The CD has been released by the National Chopin Institute (NIFC) in Warsaw and features American pianist Kevin Kenner in partnership with the Apollon Musagète Quartett and Sławomir Rozlach (double bass). “The announcement of the shortlist comes as wonderful news and a great joy for the National Chopin Institute”, its spokesman Aleksander Laskowski told Polish Radio.
The annual BBC Music Magazine Awards are among the most prestigious accolades in the international record industry.
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Kevin Kenner, 57, won Second Prize at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1990 (First Prize was not awarded). He has developed a fine international career, performing in the most prestigious venues and with top orchestras. His contacts with Poland go back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when he studied in Kraków.
In its review of the recording, The BBC Music Magazine wrote last year that “right from the start, Chopin’s two piano concertos were performed in intimate settings, and it’s well known that the composer himself played them in various chamber versions.” The monthly’s critic, John Allison, described the NIFC recording as “outstanding”, adding that these are “performances of more spontaneity than a conductor and orchestra would normally allow.”
Allison wrote in closing: “Intimacy is the key to this music, yet too many performances with orchestra sound overblown: once you’ve heard this, you may well prefer to think of these masterpieces as chamber music.”