SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
CHOPIN: Complete Nocturnes – Gergely Boganyi, piano – Stockfisch
Published on August 22, 2008
CHOPIN: Complete Nocturnes – Gergely Boganyi, piano – Stockfisch stereo-only SACD SFR 357.4051.2, (2 discs) 112:03 ***:
I wish I could be more positive about this recording; complete performances of the Nocturnes are becoming a rarity, and it is always nice to see a new one. But Mr. Boganyi (winner of the 1996 Franz Liszt Competition in Budapest, and a performer of the complete piano works of Chopin in both Hungary and Finland in 2001-02) pulls at the music like taffy—his rubato simply stretches the phrasing out of all proportion, and if this music was transferred to speech it would be a very difficult conversation indeed.
There are some fine moments—a pianist of this caliber cannot avoid them—such as his rather delicate touch and delightful ability to subordinate the internal harmonies in a way that truly allows Chopin’s melodies to sing. Perhaps if I had heard this during the height of the romantic era it would not bother me so much, this tossing of Chopin’s ship around the waves. But I also think Chopin probably did not play his own music in this manner.
Listening to my long-time favorite, by Maria Joao Pires on DGG shows what is missing—a superb clarity of line and harmony, and most importantly no loss of forward thrust and motion. DGG’s sound is rather bass-thin and listless compared to this new release, but even the “Direct Cut Super Audio CD” process that starts with the signal being captured in analog before transferred to DSD in their SADiE system and put directly onto glass SACD master, seems artificial to me. The bass is definitely present, but is so strong that I could swear I was hearing a string bass reinforcing the sound. It certainly is palpable, but also sounds nothing like any live piano I have heard. And I am not sure why they stuck to stereo-only. [Probably thinking of the coterie of two-channel-diehards who own one of the several very-high-end stereo-only SACD players...Ed.]
So, interesting, but not quite up to the best interpretative prowess already available.
– Steven Ritter