5 de Diapason -
Choc de Classica
This release, issued to mark the 75th birthday of the great pianist Nelson Freire in 2019, is hardly a typical album of encores. A good deal of it is devoted to a single composer, Edvard Grieg. Other composers are represented by multiple works, and there are substantial pieces like the Rachmaninov Prelude in B minor, Op. 32, No. 10, that would not fill the role of encore well. You might take the word "encore" in another way, though: to mean things reprised. Many of these pieces are ones Freire knows well, has played many times, and has explored at a truly breathtaking level of detail. The Grieg Lyric Pieces are not virtuoso works, and indeed are often played by amateurs, but you haven't heard them played like Freire plays them, with each one a little study in phrasing and register. You could sample almost anywhere here, but try the first of the Shostakovich Fantastic Dances, Op. 5, which has an entrancing subtlety from the very first notes. Freire, a famed virtuoso, mostly avoids showpieces here, but, as if to say he hasn't lost the ability, he does drop some in. The album is, then, an encore to Freire's remarkable career, which isn't over yet.