Listening to the album, it becomes clear after a few bars that Chochieva’s Mozart can stand comparison with the best and does not have to hide from greats like Maria João Pires or Mitsuko Uchida. (…) Chochieva never repeats phrases in exactly the same way, there are always new nuances and shadings, without this sounding precious. (…) In Scriabin’s Tenth (and last) Sonata she achieves brilliant climaxes over the shortest distance without becoming hectic, supported in her efforts by the wonderfully balanced-sounding Bechstein concert grand.Read more...
Chochieva’s Mozart playing has elegance and élan aplenty, her gracious sense of phrasing matched by sparkling passage work in the faster variations on melodies by Duport and Gluck. (…) Chochieva plays with weight and emotional intelligence, but is still able to make the virtuosic passages of the tenth Sonata take flight. This is a tremendous and revelatory disc.Read more...
[HJer overall mastery is unbounded. She is entirely at home in the dark, opalescent world of Scriabin’s Tenth Sonata [.]”Read more...
Her fingerwork in a late, brief and searching Mozart Gigue is pure fortepiano fantasy, and she opens the glorious Unser dummer Pöbel meint Variations with a perfectly straight face before the expression breaks into laughter and smiles, with a superbly articulated cross-hand Variation 8 to recall the remarkable caprice of her Chopin Etudes(on Piano Classics). As a one-time pupil of Pletnev. Zlata explores shade after shade of pianissimo dynamics in Scriabin’s Tenth Sonata. No reservations.Read more...
“Bowled over” and “knocked out” come to mind as I think about the impression made on me by Zlata Chochieva’s recital for the Miami International Piano Festival on May Day of this year. […] Ms. Chochieva achieved identification with Schumann [Davidsbündler Tänze] that, in my experience, has eluded earlier interpreters of this complex work. So, affecting was that identity that the suite’s longueurs simply vanished. After the quiet ending, I wished for more. Can there be a greater compliment? […]
Few pianists of recent generations come close to playing as considerate of composers’ intentions and as masterly of their demands as Zlata Chochieva.Read more...
«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…»
“… Completely void of artificial affectations, and negotiating Chopin’s filigree passagework with effortless, liquid finesse, her performance was a triumph of natural expression and unswerving musicality.
Steffens responded to her every nuance, shaping the orchestral phrases with reflective intuition, coaxing delicious sounds from Chopin’s notoriously undernourished orchestral writing – though the only effective solution to the awkward trumpet writing would be to rescore it – and ensuring this performance was not just about the virtuosity of the soloist.
That moment came with Chocheva’s inevitable encore, the dexterous thrills of Chopin’s Black Key Étude, as mesmerising to the eye as to the ear.”
Ever since the release of her Piano Classics discs of Chopin and Rachmaninoff, Zlata Chochieva has moved strongly into the spotlight; Gramophone named her Chopin Etudes among the Top 50 Chopin recordings ever. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. She made her Moscow concert debut when she was eight years old, received inspired guidance from Mikhail Pletnev and has previously won ten international piano competitions.
The current concert of the Etudes Op.25 and Rachmaninoff’s Corelli Variations did not disappoint: the pianistic strength, thoughtfulness and individuality of this 34-year-old Russian artist are exceptional by any standard. But it was not just her strong technical capabilities that impressed. It was more the immediacy of her grasp of the meaning and significance of the music being played, and the human face she gives to it. While always faithful to the score, the sense of absorption in her playing suspends one very quickly and never lets go, weaving narrative lines that add up to a striking emotional whole. This is pianism of great character, and the concentration Chochieva achieves over the longer span is magnetic.
Chochieva is clearly drawn to the poetic aspects of the music, but there is also a sinew in her playing that brings out tensions between top and bottom voices. Her tonal shadings are imaginative, and she never settles for being ‘pretty’. The pianist has the strongest agility in her right hand; she is able to vary her articulation and weight at the greatest speeds and softest volumes, but can still float the most tender cantabile lines with beauty and composure. Her rhythmic anchoring in the bottom hand is just as impressive, capable of opening out to bravura weight when needed. It’s interesting to watch how she selects colours and techniques to probe the specifics of what she is playing; there is nothing remotely uniform about what she employs. Nonetheless, her decisions seem natural and convincing, sufficiently so that one forgets her technique and just thinks about the music.
