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Chopin, Woyke: Braiding Chopin - Woyke

Chopin, Woyke: Braiding Chopin - Woyke

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 258

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Chopin: Scherzo No. 1, Fantasy-Impromptu, Polonaise No. 1, Mazurka Op. 24 No. 2, Ballade No. 1
Woyke: Confidence One, Tides of the Black Sea, Soundtrack for a Love Scene, Autumn Colors, Raga Brahmanda

Andreas Woyke (piano)

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Review by Adrian Quanjer - September 28, 2018

The idea behind ‘Braiding Chopin’ is, according to Andreas Woyke in his personal notes, “to weave classical piano works with my own jazz-infused composition into a braid of sorts”. It is an interesting one, but it risks developing into an unhappy marriage.

The idea of combining jazz elements with classical music is, as such, not new. Jacques Loussier’s recording Jacques Loussier - Impressions of Chopin's Nocturnes is an example of how to jazzyfy Chopin. Another, lesser known example comes from Peter Breiner and the Philharmonia Cassovia, conducted by Otakar Thrlik (released by NHN International in the former Dillons Bookstores Classics series) where Brainer surprises by playing jazz cadenzas in Mozart’s 20th piano concerto, using, according to standard practice, material from the movement in question. A copy is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naT4jv45SZU

Woyke’s approach is different in that he juxtaposes classical and ‘jazz-infused’ material. He tells us that he has taken inspiration from Friedrich Gulda’s concerts, alternating music from the two sides. “Ideally it will deliver a trance comparable with deep meditation of a hypnotic state in which you feel free of the limitations of self, and in perfect connection with the universe”.

Whatever the spiritual stance in these things, which we, as lovers of art, ought to respect, Woyke shows himself to be a competent pianist. His Chopin will surely please many audiences. And he is also an accomplished improviser / composer, which will charm a possibly different audience. However, putting the two together may not only create the effect as mentioned above, but also enable listeners to compare brain-childs of totally different artistic value. One may wonder to what extent such a marriage can and will be stable and durable. The risk is that those who like Chopin may not necessary like Woyke’s own, in my view not so very jazz-infused material, and vice versa.

In spite of these remarks, I’m sure that even beyond the many crowd funders and supporting organizations, exploratory minds may love the idea and will want to prospect the result as presented in this release. The more so because the warm sound of the Bösendorfer grand piano is so marvelously captured by Manfred Schumacher of the ARS production team.

Blangy-le-Château,
Normandy, France

Copyright © 2018 Adrian Quanjer and HRAudio.net

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