on 9 June 2011
I bought this CD after hearing a recommendation from a friend. I have many version of these waltzes: Rubinstein; Lipatti; Naxos editions; and Cohort. I have to say, that these performances by Miss Ott are the best interpretations of these waltzes that I have ever heard. Her phrasing is very delicate and sensitive, whilst really getting to the heart of each piece. Interestingly that she plays with a very sensitive touch: lots of variations of mf - pp, which she claims is more true to Chopin's original style. This light playing ---together with her utterly compelling sense of line and direction--- really makes the waltzes sound like more like tone poems than mere lively dances; yet she still manages to retain that spontaneous waltz feel for each piece. Furthermore, her playing makes these pieces very intimate and less grand and noble. In fact, listening to these makes players such as Rubinstein sound like they are hammering out the works. These are really such fresh and imaginative interpretations of Chopin: they make you cling on to every phrase and nuance in the music, without an overstatement.
So, overall, a real tour de force. The only other interpreter ---to my ears--- to come as close as this is Dinu Lipatti. This is true Chopin: intimate; sensitive and heartwarming. Perfection.
The sound quality is excellent and the packaging is very good. The notes are a little weak (I'd like a little bit more of an exposition on how she interpreted the music, personally). But overall it's Miss Ott's playing here that's the important factor.
I'm looking forward to more of Miss Ott's Chopin interpretations in the future.
on 19 May 2010
I got this as a birthday present recently and it 's hardly been out of my CD-player since. I wasn't much of a fan of Chopin's waltzes before, thinking them rather inconsequential compared to his Ballades or Scerzos, for example. But Alice Sara Ott's playing is a revelation - she plays each waltz as if it's a miniature tone-poem, sculpting its profile and capturing its essence in a wholly natural way. She doesn't pull them apart like a child with a butterfly - even though she is apparently only in her early twenties!
Moreover, the recording of the piano is exactly as I like it - not too resonant but with a lovely bloom to it, so that you can relish the buoyant tones of the top and bottom of the keyboard. What I particularly appreciate about Ott's playing is the way she somehow tickles your ear, so that you just want to go on listening to the end of the CD: that's quite a lot of waltzes at one sitting!