Leonskaja's Berlin 1995 realizations of the polonaises effect a major contribution to the postmodern Chopin discography.
Here await great discoveries for enthusiasts.
Leonskaja offers marvellous piano keyboard technique with visionary insight resulting in highly original and compelling interpretations captured in fine recorded sound.
The encomium of Leonskaja's technique consists of a tight, uniform, and controlled measure of dureé (psychic timing)--both fast and slow--which is expressed with an extremely precise keyboard touché.
Leonskaja has an innate pure clear vision of the overarching architecture of these grandiose works which she lucidly explicates in their sectional subdivisions--(`rooms' as it were)--in a most delicious manner: her taste and execution are impeccable.
For example, though most of these pieces are marked `maestoso' or `con brio', Leonskaja has the aesthetic judgment, integrity, and artistic courage to understand them anew in exquisitely subtile ways: her style and suavity are absolutely beautiful.
Just for example, comparative timings of some favourite performances:
Polonaise in c-minor, Op. 40, No. 2:
07'08 Berman (1979)
06'36 Cherkassky (1968)
08'49 Katsaris (1993)
08'31 Leonskaja (1995)
Polonaise in f#-minor, Op. 44
10'25 Berman (1979)
10'35 Cherkassky (1968)
09'40 Katsaris (1993)
11'43 Leonskaja (1995)
Polonaise-Fantasie in Ab-major, Op. 61
12'11 Cherkassky (1968)
12'36 Katsaris (1993)
14'04 Leonskaja (1995)
11'55 Richter (1972)
14'03 Pires (2008)
11'33 Kempff (1958)
12'54 Arrau (1984)