Ingrid Fliter - Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Chopin: Piano Concertos - The Telegraph

Ingrid Fliter was born to play Chopin with power and passion and is completely at one with the music's demands of agility, vim and vigour, says Geoffrey Norris

Ingrid Fliter, the young Argentine pianist, was born to play Chopin, of whose music she has already released two outstanding CDs for EMI. She will be including the 24 Preludes Op 28 in her Wigmore Hall recital (together with Schubert's A major Sonata D959) on June 4, and on this new Linn disc with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra she gives truly wondrous performances of the two piano concertos. The first thing to catch the ear, however, is Jun Märkl's inspired way of dealing with Chopin's much-maligned orchestration.

A chamber ensemble of the calibre and responsiveness of the SCO is the ideal medium in which to appreciate the fact that there is a good deal more subtlety of colour and texture to Chopin's scoring than is generally acknowledged. Märkl, without overemphasising the point, tellingly touches in the timbres of horns and woodwind, at the same time giving the string lines shapely contours together with an enlivening spectrum of dynamics and firmly articulated accents. This lends the orchestral part far more than a mere supporting role and makes it a purposeful contributor to the overall effect.

Then there is Fliter's playing, and what a pure joy it is. Power, delicacy, refinement and passion are all there in these two concertos. Chopin wrote them in reverse order to the way in which they were published, so that the F minor No 2 was actually composed before the E minor No 1. Be that as it may, both combine the serenity of his nocturnes with the scintillating gleam of the études, the mercurial drama of the scherzos and the narrative span of the ballades, not to mention the tang of Polish dance types that Chopin embodied in his polonaises, mazurkas and krakowiaks. Fliter has a natural, utterly compelling feel and flair for this music, its suppleness of pulse, its glow, its sparkle, its touching fragility and its forceful impetus.

Her playing flows artlessly, with pliability and shading that stem from deep within the expressive requirements of the music rather than from any artificially imposed interpretative ideas. Her lyricism is exquisite, her piano tone luminous.

When it comes to the pyrotechnics, she is not only completely at one with the demands of agility, vim and vigour but also possesses the essential quality of impeccable taste to preserve the music's poetic perspective. In all respects, a remarkable disc.

The Telegraph
21 March 2014