Monday, December 21, 2009

Etsuko Hirose plays the Chopin Preludes

You may not have heard of Etsuko Hirose, but you will. This young woman won the International Martha Argerich Competition in Buenos Aires in 1997. Competition winners are many, but the signs are that she is maturing into a formidable musician.

This is a live recording from La roque d'Anthéron, 13 August 2009. Aside from the Preludes, she plays a couple of Polonaises, just to warm up.

The reason for posting this, though, is the preludes - a sustained feat of concentration and pianism. Even the things that don't come off are spellbinding.

The recording, from France Musique, is open air, and you will have to get used to the occasional sounds of children playing in the distance. But you do. Sound is 320 kbs, mp3.

Many thanks to Chris, the original uploader, with whose permission this is posted here.

Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major, op 61   
Polonaise in A flat major, op 53 "Héroïque"   
24 Préludes, op 28   
Encore : Etude in A Flat Op 25 No 1
Etsuko Hirose, Piano

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  1. This cd was a very nice surprise to me. It is not comon to hear a young virtuose who is not worried to play the fastest possible. Hirose gives some very creative touches in Chopin´s music combining technique and poetry. It is a pity, though, that she makes some annoying mistakes in the end, but this kind of thing happens in live recordings.

  2. Glad you enjoyed!

    I find the slips near the end fine - you know what she intends to do, even if her fingers don't quite make it! And you have a sense, too, that she has committed every drop of her energy to this white hot performance - small wonder she is tiring!

  3. I did not know her and I have discover your blog and this recording of the Préludes.
    I just finished listening to them and had shivers a couple of time listening to them. I like my 15th with nuances but moving forward and without too much rubato and this is the one for me ! It is as well so full of power and energy.
    Sounds is quite good, I wish we would have this type of sound in studio recording, less processed, more 'direct'.
    Thank you for this excellent concert, I look forward to listen to her more.

  4. We only see Etsuko dimly here in the USA. She is unknown. But from just one hidously poor YouTube clip of her take on Chopin Op.25 No.12 I was completely stunned. Looking online now for legimate produced tracks.

  5. Try eMusic, which has her new Chopin album. Otherwise you need to try iTunes Japan!

  6. This is quite a good rendition but not perfect. She's quite good, I heard her on the 2000 Chopin piano competition in Warsaw. I remembered her great rendition of the g-minor ballade. She received a honorable mention there, but she was unable to get into the finals.