Alberto Reyes
Alberto Reyes plays Chopin featured as International Piano Choice

After successes at both the Tchaikovsky and the Van Cliburn competitions in the 1970's, the Uruguayan pianist Alberto Reyes abandoned a concert career to work as an interpreter at the United Nations in New York, retiring in 2007. With this issue, recorded last year, he returns to the performing limelight as a thoughtful, wholly individual musician. Like Uchida, he seems incapable of even countenancing an ugly sound, while revealing a wide emotional range.

If one might initially accuse Reyes of underplaying contrasts in the first movement of Chopin's B flat minor Sonata, his integrity and spontaneous flow are unassailable and coupled with a sure structural grasp. This Chopin never wanders, but is instead sublimely guided and feels entirely authentic (the first movement repeat is back to the Doppio movimento). The Scherzo seems a natural outgrowth of the first movement and is powerfully discomfiting; even the trio is no place of retreat. There is a disturbing element in this Second Sonata that finds its apotheosis in the whirlwind finale, via the harrowing 'Marche Funebre'. Reyes also emphasizes the darkness of the F minor Fantasy, and another work in the same key, the Fourth Ballade.

The Barcarolle is simply magnificent, rising to a significant climax and given with a sense of freedom that also informs the opening movement of the Third Sonata. Reyes's pedal work in the Sonata's desolate slow movement is remarkable, resulting in textures that are veiled yet not blurred. Throughout, his technique is exemplary: the finale is a tour de force. A refreshing issue.

Colin Clarke, International Piano
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