Winner of the Instrumental Award
BBC Music magazine Awards 2013
"...This disc is a triumph that few other pianists can match." *****
Marius Dawn - Pianist magazine - August/September 2012
"Fialkowska is quick, articulate and generous with interpretive variations in her tempi. The impression her playing gives is of an artist revelling in the energy of Chopin’s pianistic dance forms. Her command of this composer’s language leaves no doubt about her convictions to follow Chopin through the turmoil of cascading note clusters and the depths of melancholic harmonies. Her playing gives the impression that she feels quite “in-charge” of this material but never surrenders herself entirely to the seduction of Chopin’s voice. Still, she performs very much from “inside” the music.Fialkowska is ready to expose both the explosive and the deeply intimate by pushing the piano to its technical limits from massive volume to notes that are barely played. It’s an all-or-nothing approach with immediate impact."
Alex Baran - The WholeNote - 1 May 2012
"Montreal-native pianist Janina Fialkowska is an international treasure, showing setting an example for the world how the music of Frédéric Chopin can be played with virtuosic fire as well as elegant grace...There is never a single note or emphasis or contour out of place as this remarkable pianist shows off her impeccable technique and sophisticated artistry. Fialkowska fully deserves the lifetime achievement award she will receive from the Governor-General at a special gala event, this coming weekend." ****
John Terauds - Toronto Star - 1 May 2012
"The pianist remains a supreme Chopin stylist, combining temperament with an unsentimental touch." ****
Andrew Clark - Financial Times - 19 May 2012
"Pianist Janina Fialkowska whose career was nearly ended 10 years ago by cancer in her arm, showed her total recovery in one of the finest Chopin recitals given in 2010, his anniversary year. In her follow up release Chopin Recital 2, there are spellbinding performances of the E flat Nocturne and the F minor Fantaisie. Three Preludes include the evergreen F sharp major, its subtle mood changes clearly delineated. But for Chopin-playing of supreme quality, try the F major Ballade and its storm and stress." ****
Michael Kennedy - The Telegraph (UK) - 20 May 2012
"This is superb Chopin playing! ...This is a highly entertaining disc, which also features vivid sound reproduction and very informative notes by Ms. Fialkowska."
Robert Cummings - Classical.net - 21 June 2012
CD of the Month
Attila Csampai - Stereoplay Magazine (Munich, Germany) - July 2012
"After the success of her earlier Chopin disc, the Canadian pianist Janina Fialkowska, who 10 years ago temporarily lost the use of her left arm through cancer - returns to the composer with results that are just as impressive. She treats shorter, simpler pieces such as the Waltz in E minor with just as much respect as bigger beasts such as the Fantaisie in F minor and the Scherzo No.2 in B flat minor, often finding a heart-stopping simplicity that is just as difficult as keyboard heroics." ****
Paul Gent - The Telegraph (London) - 7 July 2012
Performance ***** Recording: *****
"This is a rich and illuminating fìnd. From the outset you sense Janina Fialkowska’s innate, developmental grasp of drama - of the connection between phrases and their dynamic character. Then there’s the sheer life in her playing, reflected in the perfectly nouriched and shrewdly apportioned soundm unmarred by any hint of coarseness of ill-defined tone. Without exaggeration, she reveals the deep humanity of Chopin’s counterpoint, in which every strand plays an expressive role. She has a sharp grasp of polyphony (never more evident than in the bewitching E-flat Nocturne). True to Chopin’s spirit, the playing is everywhere informed by a classical sense of proportion. Yet, her pacing and exceptional grasp of musical narrative is a masterclass in the art of pianistic rhetoric. Above all, her rhythm is continuously supple at every level, from note-to-note inflection to the binding together of whole phrases. In all the best senses, Fialkowska is a big pianist. In contrast to accounts of Chopin’s own playing (but like his idol Bach), she communicates an abiding and exhilarating physicality. The F major Ballade and F minor Fantasy are by turns exciting, poignant, volcanic, driven and exhausting - this is tragic art on a Shakespearean level. Like her mentor Arthur Rubinstein, she presents a profoundly rounded portrait of Chopin, illuminating both his innate virility as a composer, and his transcendent grace."
Jeremy Siepmann - BBC Music Magazine - July 2012
"For her second Chopin album, Janina Fialkowska once again offers a carefully chosen miscellany rather than a more conventional chronology. And, to an even greater extent than before, her performances blaze and challenge with a potent and highly individual sense of drama... to crown it all Fialkowska has been superbly recorded."
Bryce Morrison - Gramophone magazine - 1 August 2012
Interpretation ***** Sound ***** Repertoire ****
"...Without trying to be “cute” about sound, her playing captures with a surety of style and naturalness. This all appears most agreeable without vanity and she manages it totally without any hollow sentiment. Fialkowska goes for a fiery passion when it really matters – in the true sense of the word. There is no exaggeration or overreaching, every expression is chosen wisely and at the same time sensually, rounded, singing, born out of technical clarity. Herein one can feel that Fialkowska is aware of Arthur Rubinstein’s giant Chopin-heritage. He was crucial to her career after her prize-winning performance at the first competition in his name, but at the same time she makes her own, true points without trying to reinvent the wheel. Fialkowska doesn’t follow any ideal blindly; also in this sense her playing feels liberated. She sets and lives each note consciously."
Marco Frei - Piano News - September/October 2012
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