«Not everyone is gifted enough to play all of Chopin’s etudes in such seemingly careless succession. Not even Arthur Rubinstein, who had astonishing technical ease, dared to do so. For Zlata Chochieva, however, it seems like child’s play.
With the Trois Nouvelle Etudes as an appetizer, she played Opus 10 before the break.
No. 1 with a richly variegated right hand and a dramatically narrative left, No. 2 with a gossamer right and a dancing and breathing left, No. 3 never sentimental, but with a light rubato full of desire and innocence. No. 4 was breathtakingly fast, almost reckless with grandiose pathos, and No. 5 with its black keys, just as fast, but with a dancing, singing left hand under a rainbow of colours. No. 6 had noble, subdued vocals above a driving accompaniment, No. 7 a miraculous dialogue with a sparkling ending, while No. 8 was performed according to the tried and tested process of a murmuring right hand and an expressive left hand. No. 9 was delivered as a Scriabinesque fever vision between hope and despair, No. 10 with playful elation and an incredible control in the staccato’s, No. 11 had arpeggios completely subordinate to the singing, and finally No. 12 was a revolution: a symphonic poem with furiously thrown closing chords.
Opus 25 after the break: Nr. 1 a Song Ohne Worte, a duet, while Nr. 2 was a textbook example of jeu perlé at an astonishing pace that worked quietly. Contrastingly, Nr. 3 was a grand ballad sometimes, with a different emotion every few measures, Nr. 4 featured feather-light staccato in the left hand and a rhythm of which every gypsy orchestra would be jealous. Nr. 5 was much as Lipatti played it: the singing of the middle movement like the sun in a pond under an infinite prism of colours, Nr. 6 the study of thirds, in a word an experience, high school of pianism, No. 7 a deeply felt epic without ego with a gripping climax, and No. 8 like a butterfly, freely dancing on the wind. No. 9 displayed aristocratic mastery reminiscent of Bolet and Cherkassky, with mischievous basses, No. 10 had its terrifyingly stormy octaves – a simple singing, but nowhere sentimental. No. 11 was a second revolution etude, and in conclusion No. 12, the winter storm with its never-ending energy.
With two inimitable encores, Medtner’s Canzona Serenata and another black key etude, one of the most beautiful recitals I have ever heard came to an end. A single etude would already have been worth the trip to Brussels…»