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  Bayer Records -
  BR 100 348
  Chopin: Ballades, Fantasie Op. 49 etc. - Burkard Schliessmann
  Chopin: Ballades Nos. 1-4, Fantaisie in F minor Op. 49, Barcarolle in F sharp major Op. 60, Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major Op. 61

Burkard Schliessmann (piano)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 3

Reviews: 3

Site review by Adrian Cue March 5, 2010
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by beardawgs April 28, 2004 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Schliessmann’s overindulgent and pretentious ‘understanding’ of some of the most intimate and passionate Chopin’s music is obvious just after a few opening bars of the ballade no. 1. I presume that he is trying to tell us something new, but he either doesn’t know what he wants to say or, more likely, has nothing to say. Treating Chopin’s ballades as narrative pieces is a perfectly legitimate approach, but it is also the most difficult task any pianist can face. It requires not just a complete musical understanding of the work, but also an intellectual superiority and of course some kind of story that will keep his listeners excited. I couldn’t hear any of those.

BS is slow. Too slow. His pauses are not an expressive tool, they sound like misjudgements during the editing process. His tone is rough, his playing colourless and he is all but agile in the fast sections. As if he’s playing with stiff fingers. But the most annoying feature of his pianism are the interruptions of musical flow. He inserts the pauses deliberately, cutting the phrase in the middle while applying his own dynamics (particularly bad in Ballades no.1 and 2). In the process he is creating something that is not Chopin I’ve ever heard before. There is no musical unity here, just one episode after another. At least if he could be consistent in his butchering, some episodes are elaborately expansive, but most of the time he doesn’t know what to do and just leaves the music as it is, without any meaning.

The Ballade no. 4 could be a good example for plethora of his misjudgements and affectations: he completely ignores the tolling bells at the very beginning and the main subject enters like a separate piece. Then he continues repeating it without any expressiveness, adding his ubiquitous breaks now and then, just to add some ‘interpretation’. The build up doesn’t sing, just grows up dynamically with some unbalanced forte playing. Soul-searching middle section is piling up of different musical ideas and motives… no passion, no excitement and definitely none of the self-promoted intellectualism. The final fury of virtuosity is inconsistently and not very accurately rushed through.

This disc is a complete fiasco. BS might be well informed musicologist, but I’m far from convinced about his pianistic credentials. The recording is acceptable, but nothing more than that and a bit too close for my taste. In MC it sounds like stereo, there’s not much space or hall acoustics coming from nowhere. It’s good to see an obscure German label going SACD but they should provide more good music and fewer affectations next time

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Review by Leonarda June 29, 2004 (1 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Burkard Schliessmann performs these works with complete mastery. As a pianist with a multifaceted background, Schliessmann observes the thoughtful construction of Chopin’s style and interprets it in marvellous ways.

He is conscious of the rich modulations of the works’ harmony and their structure and from these he takes his lead. A fine example is the F minor Fantasia, op. 49, one of the most formally perfect examples of Romantic music for the piano.

Schliessmann has an outstanding touch. A brilliant technician, he knows no pianistic difficulties. And yet with a highly sensitive soul, his own emotionality allows him to recreate perfectly the works’ emotional impulses. In this way Burkard Schliessmann is able to reproduce the magical poetic tonality of Chopin’s works, breathing new life into the compositions and casting upon them his own deeply-felt imprint.

Schliessmann has a sure instinct for melodic form and internal coherence. As a result, neither line nor coherence is ever interrupted. It is as if his breaks form an inaudible yet clear tangible link, as is the case with the Ballad in G minor, op.23, for example.

In op. 23, for example, the lyrical passages are played with great subtlety, the cascading runs with sensitivity and yet with absolute clarity.

Even his virtuosity is fused with deep emotion, so that here too the melodic lines are clearly audible and never lose their sharpness. Take, for example, the rapid passages in the central section of the A flat major Ballad, op.47.

This unusual clarity of tone, paired with the controlled sonority of the playing, was equally a fascination to me in the Ballads, op.23 and op.38.

The gentle rocking motion, a backdrop upon which the softly flowing melodic line develops, is perfectly captured in the Barcarolle, op.60.

To experience the poetic virtuosity of Burkard Schliessmann’s pianistic art is deeply satisfying.

What characterises Burkard Schliessmann’s recording of the works of Chopin are great emotionality combined with outstanding mastery of the instrument and a profound knowledge of the music.

(Reviewed in MC)

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Works: 7  

Frederic Chopin - Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23
Frederic Chopin - Ballade No. 2 in A minor, Op. 38
Frederic Chopin - Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47
Frederic Chopin - Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
Frederic Chopin - Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Frederic Chopin - Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49
Frederic Chopin - Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major, Op. 61