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CHOPIN - 21 NOCTURNES - ZZT HARMONIA MUNDI - François Chaplin
CHOPIN - 21 NOCTURNES - ZZT HARMONIA MUNDI

François Chaplin was noticed by the critics and the audience with a complete recording of Debussy's piano pieces released by Arion between 2000 & 2005 "With what is needed of distance, distinction and of calm ecstasy for the essentially aristocratic art of Claude de France... a complete recording which will mark the recent debussy discography." Gilles Macassar Télérama 2005

After a Chopin recording Ballades, Barcarolle et Berceuse released in 2007, here is the complete set of Nocturnes, inovative and lyrical pieces which made Chopin famous. To record theses passionate, tender, delicate pieces where inner life develops dreams and infinite impulses, François Chaplin chose a Grand piano de concert Yamaha which enabled him to shape his own sounds. "I wanted to express myself freely in these confessions which are the nocturnes." A new order for Chopin's Nocturne: "Between the two poles constituted by the op.48 set, with its dramatic Nocturne no.1 in C minor, and the two Nocturnes op.62, where the accommodation of the bel canto spirit to the keyboard reaches a fabulous peak, I have taken account of the moods and keys of the pieces in devising an arrangement which has no other aim than to emphasise the diversity and modernity of the nocturnes. With their lyricism and drama, their intimate confessions and capricious outbursts, they contain Chopin's entire soul."

 



LIBERATION, PORTRAIT - François Chaplin
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST PUBLISHED IN LIBERATION


“Scintillating Chaplin”

The French pianist François Chaplin has released a Chopin CD and the complete works for piano by Debussy, and will perform music by both composers in a Paris recital.

By Eric DAHAN

Discovered in the mid-80s with the release of his recording of Debussy’s first book of Préludes, François Chaplin has continued to make his mark as one of the outstanding musicians of his time. If anyone doubted this, his latest recording, a boxed set of Debussy’s complete piano works for piano, has reconfirmed it. As mentioned in a previous Libération article, Chaplin does not approach Debussy as a mandatory rite of passage for the pianist. His playing is sensuous and spirited, yet capable of melancholic abandon. He delivers Debussy with a truly French sound that is at once round and crisp, a far cry from the received idea of impressionism which is so prevalent today…

“Secrets”.
Chaplin is not merely a great Debussy performer, he is able to convey the innermost thoughts of the composer in his delicious interpretation of Epigraphes antiques, a sunny homage to Pan, and in the static Tombeau sans nom, which gives the impression of being submerged in the kingdom of Allemonde. The varied sonorities in Images spring from the alternating contractions and dilations of the melodic line; the colours shimmer like secrets being told as his perfectly controlled passage work bears witness to a bygone nobility of heart.
Chaplin has put all his artistry into his newly released Chopin album, and will also display it in concert, performing works of both composers. Is he justified in shining Debussy’s light upon Chopin? Absolutely. And especially because, before recording his complete Debussy, he made an album of the Nocturnes which demonstrated that Chopin too had imagined the piano as a “sounding machine”.

In Chaplin’s new pre-impressionist, Mediterranean triptych ((Ballades, Barcarolle and Berceuse), hints of ancient modes, highly-coloured chords and fleeting fragrances appear, but these never detract from the forward motion or the lyrical quality of the music. This is sparkling piano playing, both rigorous and sensitive, worthy of Nelson Freire, The latter gave up recording long ago, but the younger Chaplin, still a dreamer, favours small record companies.

Born in Paris into a family of painters (Charles Chaplin and his sanguines; Elisabeth Chaplin, who exhibited her work in Florence), he spent weekends at Barbizon, and quickly grasped the link between music and the colours of nature. He listened to his mother playing, and began piano lessons himself at the age of eight. In the beginner’s book La Méthode rose, he was “immediately attracted” to the exercise Chant arabe. His precocious taste for tone colour and modal sound needed only the stimulation of Baudelaire’s Correspondances to turn him into the ideal Debussy performer. Chaplin is also a Romantic, and owes his taste for Schumann – he has recorded Kinderszenen - to Wentsislav Yankoff, his mentor at the Paris Conservatoire. He courageously chose Brahms for his first album because he was “crossed in love”, recording nothing less than opus 118 and 119 and the two Rhapsodies at the age of 25! He had found Debussy’s music “too anguished” as a teenager, and did not tackle it until he “felt better”.

