German-Russian pianist Olga Scheps performs Frédéric Chopin's Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58. Recorded at Mosel Musikfestival, Barocksaal Kloster Machern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on August 30, 2015.
Although Chopin was essentially a miniaturist, he handled the sonata form with remarkable assurance. To a degree, his fairly hefty ballades, scherzos, and impromptus provided good preparation for writing the four movements of his third and final piano sonata, but this work's first movement, in particular, displays compositional skills that Chopin had few other opportunities to practice.
The first movement, Allegro maestoso, falls into traditional sonata form, constructed from a decisive and sometimes impulsive first theme and a more extended second theme, highly lyrical with a detailed accompanimental filigree – music that would not be out of place in Chopin's nocturnes. The musical texture thickens considerably in the central development section; Chopin devotes long passages to variants on the second subject, but much of the development is highly contrapuntal. Following the recapitulation, which again emphasizes the second subject, the movement ends with a surprisingly peaceful coda.
The very brief Scherzo, molto vivace, uses light, fleet, but finger-challenging E flat outer sections to frame a gentle and pensive trio section in B major. The ensuing slow movement, a Largo, is the heart of the sonata, conceptually as well as rhythmically. Stern but harmonically ambiguous chords lead to a delicate, nostalgic aria supported by a gentle heartbeat figure in the bass. This is soon supplanted by a long, flowing, rhapsodic section of quiet rumination. The opening theme, now with a more murmuring accompaniment, returns in more ornamented garb to escort the movement to its conclusion. The final movement, Presto, non tanto, makes a short transition from the Largo with a few swelling introductory bars that lead to the urgent, driving first theme of what turns out to be a rondo; this B minor material alternates with a contrasting, chord-launched section in the major designed to showcase the performer's agile fingerwork. Elements of both sections overlap for a grand coda.
Source: James Reel (allmusic.com)
Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
♪ Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58 (1844)
i. Allegro maestoso
ii. Scherzo: Molto vivace
iv. Finale: Presto, ma non tanto
Olga Scheps, piano
Mosel Musikfestival, Barocksaal Kloster Machern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, August 30, 2015
Olga Scheps (b. 1986, Moscow) began playing her first melodies and pieces aged just five years and learned to play the piano in the same was as she did speaking, walking and reading. In 1992, her family moved from Moscow to Germany, Olga Scheps' new home.
The pianist is fluent in German, Russian and English. At the age of 16, she became a young student at the Cologne Academy of Music, graduating in 2013 with a distinction. Prof. Pavel Gililov and her parents – also both pianists and piano teachers – are still important advisers to this day. Olga Scheps also gained other important musical impulses from Arie Vardi, Dmitri Bashkirov, Andrei Gavrilov and Alfred Brendel. During her studies, she held a scholarship from the German foundation Musikleben.
Olga Scheps gave some of her first concerts as part of the "Jugend Musiziert" (Youngsters Make Music) prize winners' concert. She was then invited to perform at several concert series and festivals, such as the Rheingau Music Festival, and all of these concerts were sensational successes. Soon after, she debuted at the Ruhr Piano Festival, which she also still regularly attends and performs at.
Since 2009, Olga Scheps has been exclusively signed to Sony Classical and has recently recorded her seventh album. This solo album, featuring works by Erik Satie, was released in may 2016 and reached the No.1 in the official charts in Germany. For her album "Chopin", Olga Scheps received the ECHO award, in the category "Young artist of the Year". All the other albums have reached the top ten in the classical charts. Olga Scheps now lives in her adopted home of Cologne, traveling from there to classical music festivals and concert series in many different countries. She performs with worldwide leading orchestras and conductors.
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