Best Classical Music

Chopin: Etudes Op.10 and Op.25 (Fialkowska) with sheet music

Chopin: Études Op.10 and Op.25 (Fialkowska) with sheet music

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Track List


00:00​ – No.1* – Note Fialkowska’s clever decision to accelerate towards the end of the upward RH runs, creating the occasional illusion of only 3 beats in a bar and creating the sense of a single, unbroken, soaring line. 01:54​ – No.2 03:15​ – No.3 –Incredibly tender voicing, with a particularly dramatic middle section. 08:02​ – No.4 – Pleasingly clear playing. Often the No.4 is burnt to a messy cinder, but here the playing is transparent and exciting throughout.

10:02​ – No.5 – An atypically full-blooded account, with lovely legato playing, especially at moments like 10:37​. 11:44​ – No.6 – Nearly no pedal used throughout, to great effect. 16:22​ – No.7 – A notoriously hard etude to interpret effectively, but this version is pretty amazing, with unforced RH playing and perky figurations in the left. 17:51​ – No.8* – A real tour de force. The most light and legato version I’ve ever heard. Note the gorgeous pianissimo playing in the D minor section, and the textural shifts at 19:29​. 20:10​ – No.9 – Played like a real tone poem, with almost impressionistic freedom.

22:51​ – No.10 – The textural variation between the staccato and legatissimo sections is pulled off perfectly. 25:07​ – No.11 – Voicing! 28:02​ – No.12*– A ferocious and overwhelming account. Note how Fialkowska at moments like 29:32​ accents the E-flat at the peak of the LH run, which both adds drama and creates an aural overhang which prepares the sotto voce RH chords which come immediately after.


30:48​ – No.1– Beautifully muted, with judiciously retrained rubato. 34:02​ – No.2 35:40​ – No.3* – Taut, punchy, spectacular 37:26​ – No.4 – A very brisk tempo, which Fialkowska exploits fully to let the melodic line sing.

38:58​ – No.5* – Note how even in the first section Fialkowska varies the articulation of the theme hugely, from the detached 38:59​ to the fully held notes of 39:24​. 42:18​ – No.6 – Yet again an incredible tempo, but one completely in service to the music, allowing Fialkowska to generate a sleek, glittering murmuration in the RH. 44:18​ – No.7 – The climaxes are prepared and played to perfection, and the voicing is consistently flawless, with some very convincing use of rubato. 50:03​ – No.8 51:09​ – No.9

52:07​ – No.10 56:18​ – No.11*– One of the very best accounts, with a LH full of swagger and a RH full of nimble ferocity, and extremely fine dynamic control. 59:56​ – No.12* – As with the very first étude, the sense here is not of notes in succession, but a whole series of gorgeous runs, perfectly smooth and unbroken. The melody sings with utterly compelling clarity.

Janina Fialkowska

(born May 7, 1951) is a Canadian classical pianist. A specialist of the Classic and Romantic repertoires, for more than thirty years she has appeared regularly with professional orchestras around the world, often performing the music of contemporary Polish composers including Lutosławski and Panufnik.

Piano Six and Piano Plus

Janina Fialkowska was the founder and first Artistic Director of Piano Six, a not-for-profit educational outreach program dedicated to supporting classical music in small communities throughout Canada. In 1993, Fialkowska convinced five well-known Canadian classical pianists to join with her in a tour of outlying communities that rarely host internationally known musicians. In order to serve as many communities as possible, Fialkowska and the other Piano Six artists agreed to perform for a fraction of their usual fees.

During its decade of operation (1993–2003), this program sent its artists on more than 60 regional tours, reaching over 100,000 Canadians of all ages with live performances, masterclasses and teachers’ workshops. In 2004, in order to broaden the scope of its activities, the Piano Six roster was expanded to include Canadian musicians from the fields of strings and voice as well as piano. Under the banner of Piano Plus, the new program’s associated artists continue to tour in Canada each season.