One can think of Chopin’s Etudes as a set of separate studies, each one a jewel in itself. This approach has had a strong historical following, but Chochieva clearly aims beyond it. While giving every etude its full due – and never shying from virtuoso demands – she is acutely aware of how the character and spirit of each one fits with the others in developing an organic unity. Such an approach is possibly closer to that of the 24 Preludes. On this occasion, it seemed that the pianist was even more spontaneous in the Etudes Op.25 than in her recording. The tender, searching flow in No.1 remains special, but here it was even closer to that of water (as in Op.10 No.1), fluid, free, with great relaxation and a sense of wonder. The next etude has more caprice in it, perhaps hinting at Schumann’s Carnaval. Nos.3 and 4 exhibit wonderful rhythmic strength and precision, with tinges of delight and joy, but they also reveal a more defined rustic foundation than before. In fact, it was the sense of ‘dance’ in the playing and the elation conveyed in the rustic motion that really stood out, almost taking me to the heady feelings of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances. Her articulation in No.6 remains masterful.
These six treatments are special because Chochieva also manages to find a subtle undercurrent that never lets the listener forget the joys are fleeting and just the other side of a deep fragility and vulnerability. The natural transition is No.7, where the melancholy becomes explicit. As this etude moves on, the rumblings of the left hand almost suggest the ominous spectres of Schubert’s last sonatas. Beautifully appointed and capricious renderings of Nos.8 and 9 allow a time-out, but the final three etudes dig into a very dark story. ‘Winter Wind’ was almost terrorizing in its volcanic left-hand protestations, while the sense of finality and fate was vividly etched in No.12. Chochieva’s secret was to maintain the sense of intimacy alongside more objective forces, conveyed in the strength of the urgent rhythms in the left hand. Here an unrelenting and unforgiving Nature ultimately rides over everything human – and that is where tragedy is exposed on the world stage. Quite remarkable!
Rachmaninoff’s solo piano variations have a tendency to sprawl in lesser hands, but Chochieva had her finger on the composer’s nerve-ends and method of structural development in the Corelli Variations. She fashioned a reading of strong organic unity: I’ve rarely heard its dramatic arc so well defined. The pianist was discerning in developing the variations right after the opening motive, following the letter of the score but showing great patience and dynamic control in exposing their logical relation. There was a lovely inward quality to the playing, and her chords were etched in stone. After that, she had all the freedom in the world to cultivate the composer’s rhapsodic musings. A natural flow and suspension took over, artfully mining all the contrasting shades of melancholy. Indeed, her overall pacing and her perception of the sadness in this writing was very special. The last variations build to a demonstrative outpouring (‘agitato’), overwhelming in weight and attack, but the way Chochieva retreated from this peak, controlling tensions all the way to the restatement of the Corelli theme, was masterly. There was so much feeling in the final sustained chords, and one felt complete unity and balance.
Three Rachmaninoff transcriptions completed the programme, allowing for a glimpse of her next recording venture. The rarely-heard Violin Suite (after Bach) was a particular delight, showcasing her stallion-like right hand (very Russian indeed) in the Prelude, and her pristine rhythmic point in the Gavotte and Giga. It was Chochieva’s flexibility of phrase and rhythm, plus her ability to make so many voices simultaneously transparent, that stood out in the arrangements of Bizet’s L’Arlésienne and the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The encore was Chopin’s ‘Black Keys’ Etude from Op.10.
I can think of few finer piano recitals than this. Chochieva never attempts to endow the music with extra drama or interpretation: she just reveals her personal struggle to expose the music as it is. Her probing honesty and imagination place the listener in a multi-layered emotional world which is both evolving and immediate, and one simply feels impelled to follow her.
