Joanna Sochacka does Chopin the best way

In the album’s liner notes, Joanna Sochacka lays out the problem. “It is basically impossible to be a Polish pianist and not to play Chopin. However, for me, there has always been one significant issue – the responsibility which comes from the frequency of performing Chopin’s works and their popularity… Is it possible to find the best way of interpreting Chopin’s music?”

Her performances answer that question. Yes, for each individual it is possible. And I find Sochacka’s interpretations both original and valid. 

To my ears, Sochacka brings out the Polish foundation of Chopin’s music. Not in an obvious way, but subtly. And she does something else I find quite remarkable. 

Her performances add spontaneity. Some of these preludes sound improvised. And for pieces as well-known as these, that’s quite a feat.

Sochacha writes that the Prelude, Op. 45 is the closest to her heart. I believe it. She plays the piece with tenderness. Her beautifully shaped phrases bespoke that affection. I found her performances a pleasure to listen to. 

Yes, there are many, many other recordings of this music. But there’s something special about this one. I think Joanna Sochacka succeeded in her task. She infuses these preludes with her personality and it works. Highly recommended. 

Frederic Chopin: Preludes, Polonaise-Fantasy
Johanna Sochacka, piano
Sheva SH 298

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