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Friday, February 8, 2019

Chopin, 17 Waltzes, Peter Schaaf

Chopin wrote 17 Waltzes (Schaaf Records 103). Peter Schaaf performs them with an honest candor and a partisan's zeal on a recent album of the same name. It continues the waltz mood he established so convincingly on his previous 44 Waltzes (type that in the search box, above left, to read my review).

Chopin wrote and published eight of the waltzes during his lifetime; nine more were unpublished at his death out of which five were assigned opus numbers; four more were never "opused." I do not need to tell you of the virtues of Chopin's piano works. The Waltzes are vibrantly melodic and sensitively evocative. Chopin opened up a realm of piano expression that was as extraordinary as it was innovative, and too so naturally singing forth.

This is marvelous music and Peter Schaaf disarms us with an extraordinarily unpretentious reading of it all. You feel care and spontaneity in equal measure . Some of this music is of course as familiar as any piano music can be for those who have lived in the present-day musical culture for any length of time (e.g. with the "Minute Waltz"). So to make it all seem fresh is a challenge for any artist today who would wish to play them. Peter succeeds because he enters into the mood of each as if it were HIS mood, and so in fact it becomes so in his hands.

So if you do not know this music or if you do and would like to put a fresh reading in front of your ears, this one is a good thing, a very good thing! Recommended. To find out more about Peter Schaaf and his music and to order go to

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