Thursday, 31 May 2018

CD Review (The Straits Times, May 2018)

CHOPIN The Complete Preludes
MusicShaun / *****

With this self-produced and self-recorded album, young pianist Shaun Choo became only the second Singaporean (after Azariah Tan) to record an all-Chopin disc. First prize-winner of the Asia-Pacific International Chopin Competition in Daegu, South Korea in 2012, his programme closely follows that of the debut Deutsche Grammophon album of Seong-Jin Cho, 1st prize-winner of the 2015 Chopin International Piano Competition.

The main work is the complete set of 24 Préludes (Op.28). Having mastered it during his teenaged years, Choo finds a wealth of nuances and kaleidoscopic responses in this seemingly disparate set of miniatures. There is also a narrative sweep that is all-absorbing and impossible to put down. Instead of the Funeral March Sonata in Cho's recording, Choo has the scintillating Grande Valse Brillante in E flat major (Op.18), which combines elegance with exuberance.

The programme is completed by the brooding Nocturne in C minor (Op.48 No.1) and the very familiar “Heroic” Polonaise in A flat major (Op.53), performed with passion and polish. Presently a postgraduate student at the Salzburg Mozarteum, Choo is a compelling home-grown artist destined for even bigger things.

This disc is available at and online/streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer.       

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