Charles Richard-Hamelin (CRH) could be called the “Chopin Man”, so much so that he embodies the spirit of the Polish romantic composer. Of course, we know that CRH is equally good at Mozart, Enescu and so many others, but it was through Chopin that he got his hands on the piano world, and it was at the Chopin Competition that he dazzled the world (starting with Quebec, which has fully supported him ever since) and launched his international career in spectacular fashion. Chopin is an extension of the young man’s musical soul, which continues to grow in maturity with each passing year. This album demonstrates the evocative power that CRH brilliantly builds into each of the 24 miniature gems of Op. 28 signed by the great Frederic. Many comparisons can be made with a plethora of great pianists. Let us choose another exceptional Quebecer: Louis Lortie. Where Lortie is generally introspective, almost impressionistic, CRH is resolutely romantic, encouraging the full viscerality of the scores to unfold. Two different readings, but both as essential as each other. We are privileged! And this is only one example. To finish the program, there is an Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante op. 22 mixing benevolent elegance and a touch of curmudgeonly wit. Brilliant and exciting!
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