CD Brahms • François Chaplin

On 9 January 2020

“Rarely does one come across a pianist with something genuinely fresh and perceptive to say in Brahms, and who manages to do so without affectation or outlandishness. Francois Chaplin is one of those few … Most striking in Chaplin’s readings is his ability to create pellucid textures, allowing Brahms’s polyphony to stand out in bold relief. And to a greater extent than many performers, Chaplin defines the distinct individuality of each piece by an extraordinarily apt choice of tempo, organically conceived and embellished by exquisitely refined and pliant textures … Listeners intimately acquainted with this music may be surprised by what Chaplin discovers; for those new to this special repertory niche, I can’t think of a better introduction.”

Patrick Rucker – Gramophone, August 2019


« Un album qui jamais ne se dénote, toujours dans l’émotion, François Chaplin nous gratifie de toute sa technique et de son talent pour nous donner le plein d’émotions. C’est un récital avec une sobre mélancolie, de la douceur, du bien-être et un apaisement et un apaisement certain. A ne pas manquer pour se détendre. »

Classique HD – Juin 2019


« Chaplin se montre tout à fait à l’aise dans cette musique. Sous ses doigts coulent les mélodies, le spleen, les moments de tension, la passion, le tragique et les douleurs (…). Il y a une profonde émotion qui surgit de cette interprétation d’une belle pureté avec beaucoup de sobriété, et, qui au bout du compte montre tout le monde intérieur du compositeur ».

 Froggy’s delight – Juin 2019


« François Chaplin, qui fréquente Brahms depuis longtemps et n’a pas attendu les cheveux blancs pour jouer ces op. 117, 118, et 119, y aime la « nostalgie de l’amour non partagé, la solitude mais aussi l’apaisement que procure la nature ». Il rend bien tout cela, sans effets de manches, et se mesure tranquillement aux ancêtres (Wilhelm Kempff) et aux aînés (Radu Lupu), trouvant sa place parmi ses contemporains (…). »

Muzikzen, Juillet 2019


“Une interprétation d’une belle transparence, qui rend justice aux fins reliefs polyphoniques de l’écriture. […] Le kaléidoscope des nuances déployées par l’interprète témoigne de son inventivité.” Diapason, octobre 2019 ( 5 Diapasons)

JOHANNES BRAHMS – Intermezzi – Rhapsodies – François Chaplin (Piano) – 3149028131437 – Released: June 2019 – Aparté AP173

Six Pieces for Piano, Op. 118
Four Pieces for Piano, Op. 119
Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79
Three Intermezzi, Op. 117

Along with composers like Alexander Scriabin and Frederic Chopin, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) knew how to write for the left hand just as effectively as the right hand. With the focal point of most pieces being delegated to the right hand, most composers tend to assign the left hand the simple role of harmonic support. But you can tell, especially when playing his music yourself, that Brahms applied meticulous care to the left hand note selections. He was aware that, to a certain degree, the use of different or unusual notes in the left hand can alter the tone, character and color of the melodic line in the right hand, and used this to his advantage when composing. Even the most subtle changes produce that effect, and pianist François Chaplin instinctively knows when and where to emphasize that crucial yet fragile relationship between the two hands. Throughout each piece his close attention to details in the left hand is highly apparent. And nowhere is that more obvious than in the enigmatic final Intermezzo of the Op. 118, in which Chaplin’s restrained use of the sustain pedal delivers a clear and unmuddled reading.

In a previous review of his 2010 recording of the Chopin Nocturnes, I had pointed out that François Chaplin, had fleshed out the internal musical mechanisms that set a piece of music in motion, and the same impressions apply to his overview of the music of Johannes Brahms. After all if you don’t know or fully understand what makes a piece of music “tick”, how could you possibly recreate the composer’s intent to its fullest. The audio recording is close and well captures the wide frequency range of a Bosendorfer Vienna Concert grand inside a church. There are legions of recordings that cover the late piano music of Johannes Brahms, and many excellent ones to choose from. For sheer insight and perception, this one immediately muscles its way into the top ten.

Jean-Yves Duperron – June 2019

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