relaxing Classical Classical” … It is however an evidence, one feelsit  from the first triplet: no false surrender, the pace is held from start to finish and interest also. 9

Nami Ejiri (19??) – 2009 – 5’37”
It is so slow, with nuances in each measure, it is elegant but seems irrelevant (the end swooning …). 7

Abdel Rahman El Bacha (1958*) – 2005 – 4’54”
Beautiful musicality, a little loose rhythm, beautiful phrasing, very nice end, but it is not very exciting. 7,5

Hans Fazzari (19??) – 2015? – 5’03”
Little information on this Italian pianist. It’s hesitant, mannered, again a Barque sur l’océan. 6

Vladimir Feltsman (1952*) – 2011 – 5’09”
Superb sound, all is very well held, novirtuosity effect or excess of intent. 8

Jan Florio – 19?? – 2013 – 5’10”
No information on the pianist, the CD is entitled “RW Venezia” (?). It’s pretty hesitant, not always equal. 6

Nelson Freire (1944*) – 1976? – 4’32”
Theme superbly led, beaded touching, bright, dreamlike. 9

Nelson Freire (1944*) – 2014 – 4’08”
More than 48 years later … It’s a bit faster, always admirable touch, perhaps a little less poetic.  8,5

Nelson Goerner (1969*) – 2015 – 4’23”
Everything is perfect, stable bass; obeying instructions, quality of touch, but one does not feel very prevailed. 8

Elina Gotsouliak (19??) – 2010 – 4’47”
Beautiful interpretation, pity it slows from sostenuto. 7,5

Hélène Grimaud (1969) – 2005 – 4’51”
Superb, very ‘lullaby’ statement with a theme a little dot on the foot. 8,5

Cor de Groot (1914-1993) – 1956 – 4’40”
Dutch pianist and composer who couldn’t use his right hand from 1959. Many effects (extension of the first eighth of the theme, etc.). 6,5

Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000) – 1948 – 4’18”
Given rhythm, softness, lightness, one of the best ends. 8,5

Joseph Hofmann (1876-1957) – 1929 – 3’39”
(Józef Kazimierz Hofmann). It is in public (!), It’s going at full speed, he arranges the end by putting a bell instead of accompaniment, it is still amazing. NS

Mieczyslaw Horszowski (1892-1993) – 1980 – 4’22”
It looks like a grandfather who tells stories of yesteryear, it’s very poetic, just a tendency to slow sentence endings. 8,5

Eugen Indjic (1947*) – 1990 – 4’28”
Another beautiful version impeccable letter, beautiful sound, very poetic reading. 8,5

Andrei Ivanovi(t)ch (1968*) – 2012? – 4’25”
The touch is not always equal, not very interesting. 7

Lotte Jekéli (19??*) – 2012? – 4’48”
A beautiful version, not very well recorded on an average quality piano, but here is a real lullaby. 8

Eileen Joyce (1908-1991) – 1939 – 4’19”
Famous Australian-born pianist who could give the same evening “Chopin’s No. 1, Rachmaninoff’s No. 2, the Concerto by John Ireland and Beethoven’s ‘Emperor'” …
This is remarkable, shet probably best bring out the theme in the first variations. 8,5

Teresa Kaban – (19??*) – 2013 – 5’44”
Polish pianist. Beautiful piano, but it’s too slow to really interest. 7

Hans Kann (1927-2005) – 1999 – 4’10”
This Austrian composer and pianist would have recorded over 120 discs. Touching very strong, quite peremptory, a lullaby that is unlikely to make youy fall asleep. 7,5

Julian von Karolyi (1914-1993) – 1952 – 4’21”
Student of Cortot and Dohnanyi. plenty of get-up-and-go  , but it’s pretty outside. 7,5

Julius Katchen (1926-1969) – 19?? – 4’26”
Beautiful piano, but hardly interests. 7,5

Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991) – 1945? – 5’02”
Really “the poet of the piano”, reading with plenty of interiority. Correct sound.9
1959 – 4’54” (Decca) : it is almost the same, but seems less poetic than the previous one. 8

