With his Préludes op. 28, which he had worked on for three years before completing them on Majorca in 1839, Frédéric Chopin broke new musical ground. Although other composers before him had already established the prelude as a piano miniature in its own right, such works remained bound to the form of free, almost improvisational playing. Whereas in Chopin’s preludes, whose tonal blueprint corresponds to the key sequence of a circle of fifths, he created a cycle of twenty-four self-contained musical pieces which nevertheless merge into a larger musical entity. Without a doubt, Chopin’s opus 28 was directional for comparable compositions such as the two volumes of Préludes by Claude Debussy, written between 1909 and 1912 – a collection of programmatically titled pieces which show clearly how the piano genre of the prelude had developed since the days of Chopin.
For her piano recital in the chamber music hall of the Berlin Philharmonie, Anna Vinnitskaya has programmed both Chopin’s Préludes op. 28 and a selection of those by Debussy. Ever since she was awarded first prizes at prestigious piano competitions such as the Concours Reine Elisabeth in Brussels, the pianist, who was born in Novorossiysk in 1983 and trained in Rostov-on-Don and Hamburg, has been appearing at the world’s major music venues for more than a decade. Her recordings have also received numerous awards, including – on two occasions – the prestigious Diapason d’Or. She opens her piano recital with Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 29, composed in 1917 – a work by a composer who places enormous demands on performers, requiring the “formidable technique” which, according to an English critic writing about Anna Vinnitskaya’s recording of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, she most certainly has.