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22 April 2022
Following the acclaimed Brahms recording in 2021, Emmanuel Despax presents his sixth album with Signum Classics: Chopin Piano Concertos (chamber versions) with Chineke! Chamber Ensemble.
“Chopin’s Piano Concertos are among his first and most significant points of departure, a marked liberation from the constraints of an early but short-lived respect for custom and tradition... I would say that the excep- tional nature of this Chopin recording lies in the combination of the chamber music, quintet slimmed-down version of the Piano Concertos complemented by a pianist who plays with an almost epic size and grandeur.” - Bryce Morrison, 2021
Emmanuel Despax has gained worldwide recognition as a singular artist, whose interpretations bring a rare sincerity and imagination to the music.
Chineke! was founded in 2015 by the double bass player, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, to provide career oppor- tunities for established and up-and-coming Black and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe. The Chineke! Chamber Ensemble comprises the principal players of the Chineke! Orchestra.
Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written.
As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris.
He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a reputation as an exceptional pianist, teacher and composer.
Chopin brought a unique synthesis between the Viennese bravado and the French/English lyric style. Even though his pieces often are technically very demanding, the focus was always on creating a lyric expression and poetic atmosphere. He invented the instrumental ballade, and brought salongenres to a higher level with his many innovations and refinements.