Evgeny Kissin (1971*) – 1999 – 4’41”
Sound is a bit drowned, quite annoying. 7

Paul Komen (19??*) – 2002 – 4’37”
This is very light, some rallentando in sentences.7,5

Maria Korecka-Soszkowska (19??) – 2014 – 4’53”
Spurious accents, slightly mannered, but quite endearing reading. 7,5

Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009) – 1975 – 4’49”
Sound pretty unpleasant, one of the best passages in sixteenth notes, a beautiful version. 7,5

Danielle Laval (19??*) – 197? – 4’35”
Arpeggios not great, a little outside. 7

Mi-Young Lee (19??) – 2010 – 4’37”
Many intentions, technically in the average. 6,5

Anna Lena Leyfeldt (19??*) – 2014 – 4’09”
Who is she? Heavy touching, it’s pretty painful. 4

Konstantin Lifschitz (1976*) – 1990 – 4’53”
Beautiful things, a nice touch, but it’s pretty outside.7

Donghyek Lim (1984*) – 2015 – 4’27”
Rather superficial. 7

Nikita Magaloff (1912-1992) – 1955 – 4’49”
Tempo changes, fairly shimmering piano. 7,5
1977 – 4’20”
It is played straighter, but not much more exciting. 7,5

Milosz Magin (1929-1999) – 1974 – 4’22”
Back to a version rhythically held, beautiful sound, even if it is not the most sophisticated touch heard. 8

Jean-Pierre Marty (1932*) – 1958 – 5’12”
It works so much better when one did not put any personal intentions: not the pianist of the century, but a great sense of rhythm, beautiful version. 8

Anne-Marie McDermott (19??) – 2011 – 5’06”
Nuances somewhat exaggerated at times, but it is very beautiful. One of the few to respect the accent on bar 54. 8

Dominique Merlet  (1938*) – 2010 – 4’35”
Tempo somewhat fluctuating, beautiful version. 7,5

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995) – 19?? – 4’15”
There are several versions. I have had access to an undated one (and   to another almost inaudible). This is obviously remarkable; touching, spirit. Each variation is as if carved. Just one idiosyncrasy: the “C flat” very marked on bars 55 & 57. 8,5

Ivan Moravec – (1930-2015) – 2003 – 5’01”
Touching splendid, a true lullaby, beautiful. 9

Jon Nakamatsu (1968*) – 1998 – 4’11”
Another beautiful version of just less poetic than the last one. 8,5

Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964) – 19?? – 4’24”
High class, some liberties, impressive. 8,5

Stanislas Niedzielski (1905-1975) – 1958 – 4’53”
Nice version, a little superficial. 7,5

Cyprian Nimka (19??) – 2015 – 3’44”
Unknown pianist. A midi piano, a harpsichord? A pan instead. 2

Guiomar Novaes (1896-1979) – 1956 – 4’29”
The touch is not always mastered as with others, but it is very addictive. 8,5

Polina Osetinskaya (1975*) – 2015 – 5’07”
Beautiful version feels a bit slow. 8

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) – <1930 – 3’53”
A rather moving testimony, we could play without rubato and without adding personal intentions by that time … NS

Josef Palenicek (1914-1991) – 1959 – 4’05”
Nice touch, delicacy, but it is a bit faster and poorly recorded. 7,5

Evgenia  Papadimas (19??*) – 2009 – 5’01”
Nothing to say, but not addictive. 7,5

Irene Peery-Fox (19??*) – 2000 – 4’40”
Dry touch. 7

Murray Perahia (1947*) – 1985 – 5’01”
He has no website anmymore apprently. “Poet of the piano”: that’s right, too bad the piano sounds too much swathed, ideal tempo and dynamic. 8,5

Javier Perianes – (1978*) – 2014 – 4’21”
Piano somewhat drowned, it starts well, then it’s a shame it accelerates, many qualities and personality. 7,5

