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- THE MASTER OF THE MASTERS -
Pianist: Alberto Cobo
Recording master: Patrick Lemmens
Filming and recording setup: Robin Kettelhake
piano: Steinway D
Recording in live at the famous Galaxy Studios from Belgium (Mol).
AUDIO 3D system
Date: July15th, 2019
Program made for this recording:
3 Nocturnes op. 9 and 24 Etudes op. 10 and op. 24 by Chopin ( "Urtext" Edition - Latest editions approved by Chopin in life).
First appereance! New released! Premiere!
Available here to buy Worlwide in streaming to download at https://www.albertocobo.com!
Jan Ekier (1913-2014), who created the impressive Chopin's National Edition [https://www.chopin-nationaledition.com] comments on the introduction of his edition of the Chopin Studios (mainly referring to those of op. 10 and op. 25):
"The fate of some of the interpretation directives proposed by Chopin was just unfortunate in performance praxis (this holds true particularly for pedaling and metronomic tempi) wich simply ... ignored them."
The fate of some of the interpretation directives proposed by Chopin was unfortunate in the practice of acoustic instrumental performance with real pianos (he does not speak of electronic ones anymore, for absolutely disregarding them. This is especially true for pedal indications and metronomic times) that simply ... have been ignored by everyone.
This observation, which I have asked myself many times, more if you hear staunch defenders of the original proposals of classical composers, usually by Jewish musicians, made me think that if Chopin's very music, the most played in universal history, It has not been fully respected or at least to a significant degree that leads us to think that this musical idea has already been expressed with the most dignity and with the greatest interest in being faithful to the quasi-divine musical creator / genius, what can we expect from the rest , more if it has been totally unknown music ...
The Master of the Masters
I started studying Chopin as a child. I remember the first Nocturne op. 9 with so much affection that I suddenly felt nostalgic for that time, of my beginnings with music and what was the first sound perception towards Chopin.
I rediscovered the path by reviewing these pages. Great, again and again, in the distance of the years. What an inspiration from that of young Chopin!
This gave me the idea, the intention to propose a new recording of an album. That initial Chopinian inspiration is unique I told myself, I have to revive it. And so I began, step by step, without hurry but without pause. And I did a program that is unified very well by the period in which it was created: 3 Nocturne op. 9 (1830-33) and 24 Étudés of Chopin op. 10 (1829-32) and op. 25 (1832-36). There was nothing the challenge!
The trip has once again been one of those I describe - remembering other previous projects - as 'unforgettable'. The vision I have now, of an almost clairvoyant clarity about this style and kind of music, is not what I had in childhood, of course, and the experience of so many years and the knowledge derived from it.
But what a wonder! This is really a luxury. Chopin knew and recognized that he had discovered a new Universe.
I was worried about the instrument. Much. His favorite piano was a Camille Pleyel of 1846, of which he said: "the last word in perfection." And he took it from France to his last concert tour in the United Kingdom in 1848. The delicacy of this instrument, its small draft and softness, the mute of coloratura, the resonance of the pedals, its lightness and softness. I played a very similar one in the Palace of Aranjuez (close to Madrid). But he also remembered that Chopin was a big fan of Liszt's interpretations and he loved how his Etudes sounded in the hands of the Austro-Hungarian. Hence, although he did not like extremely loud sounds, he did want character and temperament because that must be of a very nationalistic sense. At the same time as expressiveness, candor, 'sonorité'.
What happen? That those relics today hardly sound like they did then. And a Steinway grand grand piano is always very attractive for a recording, and they also reflect the professionalism of the concert player. They can't tell you that the piano was not right ...
But it did inspire me constantly, ah, the "harmonic legato", the pedal annotations, the tempos, the notes of special notes (see in the manuscripts the indications with "+", which refer to a tremendous sensitivity towards certain notes, without calling attention, but that such subtlety (at a dizzying speed, let's clarify) can only show how far the magnificence of this Polish touch could reach.
Paganini was the fashion and first revolution, on violin. Chopin and Liszt took the message on the fly. That virtuosity without limit, those multiple sparks and sensations in a small moment, a Pandora's box that opens and unfolds a whole world in a very brief message ... A Universe in Chopin.
I write now after rereading many articles and books about Chopin. How many things have been said about him for many years. The fact is that there was something that awoke the fantasy, where you look.
'Chopin est à la mode'. Incredibly still in force. I do not know the recordings of records, CDs of the Chopin Etudes, more than 50 sure. About five recent. But in the whole of his work, he does not stop recording and recording and versioning and versioning, in an endless non-stop. The Revolution is not over.
To what is due? What do we find in Chopin? For many years I asked myself that question. How can this musician be considered the absolute master, the king of the universal piano, the maximum paradigm, the Master of The Masters (according to the historian and musicologist Jachimecki: Liszt, Wagner, Alkan, Richard Strauss and Scriabin belong to the spiritual students of Chopin in the mental field of the virtuosity of the instruments). I had to get into his works. That is how I have dedicated many years.