«The Berlin Piano Festival essentially took place within a few days at the end of May. Yet, as in other businesses, in concert management one needs to stretch to the limit—and since Zlata Chochieva, who was considered a much-preferred guest even before, had been unavailable earlier, there was an addendum on Wednesday.
This concert immediately turned out as a thrilling finale—almost as if everything Chochieva’s pianist colleagues (who had been exclusively male so far) had performed before was directed towards Sergei Rachmaninov’s D minor Sonata, Op. 28, which concluded the Moscow-born pianist’s recital, and served as a final chord to the whole festival. Admittedly, this sonata is a cumbersome work that somehow fails to get its picturesque plethora of thoughts—which are inspired by Goethe’s Faust—across in an orderly manner. Yet if we think of a South German Baroque church, we might prove similarly unable to grasp every single putto and ornament. As Zlata Chochieva’s performance unfolded, it was to be received just in the same way: as a sonic-spatial experience flowing through the hall, in constant alternation of light and shadow, yet following its own dynamic regularity. Remarkably, she defined every detail of her performance, from the brooding onset via the lyric melancholy of the middle movement to the cracking finale, within the organic flow of a superordinate whole—and this might be considered a deliberately shaped atmosphere, gaining its specific value from the interaction of the previous and the subsequent. This fascinating experience, unique in its intensity and homogeneity, was preceded by a somewhat fragmented, yet intelligently designed programme of 18 separate movements before and after the intermission. Rachmaninov, to whose sonata and four shorter pieces the second half was entirely devoted, thus acted as the mature executor of an East European, late-Romantic tradition. Already at the beginning, Rachmaninov had briefly appeared as arranger of Bach’s E major Violin Partita, giving the pianist the chance to roll some staccato sorceries off the cuff—a feature much less likely to be found in the ponderous and chordal pieces coming afterwards. Most charmingly, Chochieva succeeded in coalescing the sombrely glowing colours in the alternating performances of three Chopin and three Scriabin mazurkas. After that, she impressively introduced two late pieces by Franz Liszt as predecessors of Expressionist music. One of the Valse oubliées and the second Mephisto Waltz were both, despite their inherent splendor, presented in a sparse, skeletonised, and cubistically sharpened approach—heat and cold were not amalgamated to a lukewarm mélange but blended with each other in a flickering sonority.»
It has been roughly 180 years since Frederic Chopin composed his
piano etudes. In proficient hands, these brief musical exercises sound
as fresh and poignant as the time when Chopin first created them. On the
fingertips of a fearless and imaginative master, they become individual
masterpieces in their own right.
Such was Zlata Chochieva’s entrancing performance as a part of the
Gilmore Keyboard Festival 2017-2018 Rising Stars Series on Sunday
afternoon. Relatively new to U.S. audiences, the Moscow-born artist
demonstrated formidable command of technique and poetic prowess as her
music-making unfolded organically and sublimely during the sold-out
(…) With a narrative touch and sensitivity to musical phrasing, she
extracted the poetry and unearthed the emotional depths of each study.
Her creative use of pacing allowed every note to sing, and her relaxed
approach to daunting passages transformed every chromatic octave and
rapid arpeggio into a delicate wisp of sound.
Sergei Rachmaninoff is a favorite composer of Chochieva’s, and her
performance of his “Variations on a Theme of Chopin” — in which the
Russian giant rewrote Chopin’s Prelude in C minor 22 different ways —
conveyed her reverence. From moodiness to luminousness, from tenderness
to sheer power, Chochieva delivered what the music demanded with a turn
of her own ingenuity. Many interpretations of the work dwell on the
sulky side, but Chochieva’s take was one of pure elegance. Her sixth
variation was presented with a hushed, Romantic style, and while her
tenth variation did convey storminess, she added contrast with a
Another common critique of the piece is that it often feels
incoherent and rambling, but in Chochieva’s hands it never felt
prolonged or dubious. She adroitly made the main theme clear throughout,
and focused on the inherent character of each variation until they
escalated into a thrilling and sonorous maelstrom of a finale. After an
ardent standing ovation, Chochieva played Nikolai Medtner’s “Canzona
Serenata,” an obscure piece to which several members of the audience
were happily introduced.
