François Chaplin – Chopin – Nocturnes (2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:50:54 minutes | 1,64 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Linn Records
…François Chaplin was noticed by the critics and the audience with a complete recording of Debussy’s piano pieces released by Arion between 2000 & 2005 “With what is needed of distance, distinction and of calm ecstasy for the essentially aristocratic art of Claude de France… a complete recording which will mark the recent debussy discography.” Gilles Macassar Télérama 2005
After a Chopin recording Ballades, Barcarolle et Berceuse released in 2007, here is the complete set of Nocturnes, inovative and lyrical pieces which made Chopin famous. To record theses passionate, tender, delicate pieces where inner life develops dreams and infinite impulses, François Chaplin chose a Grand piano de concert Yamaha which enabled him to shape his own sounds. “I wanted to express myself freely in these confessions which are the nocturnes.” A new order for Chopin’s Nocturne: “Between the two poles constituted by the op.48 set, with its dramatic Nocturne no.1 in C minor, and the two Nocturnes op.62, where the accommodation of the bel canto spirit to the keyboard reaches a fabulous peak, I have taken account of the moods and keys of the pieces in devising an arrangement which has no other aim than to emphasise the diversity and modernity of the nocturnes. With their lyricism and drama, their intimate confessions and capricious outbursts, they contain Chopin’s entire soul.”
François Chaplin is a pianist who is new to me, although he has been recording for more than a decade. He is a professor at the Conservatoire de Rayonnement Régional in Versailles. His most prominent teacher was the estimable Jean-Claude Pennetier. Chaplin won prizes in two prominent piano competitions, but there has been no breakthrough event along his path leading to a major career. Read more
Chaplin possesses a rich, full tone, which he deploys with a great deal of subtlety. On the surface, his readings of the nocturnes remind me of Claudio Arrau’s in their tonal sumptuousness. This aspect of the recording is enhanced by the use of a beautiful Yamaha piano, spaciously recorded in a Paris church. The Yamaha produces a gorgeous tonal blend throughout its frequency range, captured truthfully by the recorded sound. Chaplin’s feeling for the architecture of the nocturnes is profound. In the ternary pieces, one never has the sense that any section is out of proportion to the others. Here is highly sophisticated playing, yet the overall interpretive effect is to produce readings that are central in the works’ performance traditions. Nothing exotic happens, yet to paraphrase Charles Rosen, Chaplin accomplishes everything while appearing not to do anything remarkable at all.
Chaplin has decided not to play the nocturnes in their published order. He keeps sets of the nocturnes together by opus number, but otherwise he arranges them, in his words, “to emphasize the diversity and modernity of the nocturnes.” I find his ordering highly successful. Chaplin starts with op. 48/1, choosing a slow and stately tempo for the beginning with a pronounced bass. The B section has suitable grandeur. In op. 15/1, Chaplin’s pedaling gives the A section an angelic quality. For op. 15/3, he employs subtle hesitations in his phrasing of the opening melody, giving it the rhythmic feel of a mazurka. Op. 27/2 receives a ravishing, inward performance. The darkness of the three posthumous nocturnes is mirrored in Chaplin’s tonal shadings. Op. 32/2, as befits a selection from Les Sylphides , comes off as an ethereal yet passionate dance.
op. 55/2 has a harp-like accompaniment in the left hand, accentuated tonally by a judicious use of pedal. Op. 37/1 has an unusually Polish aura, especially in the handling of its ornamentation. The delicacy in the performance of op. 9/1 reminds me of Guiomar Novaes’s interpretation. The program ends with op. 62, presumably Chopin’s last nocturnes. Here, in Chaplin’s words, “the accommodation of the bel canto spirit to the keyboard reaches a fabulous peak.” Indeed, op. 62/1 unfolds in large part like a long aria. Op. 62/2 has an almost orchestral variety of color.
I found this recording improved in power and nuance on each repeated hearing. With sets of the nocturnes available from such great figures as Rubinstein and Arrau, it may seem presumptuous to recommend a set by someone with the comparatively low profile of François Chaplin. Yet I think I honestly can say that I rarely have enjoyed these pieces so much, while the sound engineering is something to rejoice in. Clearly we need to hear more from François Chaplin, so compelling is his artistry.
1. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.48 à Mademoiselle Laude Duperré N°1 (06:13)
2. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.48 à Mademoiselle Laude Duperré N°2 (06:31)
3. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.15 à Monsieur F. Hiller N°1 (04:31)
4. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.15 à Monsieur F. Hiller N°2 (03:20)
5. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.15 à Monsieur F. Hiller N°3 (04:46)
6. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.27 à la comtesse d’Appony N°1 (05:11)
7. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.27 à la comtesse d’Appony N°2 (06:09)
8. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.20 en ut dièse mineur (04:09)
9. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.32 à la baronne de Billing N°1 (04:55)
10. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.32 à la baronne de Billing N°2 (05:52)
11. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.55 à Mademoiselle J.W.Stirling N°1 (04:43)
12. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.55 à Mademoiselle J.W.Stirling N°2 (04:58)
13. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.37 N°1 (05:43)
14. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.37 N°2 (05:25)
15. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.9 à Madame Camille Pleyel N°1 (06:22)
16. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.9 à Madame Camille Pleyel N°2 (04:15)
17. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.9 à Madame Camille Pleyel N°3 (06:37)
18. François Chaplin – Nocturne op. posthume N°19 op.72 n°1 en mi mineur (04:37)
19. François Chaplin – Nocturne op. posthume en do mineur (02:51)
20. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.62 à Mademoiselle R. de Könneritz N°1 (07:38)
21. François Chaplin – Nocturne op.62 à Mademoiselle R. de Könneritz N°2 (05:58)