Chopin Lullaby – Compared listening

Chopin Lullaby – Compared listening  (In blue addings February 2019)

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

Emmanuel Despax (19??*) – 2017 – 5’02
Concentrated,  some underlines well done , but it remains a little “inside”. 7.5

Lim Dong Hyek (1984*) – 2016 – 5’02
Superb piano, beatiful, a little static for my taste. 8

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

Melissa Gore (19??*) – 2017 – 5’10”
A little literal and shy. 7

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

2018 – 4’29”
Exactly the same timing as 26 years ago. It’s still a little better: better recorded, more inhabited, a fairy tale. 9

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

Lin Yundi (1982*) – 2016 – 4’32
Piano very subtle, even confusing, a little outside though. 8

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 1 & 2, 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 and Pollini 2. 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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