“Russian pianist Zlata Chochieva (b. 1985, Moscow), a student of Mikhail Pletnev and graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory in 2012, has won numerous international piano competitions. Despite her youth, her keyboard style divulges a sense of maturity in the Chopin etudes, a maturity supported by an arsenal of natural talent, good instincts and superior intelligence.
Chochieva displays an excellent grasp of Chopin’s subtle weaving of melodies with harmonies and rhythms. In almost every one of these etudes she deftly captures the essential character of the music, tending to shun temporary effects in favor of harnessing the overall emotional and intellectual climate of the piece. She uses the pedal most effectively, whether discreetly or liberally, and has wide ranging dynamics. Try her lovely account of #3 in E Major, Op. 10, where the main theme sings beautifully: notice the velvety tones she achieves through many gradations of dynamics and deft use of the pedal. Also, try #3, in F Major, Op. 25, where she delivers a leisurely but charming performance. The ensuing Etude in A minor is played with a more staccato touch and is brilliantly colorful in its jaunty romp. Her Black Keys Etude (#5, in G Flat Major, Op. 10) ripples with virtuosity yet never sounds rushed or overdone in its playful joy.
Chochieva doesn’t shortchange the darker side of Chopin: try the inconsolable #6, in E flat minor, Op. 10, where the pervading gloom is delivered with a flowing mesmerism in Chochieva’s perfect pacing and velvety touch. Chochieva turns in a gentle, subtle account of #1, in A Flat Major, Op. 25. In fact, in many pieces that other pianists either rush or play too loudly, she shows tasteful restraint and a seemingly perfect sense for the right tempo: try #5, in E minor, Op. 25, for an imaginative and utterly arresting performance from first note to last. I’ll write ditto for the ensuing G Sharp minor Etude. Chochieva plays the octaves in the outer sections of #10, in B minor, Op. 25, with a perfect sense for the music’s grimness and desperation, and the middle section comes across with a melting peacefulness. A great performance! The Winter Wind Etude, (#11, Op. 25) gets an effectively stately yet stormy treatment from Chochieva. The Trois Nouvelles Etudes are also brilliantly played by her, and I must declare that among young pianists I have heard in recent years, she would seem to be among the most talented and likely to have a major career. Excellent sound reproduction from Piano Classics. Chochieva has made at least three other recordings, which feature a range of repertory from Domenico Scarlatti sonatas to Rachmaninov’s rarely heard First Sonata and Prokofiev’s popular Seventh.”