Richard-Hamelin and Nagano excel in Chopin’s Piano Concertos

Chopin: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Charles Richard-Hamelin (piano), Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano (conductor)

Charles Richard-Hamelin is a young Canadian pianist who was born in Quebec. In 2015, he competed in the XVII International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he received not only the second prize but also the Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best sonata performance. This led to Richard-Hamelin touring throughout Canada performing works by Chopin and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute subsequently released a 2 CD set containing his audition performances for the contest.

On this current Analekta release we have Richard-Hamelin performing both of Chopin’s piano concertos, recorded live in the new Maison Symphonique in Montreal, with Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. These are Chopin performances not to be missed. Richard-Hamelin follows Chopin’s markings with great precision whilst showing a clear grasp of the overall architecture of the works. At no stage does one feel that one is listening to an exhibition of pianism but rather to a refined performance of great originality. He is superbly accompanied by Kent Nagano and the orchestra whose playing manages to dispel any doubts regarding the quality of Chopin’s orchestration. The recording concludes with an encore piece, Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. post. All of this has been captured, by the Analekta engineers, in sound quality that enables you to fully appreciate these beautiful performances. These will not replace Martha Argerich’s performances with the same orchestra under Charles Dutoit (see Work No. 83 in our collection) but I shall return to them frequently and I suspect that many Chopin lovers will wish to add this release to their collection no matter if they have a number of recordings in their collection already.

This release comes complete with a useful booklet containing notes¹, by Florence Brassard, on the two works  together with helpful notes about the soloist, orchestra and conductor and a full listing of the members of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

iClassical rating: (revised rating)

¹ Our download was originally supplied without a booklet and this is being investigated by the sales and marketing team at Analekta.