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Chopin: 21 Mazurkas

Even a poor pianist like me has been exposed to the compositions of Frédèric Chopin. His music is almost synonymous with the instrument. Chopin is also exceedingly well-known for his use of ethic music types in classical composition, including the folk dance from his native county, Poland, the mazurka. He composed 58 mazurkas, and 21 of them are found on this disc by pianist Vassily Primakov.

In 1999, Primakov was a prizewinner at the Cleveland International Piano Competition and was commended by the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Donald Rosenberg for his skill at the Chopin repertoire. Rosenberg wrote:

"Primakov once again played Chopin's Sonata No.3, showing why the jury awarded him the Chopin Prize. How many pianists can make a line sing as the 19-year-old Moscow native did on this occasion? The slow movement overflowed with dreamy lyricism shaped with a patient and colorful hand. Every poignant phrase took ethereal wing. Elsewhere the music soared with all of the turbulence and poetic vibrancy it possesses. We will be hearing much from this remarkable musician."

While he may not be performing that sonata on this recording, the young artist's ability to channel the spirit of Chopin is plainly heard in these dances.

Our quick pick this week is from the piano trio, Ensemble Vivante. They're CD "Audience Favourites" is a smorgasbord music from Debussy to Charlie Chaplin to Leroy Anderson, and all of it quite enjoyable.

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