Chopin Études Jan Lisiecki

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  • 12 Etudes, Op.10
  • 1No.1 In C02:04
  • 2No.2 In A Minor01:30
  • 3No.3 In E03:54
  • 4No.4 In C Sharp Minor02:11
  • 5No.5 In G Flat01:41
  • 6No.6 In E Flat Minor03:16
  • 7No.7 In C01:37
  • 8No.8 In F02:33
  • 9No.9 In F Minor02:04
  • 10No.10 In A Flat02:17
  • 11No.11 In E Flat02:37
  • 12No.12 In C Minor02:46
  • 12 Etudes, Op.25
  • 13No.1 In A Flat02:25
  • 14No.2 In F Minor01:27
  • 15No.3 In F01:58
  • 16No.4 In A Minor01:52
  • 17No.5 In E Minor03:25
  • 18No.6 In G Sharp Minor02:07
  • 19No.7 In C Sharp Minor05:57
  • 20No.8 In D Flat01:07
  • 21No.9 In G Flat00:56
  • 22No.10 In B Minor03:51
  • 23No.11 In A Minor03:38
  • 24No.12 In C Minor02:51
  • Total Runtime01:00:04

Info for Chopin Études

The music of Chopin has been significant in Jan Lisiecki’s life ever since he was seven, when his piano teacher gave him some exercises to improve his technique. But technique has never interested Jan: “I looked at those exercises, and told my teacher that there wasn’t any music in them. So instead I was given Chopin’s slow and lyrical Étude Op. 10 No. 3. As it was a photocopy on green paper, it became for me the Green Étude.” Jan’s relationship with Chopin deepened when, at 13, he was invited to play the F minor concerto at the Chopin i Jego Europa (Chopin and his Europe) festival in Warsaw, followed by the E minor concerto the year after. “These are works I could play in the middle of the night and feel extremely comfortable with – every note has its place,” he says. On New Year’s Day in 2010 Jan cemented the relationship by opening the composer’s 200th anniversary celebrations at Chopin’s birthplace in ¯elazowa Wola.

Lisiecki likes to quote Chopin’s instructions to his students: “Every single note had to sing; and after all the work, the goal should be simplicity – because, for Chopin, that was the crowning reward of art. Those two remarks reflect the essence of his music – pure beauty. That’s why I love Chopin’s works.” Does Jan also follow Chopin’s advice to practise at night in the dark? No: he practises in the early morning: “I like seeing the sun rise. The tranquility at dawn has a different quality than the quiet of the evening.”

Jan’s aim with the Études might sound like a truism, but it’s not without significance. “Beauty and music, and not technical difficulty, were the most essential elects to portray in these Études.” Lisiecki’s method of recording, however, is unusual here. Disliking “patching”, he recorded each piece in complete takes. Moreover, before recording, Jan warmed up by playing something else from his repertoire – a Bach Goldberg variation before Op. 25 No. 1, for example, and before others, some pieces by Messiaen: “That would change the mood, in the same way as a different piece would in a live performance. When you’re buying a perfume, the aroma of coffee in-between enables you to appreciate the next fragrance freshly. I like the studio and its possibilities, but for me the music still needs to be infused by the spirit of a concert. After playing an étude many times, there was the opportunity to choose the take which embodied the most music, and not just virtuosity.”

Lisiecki’s tempi for the fast pieces can be relatively gentle, and he contrives to give the impression of always conversing with the listener, reflecting his view that each piece should tell a story. But not necessarily one that can be verbalized: “The Étude Op. 10 No. 12 is commonly known as the ‘Revolutionary’ Étude, but that’s not how I see it. For me it indicates a pain which words cannot describe – something which comes from deep inside, about disagreement, about a real anger, posing the question ‘How can I come to terms with this?’ I don’t have a literal story for every étude, but the collection as a whole is like a book in which each piece is a chapter. Each tells its own story, but there’s a bigger narrative overarching everything.”

Finally, how Polish does Jan feel? “I was born in Canada, and I’ve lived there all my life, but most Canadians bring with them the culture and heritage from their home-country, and so do I.” How Polish is Chopin’s music? “Quintessentially Polish: all his music expresses a longing for Poland, for its dances and for its countryside. At the same time, the music of Chopin communicates intimately with all audiences worldwide.” (Michael Church)

Jan Lisiecki, piano

Jan Lisiecki
The Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki was born in Calgary to Polish parents in 1995. After gradu-ating from high school there in January 2011, he attended the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto. Now recognized around the world for his poetic and mature playing, Jan has received several awards, among others as a 2010 Révélation Radio-Canada Musique and a 2011 Jeune Soliste des Radios Francophones. In 2010, the Fryderyk Chopin Institute released his live recordings of both Chopin concertos with Sinfonia Varsovia and Howard Shelley. This album was awarded the Diapason découverte. Diapason described him as “an unmannered virtuoso” and singled out for praise his “irresistibly natural playing”.

Jan has shared the stage with such renowned artists as Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Pinchas Zukerman and substituted for Nelson Freire in four concerts in France. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York, opened the Seoul International Music Festival in Korea and performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and an audience of 100,000 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Also a dedicated performer of chamber music, Jan has collaborated with the New Zealand String Quartet, Quatuor Ébène and the Penderecki String Quartet, appearing at festivals including Ravinia, Verbier, Montpellier, La Roque d’Anthéron, Warsaw (“Chopin and His Europe”), Bologna, Auvers-sur-Oise, Menton, Merano, Seoul and many others in Canada and the USA. Among the highlights of Jan Lisiecki’s 2011/12 season were the opening concert of the Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Järvi at Salle Pleyel and concerts in Montreal with the Orchestre Métropolitain under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, debuts with the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican, as well as a European recital tour. On his Japan tour in the autumn, he appeared in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Later in 2012 he made his debuts with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Antonio Pappano and with the New York Philharmonic under Daniel Harding.

In March 2013, Lisiecki substituted at short notice for Martha Argerich in a Bologna concert under Claudio Abbado. Further engagements in 2013/14 include a Japan tour with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Nézet-Séguin, Mozart concertos with Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center, a German tour with the Prague Philharmonia and Jakob Hrusa and concerts with Hrusa and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, concerts with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreál under Kazushi Ono and with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra under Krysztof Urbański, a European recital tour including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rome’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Berlin Philharmonie, as well as other European and North American recital and orchestral engagements and festival appearances including Verbier, Vail, Schleswig-Holstein and Warsaw (Chopin).

Lisiecki’s performances have been broadcast on Bavarian Radio, BBC Radio, CBC Canada, Austrian Radio, Radio France and Radio Luxembourg, as well as on television on France 3 and TV 1 and 2 in Poland. He was featured in the CBC Next! series as one of Canada’s most promising young artists and in The Reluctant Prodigy, Joe Schlesinger’s 2009 CBC National News documentary about him.

Jan Lisiecki performs frequently for various charity organizations, including the David Foster Foundation, the Polish Humanitarian Organization and the Wish Upon a Star Foundation. In June 2008 he was appointed a National Youth Representative by UNICEF Canada.

In 2011 Jan Lisiecki signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first recording under this agreement, released in April 2012, features Mozart’s Piano Concertos K.466 and 467 with Christian Zacharias conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. A CD containing his performances of the complete Chopin Etudes Opp. 10 and 25, will be issued in April 2013.

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