Monday, August 27, 2012

Mihaela Ursuleasa in Memoriam II - Schumann and Chopin

No sooner had I posted my little tribute to Miheala Ursuleasa than Boom – who else? – posted me a link to a beautifully recorded solo recital. Here she is playing the entire Opus 25 Chopin études, the Schumann Fantasiestücke Opus 12, and a clutch of Chopin mazurkas and nocturnes. In other words, an invaluable addition to that slender recorded legacy.
A thoughtful, sometimes wistful lyricism predominates in the Chopin studies. Book II is less overtly technical in its conception of a study than book I, but Ursuleasa seems to be almost intent on keeping technical issues sidelined. The playing keeps somehow throwing up details that suggest to me that she was still working through her vision of the music. Some are quite arresting – listen, for example, to what happens in the dying moments of the final chord of the twelfth study (c minor)! Quite a Schumannesque touch. But what appeals to me is the sense of work in progress – quite a polar opposite to the demand for note-perfect, nuance-perfect performance required to win competitions. 

This strikes me as being closer to the Japanese ideal of Wabi-sabi (佗寂) – that  beauty is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". Being able to leave aside the demand for perfection and completeness right now gives us room to explore, to be wrong, to learn. 

Schumann : Fantasiestucke Op.12
Chopin: Etudes Op.25 (complete), 
Three mazurkas Op.59, 
Nocturnes (selection)
Mihaela Ursuleasa
August 20, 2010
Lutowslawski Concert Hall
Polish Radio, Warsaw
256 kbs mp3 (no re-encoding)

Download from Rapidshare


  1. Please recording for us:,Rusza-47-Wratislavia-Cantans-Znow-kroluje-Bach

  2. Interested in a TV rip from Mihaela Ursuleasa playing Schumann op. 54?

    1. I still need some time but it isn't forgotten!

  3. Just to say thank you for this recital; I've never really been able to stay focused through any of Schumann's cycles, but this one kept me interested much longer than most. I may even have to re-evaluate the music! The Chopin Mazurkas and (especially) the Nocturnes were wonderful. The music really has personality, rare enough these days it seems!

    1. I should just add, having been back to the Etudes several times since writing the above - wow, that's a really lovely performance! Delicate, graceful, thoughtful; with little explosions of energy & power when needed; and as you say not at all 'technical', it's always about making music. Once or twice I thought maybe a bit too much power, it almost got out of control; but this is a set I will happily live with for a long while! Thanks again, to you & Boom!

  4. Thank you for this. I got to hear her play twice in the States and though, what an enormous talent. And then, just like that, she was gone. Having these is small comfort, but some comfort nonetheless.
    Unfortunately, the final track (the last two Schumann Fantasiestucke) has become corrupted and will not decompress from the .rar file. But I expect to replay the Chopin often.