Narrated by Nancy Peterson, the audiobook version of Chasing Chopin includes two wonderful musical excerpts.
The first is from Angela Hewitt’s recording of the op. 35 sonata during her performance in the 1980 Fryderyk Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. The selection we made is not the familiar dirge in B flat minor but the major key interlude that appears in the middle of the funeral march. Though Hewitt was criticized for the same things 19th century critics complained about in Chopin’s own public appearances — her “limited amplitude” and “womanly” style — her performance resonates with grace and artistry. A CD with the entire sonata and other works including selected Preludes, Etudes, and Mazurkas, can be purchased here. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Fryderyk Chopin Institute for permission to use this recital in the introduction to the audiobook.
The second excerpt is from Yuan Sheng’s marvelous 3-CD collection of Ballades, Impromptus, Preludes and Nocturnes, played on an 1845 Pleyel piano at the Frederick Collection of Historic Pianos in Ashburnham, MA. To close out the audiobook, the listener is rewarded with a rare recital of Chopin’s Nocturne op. 9, no. 2 in E flat major in which Sheng plays all the variations that have been identified in the scores of Chopin’s pupils. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Brilliant Classics for permission to use this excerpt in the audiobook.