Chopin remains a safe investment. Away from purely commercial record products, from the music attacks in justification of providing "love" taking advantage of the little cultural knowledge and preparation in this field of people, Chopin's music remains, remains in force, continues to surprise millions of people daily . Yes, it seems incredible to accept but it is. Around the world, Chopin does not stop being interpreted and listened to satiety. And we are talking about compositions that have almost two centuries of existence, unique and tremendously original!
If we look for the entire universal spectrum of the music field, practically infinite, and even more focused on the piano (almost as infinite), we do not find another paragon that can be equated with Chopin, which meets all the requirements, which of exit to an instrument of rank as it is the "King of the Musical Instruments", that is the piano (although its music has been transcribed even for orchestra and song). Well, when it comes to exemplifying a concert in a first-class Auditorium, without public address, only the delight of pure sound and acoustics, what program or works will the professional concert pianist choose, the true support and bastion of the music that endures for its sole merit of the value that entails? Surely, and all without exception, have thought many times in this name: CHOPIN.
Indeed, no matter how much we try to imitate Chopin, whether copying to harmonies, it will never ever be minimally attainable. This does not happen with most of the biggest names in music, more affordable. Let us not fall into the ease of valuing that Chopin composed nothing more than using the dominant and the tonic. If so, I encourage anyone who sees it so easy to see what he gets. The safest thing is that he constantly beats on the wall and head when he sees that the only thing he achieves is garbage compositions (well, it still gives millions seen what they have seen with commercial music, and the powerful gift money is the incentive engine that promotes its aberrations, remember a famous phrase of the Master: "I am a revolutionary, money means nothing to me").
The 24 Etudes that Chopin (12 by op. 10 and 12 by op. 25) composed of 19 to 25 years, were inspired by 24 Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870) as format and didactic sense (Chopin collaborated - without opus number - with his "Three New Studies" in 1839, in the 'Méthode des Méthodes', a book for piano learning by Ignaz Moscheles and François-Joseph Fétis) as in the exuberance and virtuosity of Nicolo Paganini by attending a concert of his with 18 years and being impressed. It is also clear that adding their own style and genius, with their own innovative resources, such as special fingerings for the anatomy of the hands, pedals, harmonic sense, harmonic legato, coloratures, unique vision of piano speed, lyricism sometimes inspired by a sense operatic, etc.
Many researchers, critics, have written about Chopin for over a hundred years. The Polish musicologist Jachimecki, who was also a composer and had studied in Vienna as a counterpoint to Arnold Schönberg for a year, said that the Chopin Etudes in addition to signifying a methodological plan were presented - like everything Chopin composed - with the highest characteristics of works of art, and with such an early age, meaning of the great genius. He was the first composer to raise the genre of piano studies with this nature. Each Etude connects in an inexorable way in consequence with the tonality of the previous one, something unnatural or compulsive is never perceived in it.
Chopin practiced daily as a young man, studies for piano by Cramer, Clementi and Moscheles but he felt that this was not enough to get to improve the technique, and also they were very mechanical and not very musical, so he thought about creating his own.
Mysteriously, the Chopinian essence was already oriented in these brief works, so that it can be said that they are the most played or practiced in the entire history of the piano worldwide.
Also mysterious that in them, Chopin consciously connected with the discovery of his new Universe.
Tremendous discovery, and curious that it was almost exclusively through the instrument: piano.
This may already seem/sound to most people like a George Lucas movie: 'The Music of The Galaxies'. It is not far from reality for those who have the opportunity to listen to my new CD (The Master Of The Masters), with only one concert piano, 10 fingers and two feet.
I would go even further. Not in the distance that only thought can achieve to move to another space 'galactic' and above unknown, but in my way of thinking, no recording that I know (and I think I know all or practically all) has managed to move to years Sidereal distance light, which in my assessment, was really Chopin's intention.
And what do we find in that Galaxy? (how funny I recorded it at the Galaxy Studios, things of destiny). Versatility, to start. The technical vision of Chopin is unique, incredibly devised, of an exquisite conception, which French perfume of the best vintage of Christian Dior. Difficult to define or describe if we consider it as a combination of intervals, rhythms, accents, articulations or harmonies. Each of his Studies are 'inconceivable', 'unimaginable', and in my modest understanding, much more than poems (as Schumann said). They are cosmic planes, a speedway superior to light, which is capable of moving to no other world, but to a tremendous Galaxy that is not the 'Vía Láctea', and I suspect that NASA does not know it either. The Chopin Galaxy
Hence we come to the step: What is Music? Chopin considered that it was an earthly paste, enamored, in a sense, normal. But ... It is that only Music has the power to contain an encrypted message ("There is nothing more hateful than music without hidden meaning" ... Chopin) in the form of sound / auditory art that makes certain areas vibrate brain of the subconscious, certain resources that theoretically we all have, more or less developed.
