“Is Poland really the paradise of period instruments?” writes Julien Hanck in Monday’s (10/9) Bachtrack.com. This September, Warsaw’s International Chopin Competition was “the first competition of this size to be devoted to piano on period instruments.” Six finalists performed, some of them “migrants from other disciplines. At 26, Aleksandra Świgut … started with the harpsichord before becoming interested in pianos with a so-called ‘Viennese’ mechanism…. The organizers have assembled twenty or so period pianos, some from collections in the Netherlands and Belgium. Trying out a few of these … one is soon struck by the specific sound world and feel of each instrument…. The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music … hosts the competition… The finalists [were] asked to play either of the two Chopin concertos with the prestigious Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, co-founded by Frans Brüggen and Sieuwert Verster, who is in attendance.” Says juror Nelson Goerner, “This competition happens at a critical moment where a number of modern pianists are beginning to play both ways…. By the number of candidates, we’ve been able to prove that this interest isn’t nearly as niche as one might have imagined.”

Posted October 11, 2018