Review by: Jed Distler
Artistic Quality: 7
Sound Quality: 9
The cliché “solid steel” applies to Anna Vinnitskaya’s fingerwork in the Chopin Ballades. Indeed, technical difficulties do not exist for this pianist, although her interpretations fall short where sustaining power and musical insight are concerned. The problem is that she approaches all four Ballades more or less on the same level, playing slower, introspective sections somberly, while imbuing bravura passages (the G minor and F minor codas, the Second Ballade’s A minor outbursts) with either glib phrasing or twitchy speed-ups and slow-downs.
The Impromptus are better. Vinnitskaya displays welcome sensitivity and poetry in No. 1’s outer sections, yet impatiently pushes the central episode. By contrast, the Second Impromptu’s march-like middle section has impressive breadth and gravitas, while Nos. 3 and 4 are attractively fluent and shapely. However, to experience Vinnitskaya at her scintillating and imaginative best, check out a live Ravel Gaspard de la nuit issued as part of an anthology devoted to performances from the 2007 Queen Elizabeth Competition.
Buy Now from Arkiv Music
Recording Details:Reference Recording: Ballades: Moravec (Supraphon); Perahia (Sony), Impromptus: Wild (Ivory Classics)
- CHOPIN, FRÉDÉRIC:Four Ballades, Four Impromptus
- Anna Vinnitskaya (piano)
- Alpha - 728