tue 24/11/2020

Krystian Zimerman, RFH | reviews, news & interviews

Krystian Zimerman, RFH

Krystian Zimerman, RFH

Polish celebrant of Chopin's birthday can be poetic when he's not in his speedboat

Pianist Krystian Zimerman: a glittering choice for Chopin birthday nightHiromichi Yamamoto

Beware of Zimermania - or, for that matter, of idolising any pianist as the Greatest Living Interpreter of Chopin. Our birthday boy, 200 years old last night (and not on 1 March), as a crucial baptismal register now seems to prove, is too big for any one artist to dominate. He looks to his French heritage for sensuality, to the Polish maternal line for Slavic weight and thoughtfulness. If a sometimes impatient Krystian Zimerman inclined more to the former in yesterday's big celebration, that's not to deny he was a worthy choice of golden-toned celebrant. It was just a pity that it all had to be such a circus, and that the human zoo around the lone figure on the Festival Hall platform took so long to settle.

Beware of Zimermania - or, for that matter, of idolising any pianist as the Greatest Living Interpreter of Chopin. Our birthday boy, 200 years old last night (and not on 1 March), as a crucial baptismal register now seems to prove, is too big for any one artist to dominate. He looks to his French heritage for sensuality, to the Polish maternal line for Slavic weight and thoughtfulness. If a sometimes impatient Krystian Zimerman inclined more to the former in yesterday's big celebration, that's not to deny he was a worthy choice of golden-toned celebrant. It was just a pity that it all had to be such a circus, and that the human zoo around the lone figure on the Festival Hall platform took so long to settle.

His greatest achievement here was the finale, all of a piece in its magisterial ebb and flow

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