Pianist Felicja Blumental explores the vibrant repertoire of Karol Szymanowski (who taught the young Blumental composition) and fellow Pole Fryderyk Chopin, whose music was a fundamental part of Felicja Blumental’s recording career which brought her great acclaim.
That the music of Chopin played a fundamental part in the recording studio and concert platform for Felicja Blumental should barely come as a surprise. As a fellow Pole, and a student at the National Conservatory, she was steeped in the music of her native land through her piano teachers Zbigniew Drzewiecki, Joseph Goldberg and Stefan Askenase, later bolstering these studies with the noted Chopin expert Józef Turczynski. The only other stellar Polish composer missing from this list is Karol Szymanowski, who taught the young Blumental composition.
Frédéric Chopin is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic piano tradition. He was a master in making the small form great. His ballades, mazurkas, polonaises, preludes, etudes and nocturnes all belong to the most popular standard works for piano ever written.
As a child prodigy, Chopin grew up in a middle class family, who lived among the literati of Warsaw. When in 1830 the November Uprising broke out in Poland, the twenty year old Chopin stayed in Vienna. He became an exile and never returned to his mother country. He eventually settled in Paris.
He avoided public concerts, but he did like performing in small settings, such as salons and at home for his friends. This way, Chopin built a reputation as an exceptional pianist, teacher and composer.
Chopin brought a unique synthesis between the Viennese bravado and the French/English lyric style. Even though his pieces often are technically very demanding, the focus was always on creating a lyric expression and poetic atmosphere. He invented the instrumental ballade, and brought salongenres to a higher level with his many innovations and refinements.