ND 010LP ND 010LP

Following up on his Night Dreamer debut, accomplished pianist Nicolas van Poucke returns with a recording of the works of Chopin. Originally entering the studio with the intention of recording the Chopin pieces, van Poucke's technical skill and emotional depth resulted in producing two direct-to-disc recordings, the other being a Beethoven record released in 2022 on Night Dreamer. Although an unusual method of recording for this style of music, the one-take process was met by van Poucke head-on, balancing the fine lines of emotion and detail, and following in the footsteps of the greats who once recorded in this way. Van Poucke says: "[Chopin]'s music has long held a special place in my heart and remains central to my repertoire. A towering figure in the history of piano music, Chopin's genius has left an indelible mark on the world of pianism. His Etudes Opus 10 were a seminal moment in the development of the art of the piano and are studied by every serious pianist at some point in their development. This new album features a selection of Chopin's works that showcase his mastery in various forms... [H]is skills as a master of the small form are evident in such pieces as the haunting Nocturne Opus 32 No. 1, four Mazurkas Opus 33, the mysterious and harmonically daring Prelude Opus 45, and three Waltzes Opus 64, including the celebrated 'Minute' Waltz, the equally renowned 'Waltz' in C-sharp minor, and my personal favorite, the 'Waltz' in A-flat major." The album also features two of Chopin's larger works, the Polonaise in Fsharp minor Opus 44, a dark and volatile composition that stands as one of his most energetic pieces. Its bold and defiant main theme, as Franz Liszt once noted, is like 'the repeated roar of artillery, as if we caught the sounds from some dread battle waging in the distance'... A charming and innocent idyllic Mazurka is inserted in the middle of the piece, infused with the sweet perfume of lavender and marjoram... The other larger work on the album is the Ballade in G minor Opus 23, a composition that I deeply adore for its narrative power and dramatic sweep. As the final piece on the album, it is a fitting and dramatic conclusion to this collection of Chopin's works."