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Chamber Music and Mazurkas

Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 65
Introduction and Polonaise Brillante in C, Op. 3
Grand Duo in E KKIIb/1
Piano Trio in G minor Op. 8

Garrick Ohlsson
(piano) Carter Brey (cello)
& Leila Josefowicz (violin)

Helios - CDH55384

Leila Josefowicz draws the short stick in this selection; she sounds to be a good violinist, but in the Chopin catalogue the piano trio is a serious disappointment (in the first movement the violinist rarely moves out of first position - Jeremy Nicholas).

Nor is Carter Brey a flashy, flamboyant cellist, but his sterling integrity works on you and the account of the cello sonata is persuasive, making this chamber music disc well worth acquiring at the reduced price of Hyperion's reissue on their Helios label, and the other works for cello are enjoyable and they give plenty of scope for Ohlsson's commanding virtuosity.

Chopin: Complete Mazurkas (1)

Opp 6; 7; 17; 24; ; 30; 33; 41

Garrick Ohlsson (piano) Mason and Hamlin CC 28051 rebuilt in 1994 by William Schneider, head of piano technology at Michigan State University School of Music

Helios - CDH55391

Hyperion has re-released a full set of Ohlsson's Chopin recordings. Having some resistance to intégrales I requested only the disc of less familiar chamber music. In their wisdom, they sent for consideration also the Mazurkas (Vol 1 of two).

It is revelatory; these are, of all Chopin's music, the ones I had studied long and thoroughy at the keyboard, many of them accessible to amateurs, with the technical requirements mainly musical and rhythmic rather than virtuosic. Ohlsson's responses to even the smallest and simplest piece is riveting; marvellous control of rubato and the special convention of three-and-a-half crotchets to the bar as a rule-of-thumb guide (so I was taught) - respected subtly, not rigidly. Each one is a gem, and we couldn't stop listening, though normally I'd only take a few at a time.

I'd loved Rubinstein's recordings for decades, but this one (superbly recorded on an American instrument) takes the palm. Now I'm wishing I'd asked for the whole Ohlsson Chopin set...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Hear Ohlsson playing Prelude Op 45 on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdCObCqE7ek&feature=related
and see him despatch Scherzo No 1 in concert at