As validated by Sunday’s performance, the 32-year-old possesses a
musical maturity that surpasses many of her peers. Chochieva’s lack of
hesitancy in the face of assumed expectations is refreshing, as is her
commitment to unveiling the beauty behind every note.”
“… Chochieva, though, is the real discovery; her account of the two sets of Études-Tableaux, performances of huge emotional scope and intense drama, are as fine as any on disc, while she revels in the dark textures of the First Sonata and makes the Chopin Variations seem a much more convincing work than it can often seem.”Read more...
“Études-Tableaux – Rachmaninov
Over faltering, metrically bumpy marching steps: as though chiseled, a syncopated melody full of internal tension. As soon as the first bars of the F minor Etude op. 33 No. 1 begin, it becomes clear that an extraordinary pianistic personality is at work here.
This music can seldom be heard to be so embossed with differentiation, metalically sprung and dynamic as under the hands of the Russian Zlata Chochieva. Her compatriot Sergei Rachmaninov would certainly have enjoyed this playing. The multi-layered, broad, and full-bodied lines of his piano music demand performers who are able to transcend technical difficulties, and to sweep them into a realm of blazing autumnal colours. The textures of these virtuoso etudes, which appeared from 1914, can give rise to moments of cosmopolitan vitality and a deep, genuinely felt, Slavic-toned melancholy, light tonal lyricism, and a sometimes opulently expansive splendour. It is part of the interpreter’s art to realise a lively balance – and Zlata Chochieva is constantly active in the quivering nervous network of the music.
The composer’s etudes have, on occasion, been criticised for a lack of any remarkable inspiration. Zlata Chochieva’s playing, however, relegates any such suggestions to clear falsehoods. With energetic accuracy and impeccable technique, this wonderful musician manages to open up the inner vastness of a fascinatingly lively world and make it transparent. Last but not least, the persuasiveness of her interpretations is also based on an unerring feeling for the architectural disposition of the pieces, which forms the basis for the occasional almost improvisatory gesture of blazing passion.”
“… Anyone tackling these works needs a virtuoso technique, and that
she clearly has. But with so many excellent pianists out there these
days, it’s hard to be awed by that sort of thing, even though it
represents world-class talent and years of hard work. What really
distinguished her playing was an extraordinary richness of tone, a
sensitivity to the musical phrase and the way she used her first-class
technical skills to serve the music.
In Rachmaninoff’s rarely heard Variations on a Theme of Chopin, all
of Chochieva’s virtues were on display. Her technique was so solid that
she could spin complex embroideries of notes with both hands at high
speed, yet with the main melodic line always clear, phrasing and pacing
it in a manner to make it sing. The work is full of those big
Rachmaninoff melodic climaxes familiar to anyone who knows his piano
concertos, and she played these passages as powerful anthems, drawing an
orchestral sonority from the instrument.
From Scriabin, she first played his early Piano Sonata No. 2.
Throughout the work, but particularly in the lyric and melancholy second
theme, which could have come from the pen of Chopin, she played in a
deeply felt manner, personal without being self-indulgent, drawing
attention to the composition rather than the interpretation. She played
the concluding Presto at stunningly high speed, but with a force and
drive that never let it become a blur.
Scriabin’s Sonata No. 9, known as the “Black Mass,” offered an
entirely different work in tone and harmonic language. Chochieva entered
into its pensive, eerie mood and brought a rumbling, clanging power to
the wild, increasingly dissonant passages with which the work ended.
Rachmaninoff’s Etudes-tableaux, Op. 33, are a series of short pieces,
each with a different color and mood. From thundering virtuosity to
intimate melodic passages, Chochieva delivered whatever the music
required. In even the most rapid-fire passages, her technique never
turned brittle, always producing sounds that were rounded and sonorous.
As an encore, she gave a smooth and delicate performance of Rachmaninoff’s Daisies.”
David FleshlerRead more...
