Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The XI International Chopin Piano Competition – Warsaw 1985

   Publishing sound chronicles was quite a good tradition of some festivals and competitions. It was always a chance to verify oneself the decisions of the jury, or to recheck it after days, months, even years, just to see how our ratings were connected to the mood of the moment. In some competitions the price was a chance of phonographic debut, while others were publishing chronicles day after day. One of such sets of recordings was published in 1985 during XI International Chopin Piano Competition. Seven volumes on vinyl LPs (Polskie Nagrania SX 2272-2278) even after years are a chance to observe the competitive performers and their live performances.
   It’s interesting how different are the assessments of the jury and producers of the sound chronicle. While the selection of performances was based on music critics’ choice, jury was working on statute regulations and in many points opinions were different. Triumphant of XI Competition was Russian pianist Stanislaw Bunin who won 1st Prize and two prizes for best polonaise and best performance of the concerto. 2nd Prize won Marc Laforêt (France), who won also Polish Radio Prize for best performance of Mazurkas. And the 3rd Prize won Krzysztof Jabłoński (Poland). Next prizes gone to Japanese Michie Koyama (4th), French Jean-Marc Luisada (5th), and Russian Tatyana Pikayzen (6th). The title of laureate won four pianists prized with distinction – Bulgarian Ludmil Angelov, Ilya Ivari from Tallinn, François Killian from France and Japanese Kayo Miki.
   First LP comprises four Scherzos played by Krzysztof Jabłoński (3rd prize), Yuval Fichman, Arthur Hart and Stanislaw Bunin (1st prize). Volume No. 2 comprises some nocturnes performed by Ludmil Angelov (distinction), François Killian (distinction), Rie Konishi, Roland Pontinen and etudes played by Jonathan Bass, Jean-Marc Bonn, Mototsugu Harada, Michie Koyama, Liu Yi-Fan, Noriko Ogawa, Rolf Plagge and Edward Zilberkant. The 3rd volume includes three ballades (played by Kemal Gekić, Rolf Plagge, Stanislaw Bunin) and Barcarolle F-sharp Major op.60 recorded by Krzysztof Jabłoński.

Sound Chronicle of Chopin Competition (1985)

   There’s characteristic feature of 4th volume. This is polonaises LP and among Krzysztof Jabłoński, Jean-Marc Bonn, Masahiro Saito and Kazuko Mimura the name of Stanislaw Bunin, the winner of the prize for best polonaise performance is missing. This shows that the level of competition was aligned. On 5th volume waltzes were played by Michie Koyama, Jean-Marc Luisada, Stanislaw Bunin and two sets of preludes by Stanislaw Bunin and Andrew Wilde. Volume 6th is the only one presenting exclusively one performer. It’s somehow like a consolation prize for Kemal Gekić whose performances include 4 Mazurkas Op. 30, Scherzo C-sharp Minor Op.39, Andante spianato and Great Polonaise E-flat Major Op. 22 and Nocturne B Major Op. 62 No. 1. His performances highly valued by public were probably too heavy in expression and maybe too much explicit. In some fragments his interpreting is just magic.
   The last volume consists of two short recitals of Jean-Marc Luisada (4 Mazurkas Op. 24, Fantasy F Minor Op. 49) and Krzysztof Jabłoński (3 Mazurkas Op. 59, Nocturne B Major Op. 9 No. 3 and two etudes). This shows the sound chronicle gives unique opportunity to hear some artists who were not prized. The fact one can hear their recordings almost thirty years later is quite a chance for these pianists. And the group presented here who didn’t receive any prize or distinction is impressive. There are Yuval Fichman from Canada, Liu Yi-Fan from China, Andrew Wilde from Great Britain and Roland Pontinen from Sweden. Jean-Marc Bonn from France and Rolf Plagge from Germany are presented twice. There are strong representations from Japan and USA. Japanese artists are Rie Konishi, Mototsugu Harada, Michie Koyama, Kazuko Mimura, Noriko Ogawa and Masahiro Saito. The three Americans presented here are Arthur Hart, Jonathan Bass and Edward Zilberkant. And artist featured by producers of the series who was completely omitted by jury, Kemal Gekić from Yugoslavia. He was quite a sensation and these recordings give us one more chance to judge.

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