François-Frédéric Guy : Secret Garden Review
François-Frédéric Guy is releasing his firsrt recording of the music by Chopin. Secret Garden is Guy’s poetic imagination that combines fantasy and consistency in his phrasing in dialogue with his instrument’s unique and charming timbres. This recital, paying homage to the master pianists of the early twentieth century, revives an art of singing in a way that seems utterly natural, such as the clarity and fluidity of the playing. Secret Garden was recorded on a 1905 Pleyel piano, a sublime instrument restored at the workshop of Pianos Balleron.
Nocturne in B-Flat Minor, Op. 9 No. 1, opens the recording. The warm and balanced sound of the Pleyel piano greats us as Guy’s touch and use of tempo grab and keeps our attention. Guy exploits the rhythmic freedom that characterizes Chopin’s later work during the course of the performance. The play between the unbroken sequence of arpeggios in the left hand is balanced, allowing the right-hand figures’ polyrhythms to be easily heard. Guy’s fluid playing also brings out the lyrical qualities of these figures.
Étude Op. 10, No. 12 in C minor, known as the “Revolutionary Étude,” is performed with authority by Guy. His technique bring out the romantic aspects of the composition. His effortless descending runs and build to the central theme are dramatic and attention-grabbing. Guy’s legato playing of the widely distributed chords is seamless, and again he captures the cross-rhythms between the left and rich hand in a balanced and musical manner. This well-known composition will allow you to hear the subtle nuances Guy adds to the composition to bring out its development and shape.
Secret Garden is a beautiful collection of Chopin piano compositions. The program flows with moments of quiet to the aggressive expression of piano techniques. Guy’s performance is expressive and poetic. The full-bodied sonority of the Pleyel piano is a joy to hear in Guy’s hands.
January 27, 2023
La Dolce Volta