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“Pavel Kolesnikov Plays Chopin”
Frédéric Chopin: Fantasy Impromptu in C-Sharp minor, opus 66 – Waltz in A-Flat major, opus 60, n° 1 – Waltz in D-Flat major, opus 70, n°3 – Waltz in A-Flat major, KKIVa/13 – Sostenuto in E-Flat major ‘Waltz’, KKIVb/10 – Impromptu n° 1 in A-Flat major – Mazurka in C minor, opus 30, n° 1 – Mazurka in C-Sharp minor, opus 30, n° 4 – Mazurka in A minor, opus 7, n° 2a [early version of opus 7, n° 2] – Mazurka in E major, opus 6, n° 3 – Mazurka in C-Sharp minor, opus 41, n° 4 – Impromptu n° 2 in F-Sharp major, opus 36 – Mazurka in B major, opus 56, n° 1 – Mazurka in B major, opus 63, n° 1 – Mazurka in F minor, opus 63, n° 2 – Mazurka in A-Flat major, opus 41, n° 3 – Fantasy in F minor, opus 49 – Impromptu n° 3 in G-Flat major, opus 51

Pavel Kolesnikov (piano)
Recording: Wayastone Estate, Monmouth, Wales (July 12-14, 2018) – 76’40
Hyperion CDA68273 – Booklet in English, French and German (Distributed by PIAS)

Being a passionate perfume collector with interests in painting, photography and fashion helps reveal how attuned Pavel Kolesnikov can be at the keyboard. This Novosibirsk, Siberian-born youngster began violin and piano studies at six years of age, and now just shy of turning 30, it’s stunning to hear the maturity he brings to Chopin’s œuvres.

Pavel Kolesnikov ‘sings from the heart’, giving the music emphasized flexibility: the listener discovers the Russian’s infatuation with Chopin throughout. There’s lightness in the fingers that transmit notes like a gauzy zephyr. The Fantasy Impromptu in C-Sharp’s forward is unintimidating, yet the pianist can break out with heartfelt beauty during the classical middle section along with extra flourishes to better saturate the piece. The cadence is set in all the proper places. Later on we hear the Impromptu n° 1 in A-Flat major skating along with ice-charmed sparkle…this is a defining representation of how well-matrixed Pavel Kolesnikov is to Chopin’s demeanor.

The widely-emotive Impromptu n° 2 in F-Sharp major outlines the pianist rattling off notes without timidity during the middle passage. Another interesting quality is how the left-hand harmony can be just as musically pigmented while the right-hand prevails. The ear can pick out the independence, though the integration is wholly perched on the highest branch.

A man with acute sensitivity comes with an unquenchable thirst for being a ‘free-thinker’. The CD is pocketed with examples of fioritura to give Chopin’s music ‘special treatment’, and, in a way, giving ‘thanks’ to the virtuosic Polish composer. Riddled amongst these passages the listener will find a bit of whimsy, as exemplified during the closing bars of The Waltz in A-Flat major with its unexpected, tantivy rush.

Inside the nine Mazurkas, M. Kolesnikov unabashedly accentuates the triple meter and unsystematic beats to give the pieces ardent stimulation. He’s ‘tuned to the same wavelength.’ Some tempos trend more slowly, and exceptionally, adding a bewitching flavor. After the opening folk-like chording, the Mazurka in A minor settles down more ponderously than what Chopin prescribed, Vivo, non ma troppo. This, and the ensuing effervescent Mazurka in E major are treated as one subject with no interruption. Though both compositions belong to different opuses, the marriage is exhilarating, giving M. Kolesnikov another opportunity to contrast tones. Particularly invigorating are both Mazurkas in B major, giving a kicky lilt from all possible angles.

M. Kolesnikov’s Fantasy in F minor is curious, and it presents a quandary: ‘holds’ and ‘pushes’ seem to be positioned in some of the most unusual places; however, that’s what gives the piece a new edge...not altogether to this reviewer’s liking, however. Traditionally running anywhere between 10 to 14 minutes, Pavel Kolesnikov has plenty to say in the space of time, clocking in at well over 14 minutes. This bodes well for a gentleman who reveres Chopin so greatly, but the message is a tad melodramatic.

With volumes of Frédéric Chopin recordings currently on the market, there must be novel approaches to hold the listener’s interest. Nimbleness and softness on the keys are aptly rewarded through Hyperion’s pristine release. In the case of Pavel Kolesnikov, his outlook has some refreshing remarks.

Pavel Kolesnikov Website

Christie Grimstad




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