Fryderyk Chopin, CHOPIN: Piano Sonatas Nos 1-3

Dawn Chan

By Dawn Chan

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Chopin might be best known for his dessert-like works — short and sweet — but his sonatas, especially the morbid no. 2 and the stately no. 3, are his truly weighty compositions. Sonata no. 2's Funeral March, also known as the Star Wars imperial march theme, is followed by a startlingly experimental final moment that's entirely impossible to hum and so brief that, upon first listen, it sounds like a postscript. Idil Biret — one of Naxos 'more prolific pianists — plows through this movement with muddy, brutal speed. I was surprised to come around to her interpretive choice; she conjures the musical equivalent of a brief film epilogue, in which winds howl indifferently over a newly dug grave.