The question is, do you want to travel so far? You are ready? You're going to get scared? Are you going to be able to assimilate the tremendous emotional blow?
This is not a recording to use. Nor is Chopin a frequent composer. The technology used here, to start, is of the highest level. But above all, it is the enveloping concept of the Auro 3D that determines the final focus and astral perception of the listener.
16 high quality microphones were used. None of them stuck or inside the piano, which is usual, but at an almost similar distance in different heights and positions, never below. So everyone picked up the sound with the most harmonics. 15 tracks arrived at the mixer, one of the best in the world.
When the distance between the microphones is added, the sensation of reber is enhanced, because the room has the right reverberation and it is also the one with the least noise worldwide.
Most recordings are usually 'aseptic 'because the sound being picked up from so close has not come to mix the harmonics completely. Although these recordings are very clear, for the ear it is still unnatural, and the musical concept is broken down into the different regions of the sound spectrum, acute, medium and serious. In the new concept of Auro 3D the general whole is the main objective. We have the feeling of being in a dome. Moreover, it is enhanced if the listening is on the 15 channels in a conditioned room with the numerous speakers, in front, on the sides, behind and above, which defines the Auro 3 D system.
For the sake of fate, this might faithfully serve the creative world of the Polish composer, Frédéric Chopin. His ideal instrument, Pleyel, was also very special. Grand piano, in very noble woods, with extraordinary sensitivity, a harmonic mute, and a very well defined sound when Schumann said: "like a wind harp."
The same goes for the Aurotorium [ https://www.galaxystudios.com/sound/stages/3d-aurotorium-dubbing-stage ] or spaces prepared with the arrangement of speakers on the 5 fronts. The sum of the distances between the speakers, still emitting all the sound at the same time, produces a surprising effect on the individual that is placed inside that formed auditory dome. I could not say that the exact term is reverberation because they are not sounds that are refrained but rather something like moving to another world or intergalactic space, hence perhaps the name: Galaxy Studios. Actually it is as if you were immersed with the sounds in a living creation, not static as until now that you are always aware that you are before a screen or listening / observing something that can make you feel but you certainly know that you do not participate in it. No, here the feeling is that 'you are inside'.
After learning about the proposal launched by several pianists about the famous Chopin Etudes, mainly talking about the virtuosity op. 10 and op. 25, I present here a mere general assessment, and since many years ago there are competitions in this piano field in which these works seem to be those that determine one level or another.
I point out a list of performers on which he has enjoyed fame so far as being the main exhibitors of these wonderful pieces of musical piano art. I also include fairly recent recordings of other pianists, usually linked to the competitions, mainly the Warsaw Chopin Contest or the American Van Cliburn, the two most prestigious in the world of classical piano.
Rafael Orozco, Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Agustín Anievas, Claudio Arrau, Andrei Gavrilov, Jan Lisiecki, Alessandro Deljavan, Fialkowska, Frederic Chiu, Vyacheslav Gryaznov, Sviatoslav Richter, Eugeni Kissin, Daniil Trifonov, Valentina Lisitzsa, Zlata Chochieva, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Tamás Vásáry, Samson François, Paul Badura-Skoda, Daniel del Pino, Lukas Geniusas, Alfred Cortot, Seon Jin Cho, Nicolay Lugansky, François-René Duchable, Nobuyuki Tsujii, George Cziffra, Wilhelm Backhaus, [Grigori Sokolov - op. 25].
Some versions released on YouTube of some specific studies, the 1 for example, by Martha Arguerich of which I have doubts about the possible technical manipulation on them, referring to the "Stretching" that reduces the time without modifying much the tuning for so its Eexposure seems faster than it really was.
While there are many important names on this list, transcendent in this "modern" culture of piano recordings - which have come out to the world showcase thanks and precisely for the recording of these works, which both meet the aspect of very high technical virtuosity as of musicality and, lately of rigor as to what was Chopin's last decision on the notes that he wanted to be played-, today we should not look for the name or fame, or historical aspect, but by the result final.
That is why I want to vindicate my rights as a musician in the face of so much talk, injustices that are committed in this world, about claims to say that one is such and another which, others who cannot (if they had not done so), others who do not have the enough courage to do so, etc. And once this list is enumerated, whoever has the least sense of aesthetics, musical ear, and of sensible opinion, you will know who is the best, once you dedicate the necessary time to check it.
Obviously I say and explain this - that nobody comments because worldwide it is a taboo - although on YouTube many people launch are writing on short opinions without having taken into account a deeper work on the subject, saying most often categorized manifestations of which I do not share, and they are not true, WHO PLAYS IT BETTER, OR HAS PLAYED, IN THE WORLD.
As you can see, it is no nonsense. These works are the most interpreted in the history of music. The hours that have been dedicated and the effort on them has been titanic, to the maximum of both physical, mental and artistic faculties.
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