British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has announced his new album Chopin Piano Concertos, featuring Chopin’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, will be released on 21 February 2020. “It’s the kind of disc that makes you rethink these works and appreciate them all over again,” noted Gramophone. Recorded with Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) Benjamin Grosvenor’s Chopin Piano Concertos follows the hugely successful Homages in 2016 and is his first orchestral album since 2012.
“Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection as a child.”
Chopin’s piano concertos have been an active part of Benjamin Grosvenor’s repertoire since his early teens. Grosvenor explained, “Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection as a child. I have always been drawn to his music, and his piano concertos are among some of the finest in the repertoire.”
Benjamin Grosvenor’s Chopin Piano Concertos came to fruition following a successful performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Elim Chan and the RSNO in 2018. Grosvenor noted, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Elim and the outstanding musicians of the RSNO.” In spring 2020 Benjamin Grosvenor will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in the USA, Europe and the UK.
Chopin’s Piano Concertos
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, Op.21, written in 1829, and Piano Concerto No.1, Op.11, completed the following year, were written before the composer had turned 21, and before he left his native Poland. Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor offers echoes of the concertos of Hummel, Moscheles, Kalkbrenner and Field. The first public performance of the F minor Concerto on 21 March 1830 was a moderate success – Chopin’s piano was too soft-toned and could hardly be heard over the assembled instrumentalists. The second performance a day later, performed on a more aggressive Viennese instrument, was a triumph.
Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor is best known for its lyrical slow movement which Chopin labelled ‘Romanza’. On 22 September 1830, Chopin tried out the work at his home (with a small orchestral ensemble) before arranging the first public performance in the Warsaw National Theatre on 11 October 1830.
British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognised for his electrifying performances, distinctive sound and insightful interpretations. Winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven, Benjamin Grosvenor is now an internationally regarded pianist performing with esteemed conductors and orchestras across the world. He was A BBC New Generation Artist from 2010-2012 and has performed at the BBC Proms on several occasions including at the Last Night in 2015. In 2011 Benjamin Grosvenor signed to Decca Classics, becoming the youngest British musician ever, and the first British pianist in almost 60 years to sign to the label, and his recordings have received numerous awards. He has been playing since the age of six and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2012 with the ‘Queen’s Commendation for Excellence’.
Elim Chan is internationally regarded as one of the most sought-after young conductors and was the first female winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition 2014. She leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, in her role as Principal Guest Conductor, in her first ever recording.
Benjamin Grosvenor’s Chopin Piano Concertos will be released on 21 February 2020. Scroll down to read the full tracklisting and pre-order the album here.
The full tracklisting for Chopin Piano Concertos is:
1. Piano Concerto No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 11, i. ‘Allegro maestoso’
2. Piano Concerto No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 11, ii. ‘Romance’ (‘Larghetto’)
3. Piano Concerto No. 1 In E Minor, Op. 11, iii. ‘Rondo’ (‘Vivace’)
4. Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor, Op.21, i. ‘Maestoso’
5. Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor, Op.21, ii. ‘Larghetto’
6. Piano Concerto No. 2 In F Minor, Op.21, iii. ‘Allegro vivace’