“A famous pianist (I shan’t say who) to whom I was speaking recently said I really should hear this young Russian pianist Zlata Chochieva in the Chopin Etudes. ‘It is,’ averred my informant, ‘the greatest I’ve ever heard.’ Quite a claim.
I’ve now listened to this disc several times and all I can say is that in each of the 27 studies Chochieva comes as close as anyone to how I hear the ideal performance in my head, or as I would wish to play them had I the ability to do so. Right from the opening C major study, as in many others, she finds some extramusical narrative beyond the text that I find profoundly moving. Taken as read are a superlative technique and an ideal recorded sound (from engineer Peter Arts). No details are overlooked yet without drawing undue attention to them: note the staccato markings of the A minor study (richly voiced by Chochieva, the left hand sounds almost like a plucked string bass) and also in the second subject of No 3, a good example of the meltingly lovely tone Chochieva produces. No 4, so often tossed off as a finger sprint (Richter, Cziffra), is given room to breathe while still being played presto and con fuoco.
I could go on picking out highlights from each study – the question-and-answer voicing in No 9, the subtle rubato in Op 25 No 1, the infamous studies in thirds and sixths in which, simultaneously, Chochieva reminds us of Chopin the contrapuntalist – moments and passages which made me listen afresh to these familiar works and, in some cases, hear things of which I had been previously unaware. The greatest on disc? I don’t know; but it is certainly one of the most consistently inspired, masterfully executed and beautiful-sounding versions I can recall.”
Jeremy NicholasRead more...
“Zlata Chochieva is a young, Moscow-born pianist who has been making the rounds of international competitions. She studied with Mikhail Pletnev, among others. Like most young Russian pianists recording today, excellent technique is a given with her. But more importantly, Chochieva is a Chopin player of style and charm.
The closest approximation I know of on CDs to Chochieva’s account of the études is the excellent version by Juana Zayas. Both Zayas and Chochieva make full use of the widest dynamic range of their instruments to bring Chopin’s tone pictures to fruition. Also, neither pianist (perhaps naturally) exhibits the machismo to show how extraordinary their chops are in executing these pieces. For example, Zayas only takes a minute longer to traverse the canonical 24 études than Andrei Gavrilov does, while Chochieva takes just two minutes more; yet Gavrilov sounds rushed and occasionally cluttered compared with the two ladies. There are some important differences, though, between Zayas and Chochieva. The latter observes greater and suppler freedom in tempo than Zayas, almost in an old school manner. Given this and the fact that Zayas strives more often for a generically large tone, Zayas’s performances can feel somewhat anonymous compared with Chochieva’s. And Chochieva employs a whole additional world of sound in her pedaling, which is thoughtful and judicious while always giving life to her tone quality. For a young pianist, Chochieva presents us with a most accomplished and striking set of the études.
Among the highlights of Chochieva’s études, the filigree in the right hand of op. 10/2 is exceptionally gentle and alluring. No. 3 is chaste in manner. Chochieva portrays No. 5’s Vivace with a twinkle in her eye. She succeeds in gracefully rendering the counterpoint in No. 7. No. 9’sAgitato is implied with the subtlest rumination of unease. No. 11 evokes the fashionable aristocratic salon. For the first étude of op. 25, Chochieva supplies a plush tone that is evocatively sostenuto. She displays unusual attention to rhythmic acuity in No. 3. The B section of No. 5 contains the most touching representation of grief. No. 6 follows without a break; I cannot tell whether this was the artist’s choice or an editor’s mistake. Chochieva is exceptionally fleet-fingered here. She gives us a tragic view of life in No. 7, with a wonderful manipulation of the piano’s darker tones. Her right hand depicts storms and tempests in No. 11. The last of the op. 25 études is vibrant and exquisitely proportioned. For the third of theTrois Nouvelles Études, Chochieva paints a gentle pastel of shifting colors.
