While I have previously heard of pianist Janina Fialkowska, she is certainly not very well known. Yet, she’s a solid member of the large collection of highly competent artists who gave us Chopin collections on CD’s to celebrate the composer’s birthday! This recording was issued October, 2009.
Janina Fialkowska was born in Montréal in 1951. She studied in Montréal with Yvonne Hubert (who also taught Marc-André Hamelin and Louis Lortie) before going to Paris to work with Yvonne Lefébure and then to New York with Sasha Gorodnitzki. In the early 1970’s she won first prize in the first International Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition; as a result, she became a protégée of Rubinstein.
Fialkowska’s technique is solid and amazing: It is clean, precise, and exciting. Nothing is murky or covered over. One can hear no better performance of the Barcarolle in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 60; here is one outstanding artist who has thought through and figured out all the nuances of what Chopin wanted us to hear. Learning with a master like Rubinstein clearly had its payoff!
We get a varied program of Waltzes, Preludes, the Barcarolle Op. 60, Ballade #3, Scherzo No. 1, Polonaise No. 1, and other Chopin masterpieces; 14 tracks in all.
There is extensive praise of Fialkowska’s playing in the press. Here’s an example:
“Fialkowska plays Chopin with a warmth, poetry, and detail of phrasing that is disappointingly rare today; she places her gifts at the composer’s feet…”
Russell Platt, THE NEW YORKER online Dec 14, 2009
Here is Janina Fialkowska in the Moszkowski Piano Concerto E major Op. 59; First movement: