Krystian Zimerman plays Chopin’s Fantasie Op. 49

Fantasie Op. 49, Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

I can’t say I agree with all of Zimerman’s views (although I’d be pissed as all hell if customs destroyed my piano). But this recording is boss. The opening feels like a case study in picking a precise tempo, one a musician can manage. He plays slow enough that this listener feels like he hears every note in every phrase, along with inflections and subtle dynamics. Zimerman still keeps the music moving, though. I can’t emphasize how hard that is to do; there are plenty of good musicians who play accurately and with feeling that put their audience to sleep. When the piece becomes an exercise in virtuosity and intensity, not only is he up to the challenge, but his phrasing still remains impeccable. The ending is delicate and elegant and leaves you hungry for more, even after about 13 minutes of non-stop music.

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