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Works for Solo Piano, Volume II
Frédéric Chopin: Scherzo n° 1 in B minor, opus 20 – Polonaise in C-Sharp minor, opus 26, n° 1– Waltz in D-Flat, opus 64, n° 1 “Minute” – Waltz in C-Sharp minor, opus 64, no° 2 – Mazurka, opus 59, no° 1 – Fantasy in F minor, opus 49 – Nocturnes, opus 27 – Polonaise in A-Flat, opus 53 “Héroïque”

Ronan O’Hora (pianist)
Recorded in Cambridge, England (2007, Original Release) – 62’25
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Masterworks #28970 – Booklet in English

Ronan O’Hora, one of Britain’s premiere classical pianists, has collected a thoughtful blend of compositions by Frédéric Chopin in this, his second volume. Through his keyboard artistry, O’Hora paints the intricacies in exquisite fashion.

Mr. O’Hora renders a clean definition in Chopin’s Scherzo n° 1 in B minor that’s filled with exterior musical brackets depicting the composer’s agitated state. Likewise, the pianist’s pronounced ending nine bar run impresses. In the subsequent C-Sharp minor Polonaise he handles the dour, multi-sectional complexities with verve and honest translation.

A delightful cadence is exhibited in the album's single mazurka while the polished Waltz in D-Flat starkly contrasts to that of the Waltz in C-Sharp minor. Not only the longest in duration, the Fantasy in F minor, a mini soap opera unto itself, finds O’Hora pensively striking the keys, making it one of the most coherent and enthralling renditions.

O’Hora’s injections into the rather macabre Nocturne n° 1 in C-Sharp minor are seething with brewing intensity while the feathered dithering melody found in the Nocturne n° 2 in D-Flat shows finesse. Mr. O’Hora takes a more cautious, conservative approach to the 3/4 military Polonaise Héroïque by slowing the tempo a bit, notwithstanding its majestic and effervescent aura. Nonetheless, the expressive qualities are robust.

Brendan Beales’ educational pamphlet is terse and informative. Those having an acumen into the musical language will find elucidation into Chopin’s internal emotions. Audio-wise, this Allegro reissue is superb.

Christie Grimstad




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