This recital from 2006 coincides with Ingrid Fliter's receipt of the 2006 Gilmore Artist award a much coveted award based on an artist's performing life rather than an award based on a competition. The quality of the recital is ample evidence as to why Ingrid Fliter was chosen for this award. Writing in the London Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Norris described her playing in this recital as `simply spellbinding' in terms of the Chopin pieces especially.
The extensive 28 minute interview is both interesting and revealing as Ingrid describes her introduction and approach to the whole professional music world of which she is a part and this gives a very clear idea as to the various challenges that must be overcome by any solo musician of her calibre.
As regards the concert itself, the opening Haydn sonata is both rhythmical and fleet in concept with an enhanced sense of spontaneous joy in the playing. Fliter's evident `phenomenal technique' (Norris) seems to be based more on great clarity and strength of fingerwork rather than body or arm weight. This is also apparent in the Beethoven set of variations and the 18th sonata which are both played with drive and much drama with sharply defined contrasts and accenting. I personally found the Haydn and Beethoven works to be especially illuminating as regards interpretation. As to the Chopin pieces, I can only concur with Geoffrey Norris' glowing review.
The recording itself is not really of the same quality and is compromised by the `letterbox' format chosen for the imaging, which does not fill the screen, and by the limitations of a stereo only sound presentation. I personally feel that these technical considerations should have been avoided in this day and age as they inevitably fall below the normal standards expected of modern recordings.
However, the actual quality of both the imaging and the sound is perfectly adequate provided that purchasers are not bothered by such restraints. In my opinion, it would be a great shame if this musically outstanding disc was ignored for these recording considerations alone. A fair assessment would therefore seem to be 5 stars for musical content and 4 stars for the compromised recording presentation.
Overall, it must be a matter of personal preference as to whether this balances out as a 4 or 5 star final grade. For me, it still counts as a 5 star issue but with an attendant word of caution as regards the actual recording. This cautionary word has to be mentioned in a review such as this because such considerations may apply to some purchasers who will be more bothered by such things than I have been in this case.