Vlado Perlemuter (1904-2002) – 1962 – 4’48”
Of Polish origin. Not the best piano in the world, but all is said naturally. 8
1982 – 4’22”
Evidence and clarity, even too much clear? (the ens). 8,5

Maria Perrotta (1974*) – 2015 – 4’57”
Left hand not very stable, fleshy touch, a little unpleasant recording in treble. Interesting nonetheless. 7,5

Olivier Peyrebrune (19??*) – 2011 – 4’54”
It’s still curious at the third bar, when indicated dolce he plays the accompaniment 2 times stronger … An honest release. 6

Maria João Pires (1944*) – 1998 – 5’38
So many effects! The sound is not great, it doesn’t sound natural to my ears. 6,5

Andreas Pistorius (19??*) – 2011 – 4’10”
Unknown pianist. It runs without interest.6

Alain Planes (1948*) – 2001 – 5’08”
Nothing to say about the performance and musicianship of pianist but this all sounds very serious. 7,5

Roberto Poli (19??*) – 2015 – 4’50”
Recording spin ears, it’s done but lacks of height of view, with ostinato in the bass very exaggerated. 6,5

Daniel Pollack (1935*) – 1961? – 4’35”
It’s rather  indolent and neutral. 7

Maurizio Pollini (1942*) – 1991 – 4’29”
He seems to accelerate with every sentence, while the bass is immutable but there are many micro-rubatos in each sentence. Grand piano. 8,5

Katarzyna  Popowa-Zydron (19??*) – 2013? – 4’41”
A beautiful version, built, but why slow at the sostenuto ? 7,5

We will skip Raoul Pugno (1907), inaudible.

Anne Queffélec (1948*) – 2010 – 5’09”
The ‘natural’, grace, we feel oddly hearing better the notes than in others versions. 8

Karol Radziwonowicz (1958*) – 2013 – 4’15”
The theme floats a little, some inequalities in touch, quite beautiful otherwise. 7

Eugène Reuchsel (1900-1988) – 1962 – 4’44”
French organist and pianist forgotten. Beautiful atmosphere, almost Franckist. 7,5

Bernard Ringeissen (1934*) – 2013? – 4’15”
Another good version, sound a bit unpleasant. 7,5

Carol Rosenberger (1933*) – 2001 – 5’13”
American pianist Berceuse found in the album “Lullaby Baby needs” … well it is remarkable except the sound a bit muffled. Play simple, natural sequences, really a lullaby atmosphere. 8,5

Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946) – 19?? – 4’05”
It’sthe time of arpeggiated notes, tempo fluctuations within each sentence. Moving to hear this pupil of Liszt. NS

Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982) – 1932 – 4’16”
We think havingidentified 3 or 4 versions (and at least 60 pockets …). Piano very clear at the time, a lot of affect (the recording was left with a false note at the time), it’s very chic, without too many liberties, singing and very intimate. 8
1958? – 4’45” – Light rubatos make the base is not constant, but what a delicacy of touch, poetic. 8,5

Victor Schiøler (1899-1967) – 19?? – 4’12”
Danish pianist. Not very interesting. HC

Burkard  Schliessmann (19??*) – 2015 – 4’4″
I recommend his bio … Nothing to say but it sounds superficial. 7,5

Peter Schmalfuss (1937-2008) – 2014 – 4’08”
Nice touch, again an outdoor Lullaby… 7,5

Peter Serkin (1947*) – 1978 – 4’40”
As Pollini, François or others, his father never recorded it. Somewhat muffled recording, done right, not very inhabited. 7,5

Orli Shaham (1975*) – 2015- 5’03”
The CD is entitled “Brahms inspired” (?). Like the previous three, nothing to say, but … nothing to say either! 7,5

Vladimir Shakin (19??) – 1994 – 4’24”
Lack of homogeneity at all points of view. 6

Mordecai  Shehori (1946*) – 2008 – 5’25”
Already with the two first bars, one feels that it will not be that. We seek consistency in the dynamic and consistency in short elsewhere. 6,5

