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CHOPIN: The Complete Preludes - Vanessa Perez (2 CDs)
CHOPIN: The Complete Preludes - Vanessa Perez (2 CDs)

CHOPIN: The Complete Preludes - Vanessa Perez (2 CDs)

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As we listen to Chopin's music, we are convinced that we hear a powerful narrative drama," read the CD booklet notes for this release of Chopin's preludes by Venezuelan pianist Vanessa Perez. Perez did not write the booklet notes, but they seem to reflect her approach to the preludes, for which "narrative" is not normally the first word that would come to mind. Trained mostly in the U.S., Perez is not a product of Venezuela's famed Sistema music education system, but her fiery, fearless preludes she matches the fresh, charismatic readings that have been coming from other Venezuelan musicians. The album is unorthodox at both the micro and macro levels. Consider the opening shot, the "Prelude in C major, Op. 28, No. 1," where the usually dreamy, lyrical melody with which the piece trails off turns into a sort of ominous mutter. Perez takes it from there with intense contrasts, unusual although not unheard-of tempo extremes, and in general rethinkings of almost all of the famous preludes. This is welcome in the case of chestnuts like the "Prelude in C minor, Op. 28, No. 20," where Perez plays down the funeral-march aspect with a slow tempo that turns the piece into a much more more personal piece of tragedy. She leaves little space between the individual preludes, and the overall effect is indeed to produce one large narrative. The average listener will probably find that some stages of this work better than others, and that injustice is being done to Chopin's conceptions at times, but the album is certainly not dull, and Chopin collectors will want it on their shelves and hard drives. Telarc's sound, which picks up what seem to be foot taps from Perez, is as intense and almost confrontational as her playing.

This new recording of the complete Preludes of Frederick Chopin represents the debut on Telarc Classics of the highly regarded young Venezuelan-American pianist Vanessa Perez. In recent years she has been championed as one of the best young musical talents on the scene by the likes of legendary pianist Claudio Arrau and the great conductor Zubin Mehta.

Vanessa Perez is a product of the same energised musical culture in Venezuela that produced such international stars as conductor Gustavo Dudamel and pianist Gabriela Montero. In 2009 she performed alongside star violinist Joshua Bell in Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’ on his “At Home with Friends” album for Sony Classical. She also worked with Jan Vogler on Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango and other pieces for the cellist’s 2008 album “Tango”, also released by Sony. In 2005 she produced a solo album for VAI that featured Chopin’s four Ballades, pieces from Albéniz’s Ibería and a work by contemporary composer Suzanne Farrin.

Perez makes her Telarc Classics debut with an all-Chopin collection that includes the 24 Preludes Op. 28, and some other popular pieces, among them the Barcarolle in F sharp major and the Fantasie in F minor.


Chopin: Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Chopin: Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49
Chopin: Prelude Op. 45 in C sharp minor (No. 25)
Chopin: Prelude Op. posth. in A flat major (No. 26)
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 1 in C major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 2 in A minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 3 in G major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 4 in E minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 5 in D major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 6 in B minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 7 in A major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 8 in F sharp minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 9 in E major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 10 in C sharp minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 11 in B major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 12 in G sharp minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 13 in F sharp major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 14 in E flat minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 15 in D flat major ‘Raindrop'
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 16 in B flat minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 17 in A flat major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 18 in F minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 19 in E flat major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 20 in C minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 21 in B flat major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 22 in G minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 23 in F major
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 No. 24 in D minor