The sound engineering on the CD is very good, full-toned and glowing but with a slightly murky ambience. My favorite recordings of the études are by Louis Lortie and Abbey Simon; both display exquisite virtuosity and interpretive poise. But I am very impressed with Zlata Chochieva, and her CD will occupy a worthy place on my shelf. Her reading is unusually distinctive, especially mature and insightful for such a young pianist. You can add it to whatever accounts you have without fear of your interest cloying or its losing its freshness and imaginativeness.”
Dave SaemannRead more...
“Among myriads of brilliantly performed studies by Chopin, there are just few performances which, apart from virtuoso form, highlight the whole might of lyrics and ardent thrust of his “songs without words” so strongly that technical excellence becomes unimportant.
This poetic transformation of mere “exercise” is what a young and unrenowned Russian who has been appearing before public since she was eight was able to demonstrate. 29 years-old Zlata Chochieva tackles even the severest technical challenges easily and with lyrical finesse bringing a touch of sophisticated process into the melodic whirl. She turns everything of earthy and expressly objective nature into a profoundly romantic rustle of changing sounds, soft passages, and meaningful vocal lines. Her performance sounds dazzlingly a bit like an “old school” but with deliberate concentration on the essence of these unique musical pieces. Someone will probably want to see more clear contours and sharp profile of Chopin’s characters but these will be completely offset in the stormy final parts of both cycles by grandiose ability of Chochieva to emphasize nuances.”
Attila CsampaiRead more...
“The Études by Frédéric Chopin, Opus 10 and 25, composed between 1828 and 1836, prove various challenges in terms of technique of their playing. Yet they are full of refinement, expressiveness and feeling. Any pianist is tempted to make his own attempt at rendering their sentiments.
The Études should make imagination draw pictures of beauty and music, with all the technical difficulties fading away. This is the impression created by Zlata Chochieva, a young pianist from Russia, who had made her remarkable debut with less known piano pieces written by Rachmaninov. Some records of the Études may sound like exercises for fingers, but they revive like a book whose chapters are made of music pieces, as soon as the whole set is performed in one joining context. That is what we hear in Zlata Chochieva’s playing: in each piece, she seems to be telling a story which words are unable to express (op.25 no.7). Even though in fast Études – and generally – she opts for rather vivid tempo, she never robs the transparency of their contents. Technically, her playing is of good quality, seemingly effortless, and not too overburden with effects. Natural, sensual, powerful flow of music comes straight into soul. The pleasure she feels during playing turns into the pleasure one feels during listening. All in all, her playing can surely rival recordings of the famous pianists.”
Isabel FedrizziRead more...
“In 1995, newspapers were writing a lot about an 8-years old girl with a phenomenal manner of performing Mozart in Moscow concerts. Wonder kids often suffer unlucky fate but Zlata Chochieva managed to build a career of world class artist through continuing learning, seeking and receiving consultations from the world’s great pianists, and consistent efforts of doing away with flaws.
Today, she combines her unmatched technical skills with musical inventiveness and strong vision of style. All these make what cannot go unnoticed if you listen to her performance of Chopin studies attentively – her individual feeling. In performance of those sparkling and tricky pieces, Chochieva relies heavily on her exceptional skill, while for more orderly and poetic effusions of Chopin she allows “free play” to her own vision of the theme. Polyphony, dramatic pauses, rapidly changing registers, and voluminous chords still supporting the melody with at least a single note inside are all dazzling the listeners. Like, for example, the Study 25 No. 7 where the choice of interpretations is available. Lugging the listeners away with her graceful play, she does not afford herself even a second of over-indulgence with romantic manner. She may elect a metrically unconstrained rubato, but then again, by surprise, her Steinway will run a rigorous and rhythmical study.”
Jos van der ZandenRead more...
“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
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
Robert CummingsRead more...
“The young Russian pianist Zlata Chochieva belongs to the group “highly promising”, and is even above that. At least judging from the recording of two rarely played works by Rachmaninoff, which were once premiered in the same concert: the Chopin Variations and the First Sonata.