“Voluptuousness”.
It was thus via Chopin, who said the player should “knead the keyboard”, that Chaplin came to Debussy, who wanted to “forget about piano hammers”. Like Michelangeli, Chaplin allows Debussy to remain mysterious. And like Arrau, he unleashes Chopin’s lyricism. This is why he chose an old Steinway, whose sound is less ‘clean’, for Debussy - it allowed him to sculpt the sound in his own way – and a brand new Yamaha for the paradoxical “radiance, voluptuousness and joy” of the dying Chopin. Chaplin’s next stage will be to confront his fear of Schubert’s “morbidity”. He has been working on Schubert in secret, and confides, “They say you have to wait to play his late Sonatas, and I think it’s true.”
In the meanwhile, he plans to record Fauré’s Noctures and take up photography. Perhaps because his piano playing is anything but naively pictorial.
 



  DIAPASON, 2007

His style includes a singing tone and a beautiful sound conveyed by the harmonies, which melt away as if his fingers were sliding over the chords (…). Like the great Chopin players of yesteryear – Cortot, Friedman, Kempff, Novaes and Magaloff – Chaplin’s poetic playing overflows with charm, and manages to be at once sensitive, lyrical, and vigorous while avoiding over-refinement, agitation and brutality.
(Alain Lompech)
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  LE MONDE DE LA MUSIQUE, 2007

François Chaplin’s rich sound, enhanced by the subtlest nuances, is immediately compelling (…). He uses Chopin’s famous rubato – which is also a way of letting the music breathe – invisibly, as it were, so tasteful, elegant and unaffected is his playing. This is an album that will satisfy the most demanding listener.
(Jean Roy)
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  REVUE PIANISTE, 2007

When I first listened to this recording, without knowing whom the pianist was, I was immediately plunged into an extraordinary state of rapture, recalling the old masters of the Chopin tradition from the golden age of the piano: the legendary names of Cortot, Arrau and Moiseiwitsch sprang to mind (…). A great recording.
(Bertrand Boissard).
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  TELERAMA, DECEMBRE 2006

The most difficult and prophetic pieces of the Second Book (Pour les agreements, Pour les arpèges composes, Pour les accords) have rarely been performed with such natural ease, native elegance and clarity. “As if from far off, but limpid and joyful”, wrote Debussy in the margin next to the Balinese band theme in the tenth Etude, subtitled Pour les Sonates opposes. This is how one imagines François Chaplin at his own piano, as well as practicing for the recording on Debussy’s own instrument, now part of the collections of the Labenche museum in Brive-la-Gaillarde. He achieves just the right balance between distance, refinement and quiet exhilaration for Debussy’s eminently aristocratic works. This fifth volume crowns Chaplin’s recording of Debussy’s complete works. Along with Philippe Cassard’s rendition, it takes pride of place in the recent Debussy discography.
(Gilles Macassar)
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  TF1, THE SHOW OF PPDA

A series of concerts by the young French pianist François Chaplin, who recently recorded Debussy’s complete piano works. He will be playing in the Salle Blanche of the Pushkin Museum, a mythical venue for one of the best known young French soloists. Debussy’s Arabesques will be on the programme…
(Patrick Poivre d’Arvor & Florence Shall, TF1)
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  DIAPASON

Chaplin’s soft, virtuous sound is suffused with radiance, and is particularly well suited to the Etudes, complex and expressive pieces whose secrets he reveals.
(Jérôme Bastianelli)
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TOURNÉE EN ALLEMAGNE - François Chaplin
CONCERTS IN GERMANY


Récital in ERLANGEN

"A Lion of the keyboard, from Paris"

Lions of the keyboard: they still exist! Those brilliant musical wizards, those soloists with personal ity enough to relegate the tenets of interprétation to a position of secondary importance. The French pianist François Chaplin - he studied with Jean-Claude Pennetier and Ventsislav Yankoff - carries on the great European virtuose tradition; he is a worthy descendant of Liszt et al.