Abbey Simon (1922*) – 2002 – 4’13”
A beautiful reading, straight, sensible, just a bit fast – great pianist.8

Mzia Simonishvili (19??*) – 1994 ? – 4’22”
“Busoni Piano Competition 1994”, we do not know more.
It’s a little disunited, without much interest. 6

Katia Skanavi (1971*) – 2014 – 4’57”
Ideal tempo, but we lack of sound. 7

Wibi Soerjadi (1970*) – 1996 – 5″12″
Many rallentando, not exciting. 7

Solomon Curtner (1902-1988) – 1943? – 5’05”
A model, a joy to have both hands so well together, but the recording is relatively poor. NS

Elizabeth Sombart (19??) – 2012 – 4’58
Many “romantic” effects, sometimes you wonder what happened to the bass. 6,5

Boris Spasski (19??*) – 2008 – 4’06”
Do not confuse with the chess champion.
Curious conception of dolce. It is not beautiful, noisy.5

Christian Spring (19??*) – 2013 – 4’38”
Touching heavy, it sounds very bad. 5

Hai-Kyung Suh (19??*) – 2012 – 5’51”
Slow tempo, to bad she slows down at the sustenuto, rather moving lecture. 8

Istvan Szekely (19??*) – 1995 – 4’29”
Touch without heat, sound flashy at times, but a certain allure. 7

Alex Szilasi (1968*) – 2016 – 5’04”
The only ancient piano of the confrontation. We hope Chopiin’s Pleyel had been better (with burning candle noises if possible). NS

Henryk Sztompka (1901-1964) – 19?? – 4’45”
It’s not very nice, sound a bit murky, I thought it was me it was the pianist breathing… 6,5

Raymond Trouard (1916-2008) – 1956 – 5’14”
French pianist well forgotten. It certainly sounds dolce and piano, but hardly arouses interest, it looks like a rosary ginned. 5,5

Valerie Tryon (1934*) – 2007 – 4’31”
English pianist. It is played fairly straight, touch is not really magic. A pleasant version nonetheless. 7

Nobuyuki Tsujii (1988*) – 2010 – 5’07”
Blind Japanese pianist Van Cliburn first price in 2009.
Live – it’s remarkable, great touch, very fascinating end. 8,5

Véra Tsybakov (1982*) – 2007 – 4’18”
French pianist. Nice touch, a nice release but not transcendent. 7,5

Mitsuko Uchida (1948*) – 2009 – 3’47”
Many piano noises. It is fast, elegant, perhaps a bit outside. 8

Tamás Vásáry (1933*) – 1965 – 5’20”
Version reprinted many times, for example in “50 Cool Classical Hits to sleep” … It is very andante. A reading very straight, very sounding, original.8

Klemens  Wichrowski (19??*) – 2015 – 3’42”
He appears to be a jazz pianist. It is much like the “version” Cyprian Nimka. 2

Ingolf Wunder (1985*) – 2012 – 4’38”
Will it be wunderbach? Piano matte and slightly veiled, many instrument sounds. It is very beautiful but the slow end and drowned in a little artificially. 7,5

Conclusion: at least 19 excellent versions that could carry the preference according to your tastes :
Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Nelson Freire, Hélène Grimaud, Friedrich  Gulda, Mieczyslaw  Horszowski, Eugen Indjic, Eileen Joyce, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Jon Nakamatsu, Heinrich Neuhaus, Guiomar Novaes, Murray Perahia, Vlado Perlemuter, Maurizio Pollini, Carol Rosenberger, Arthur Rubinstein, Nobuyuki  Tsujii.

For me the most memorable were those versions: Pascal Amoyel, Stefan Askenase, Detlev Eisinger, Nelson Freire, Wilhelm Kempff, Ivan Moravec. Your turn to judge…

 

Chopin - Berceuse

booklet VSM Best of chopin:livret Best of chopin
booklet VSM Best of chopin:livret Best of chopin
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