The Russian, who is already playing the main podia of the world, not only amazes us with her effortless technique but also with her instinct for what is behind the notes, a world which she opens up without any trace of artificiality. In her hands variations are more than mere athletic exercises. She grabs the essentials, she deepens and enervates, while playing with the Chopin theme, all with the greatest ease and naturalness. And then the Sonata, after personages from Goethe’s Faust: what colours and what understanding of the inner drama. She will become one of the ‘greats’ – in fact, she already is.”
Rudolf NammensmaRead more...
Review of Rachmaninov album (Chopin Variations Op. 22, Piano Sonata No. 1 / Piano Classics / 2012)
“London recording label “Piano Classics” presents two virtuoso and
rarely sounding works by Rachmaninoff in his “golden age” performed by
the young Zlata Chochieva.
The experts will appreciate the choice of the young pianist, the amateurs will be attracted by the interpretation.
Flexible, fresh performance without any tendency to imitation, splendid
sound together with the almost meticulously organized form – it is a
wonderful work by the talented Muscovite.”
“The young pianist Zlata Chochieva could have found more popular works for her debut album for Piano Classics label. Courageously and powerfully she dashes for Rachmaninoff’s Chopin Variations op. 22.
Piano sonata No. 1 d-moll op. 28 usually stays in the shadow of the later b flat minor sonata as well (this work is usually preferred by CD debutants). Gloomily feels Zlata the dramaturgical development of the work; after all, Rachmaninoff’s sonata No. 1 follows Liszt’s “Faust-Symphony”, its three movements representing Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. Technically brilliant, clear and stringent plays the pianist Chopin Variations. She might have made a more brilliant display with other works, however Zlata Chochieva courageously demonstrates a profound acquaintance with the works of the young Rachmaninoff.”
Anja RenczikowskiRead more...
“Zlata Chochieva is a pianist’s pianist and the booklet quotes
glowing comments from Stephen Kovacevich and Pascal Devoyon about her
playing with Kovacevich remarking that he would be “interested to hear
anything she does … and that is rare”. This disc fully justifies their
opinions. The disc is highly enjoyable and I never felt that the works
were over-long or of dubious value; on the contrary I found them
thrilling in the extreme and couldn’t wait to play them again and
Steve ArloffRead more...
“… 28 year old Zlata Chochieva, the possessor of a comprehensive technique who brings an inner glow to every bar. Her playing is indelibly Russian in its fullness and warmth, backed by dauntless and easy command.
What hallucinatory play of light and shade in in Var. 2, what lightness and brilliance in the skittering waltz patterns of Var. 21. Choosing the wild virtuoso interlocked chording close to the set, she then goes on to play the First Sonata with a wonder of delicacy and power. Poetic and pianistic command could hardly go further…”
Bryce MorrisonRead more...
“Notwithstanding the intense romantic passion Zlata Chochieva approaches the radiant inner world of Mozart’s concerto no.27 with the aid of Wallonie Chamber Orchestra, apparently charmed by her introspective performance and assisting her in terms of tense, passionate and effervescent musicality.
The dialogue between Zlata Chochieva and the orchestra is performed in a continuous search for Mozart’s harmony.
Allegro, which was played “a-la-Zlata”, so to say, edgy, brightly, sometimes ‘rapidamente’, emphasizes the adolescent character of Mozart’s concerto.
So we have a brilliant performer, who without any intrusion suggests us a noble and strained breakthrough.”
“The performance of Zlata Chochieva has become a real revelation. Nothing distracted in this neat silhouette bent over the piano. Her playing impresses by lightness and unordinary inwardness.
In Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes she presents the theme clearly and nobly. This person of figure has totally natural sounds on the forte. She puts down her hands on the keys and they produce a sound of a powerful inner strength.
When Schumann resorts to a mystery, she follows him. We walk on mazy paths so as to reach a culmination in apotheosis.
Zlata Chochieva knows what the hell is and one can feel it in Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata, in performance of which her remarkable strength makes the piece sound powerfully, unexpectedly and expressively.
The final part is developed in a long crescendo, in constant pulsation on the way to reach a cosmic explosion. With the same undivided attention, which she had when appeared on stage, Zlata Chochieva left the stage in spite of uproarious applause of the audience. People will talk about it…”
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