3 Preludes from op. 1
Sonata No. 3 in B minor
The perfectionism of Krystian Zimerman seems to know no bounds: it is said that he plays only 10 per cent of his repertoire in concert. And of this ten per cent, only another ten per cent have been recorded on CD – at a generous guess. Years ago, he said in an interview: “In 1980 I made a list of pieces I would like to be able to play. Believe me, I still haven’t worked my way through that list, and I know today that I won’t have enough time.”
Perfect playing also requires perfect concert planning: Zimerman takes into consideration not only the distance between venues, but also the interaction of acoustics in the different concert halls. “I could never schedule Vienna before Nuremberg. That just wouldn’t work. Such a change in acoustics would require an unmanageable change in playing technique. For me, planning a tour is always like fighting a losing battle.”
In Berlin, the Polish pianist, who early in his career was the youngest ever winner of the first prize at the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, will open his concert the music of Claude Debussy, who made a truly significant contribution to the genre of character pieces. The most significant of these are the “divine arabesques”, in which Debussy achieved an idealised representation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His Well-Tempered Clavier for example, served as a model for Debussy’s preludes, whereas in Estampes, the Frenchman describes an imaginary trip to Spain and the Far East.
Krystian Zimerman has also included works by two of his fellow countrymen in his programme: Frédéric Chopin’s Op. 58 is the last of three works which the Polish composer contributed to the genre of the piano sonata, and enjoys a lyrically-minded, but at the same time brilliant character. The preludes by Karol Szymanowski, published as Op. 1, still follow the Romantic model of Chopin, but already point towards a more modern musical language.