With Chaplin, there is no false timidity, no fear of flights of grandeur, of violent storms offeeling and wild paroxysms. [...]
This supreme artist doesn't waste time with détails that are only of minor importance, nor does he lose sight of the overall structure. [...] The resuit is disconcerting and impressive.

Hans von Draminski-Erlangen Bayern Erlanger Nachrichten


Récital at the Stadtbucherei, HEIDELBERG

This pianist's style is French in its elegance and nobility. His playing, which has earned him prizes in several international competitions, is graceful, flexible and generous. In Debussy he brought out ail the beauty and fragrance of 'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir', without indulging in the slightest exaggeration. We were able to savour the subtlety of timbre in 'La Danse de Puck' and in 'Brouillards', its undulations as smooth as velvet. Chaplin responded to the bewitchment of these pièces with a touch that was both sensitive and refined. The absolute, icy silence of 'Des pas sur la neige' was rendered most effectively, before the pianist attacked 'Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest' with brio, in a swirl of rich sforzati. 'La cathédrale engloutie' was full of profound spirituality and discreet brilliance. [...]

Finally, with a rich palette of sound, ranging from an admirably subtle pianissimo to a bright, sparklmg fortissimo, he brought out ail the force and sumptuousness of'Feux d'artifice'.

Chaplin's playing combines poetry and intense passion, nobility and ardent lyricism, with an admirable mastery of form. His performance of Chopin was a joy: his technique and style are truly in their élément in the musical world of this great Polish Romantic composer.

Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, Heidelberg, June 2000


 



  AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE ( Intégral pieces for 2 pianos of Poulenc )

The Sonata is of course one of the grand works of the two-piano repertory. Built around one of the fine slow movements ever composed, it remains one of the most 'serious' works Poulenc penned, a conversational piece of the utmost skill and integrity.

Our pianists are like master builders. I cannot recall hearing a more satisfying version of this work (…)

Steven E. Ritter


www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.553613
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  CLASSICS TODAY ( Integral pieces for 2 pianos of Poulenc )

François Chaplin and Alexandre Tharaud play beautifully…hypnotically seductive in the slow introduction and third movement, while the faster music has the right rhythmic skittishness and crisp articulation.

David Hurwitz.


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  CLASSICA / REPERTOIRE

Like in his first three volumes of Debussy’s complete piano works, François Chaplin guides the listener firmly but kindly through music filled with unexpected byways, and whose atmosphere is so poetic and sombre. (…) Chaplin truly stands out as one of the great Debussy performers. One can only hope that his rendition of the Etudes will be just as successful; when this occurs, his complete works will be the most valuable of the discography.
(Stéphan Vincent-Lacrin)
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  LONDON, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

François Chaplin has his own way with the Preludes while persuading us that he has not replaced Debussy's. This is some achievement.
(Adrian Jack)
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  DIAPASON D'OR, COMPLETE SET OF MAZURKAS

François Chaplin is one of the most original and captivating of today’s young French pianists. One of the most unusual, too. (…) His approach to the music of Scriabin, a dream come true for such a poetic performer, overflows with sumptuous, generous, unfettered sound. His recording of the complete Mazurkas is magnificent, and is the new benchmark we’d been waiting for. (…) Step by step, François Chaplin prepares the listener for the uncanny shimmering of the two prophetic opus 40 Mazurkas; these two works are the crowning glory of a complete works replete with tender sorrow and great dignity.
(Alain Cochard)


 



  LE MONDE DE LA MUSIQUE

He has one of the subtlest palettes of colour of any of today’s young French pianists. He follows the score carefully, only using rubato when the text suggests it.
(Olivier Bellamy)
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LE REPUBLICAIN LORRAIN - François Chaplin
LE REPUBLICAIN LORRAIN

Concert with orchestre National of Lorraine
Arsenal de Metz, conductor Jacques Mercier.

Chaplin approached Beethoven’s fourth piano concerto in G with the modesty of an aesthete, his immaculate touch skimming over the keys. He took the time to bring out all the subtleties of the score, capturing the composer’s confident inspiration.
(Georges Masson, 2006)
 


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