‘Brian Ganz Chopin Project’ at The Music Center at Strathmore by Francine Schwartz

Saturday night at The Music Center at Strathmore, Brian Ganz continued his quest to play, and to record, “every single note Chopin composed.” The Ganz Project, of which this is the third installment at the Strathmore, is expected to take ten years as Chopin’s oeuvre contains at least 250 works. It’s a major commitment, but it allows Ganz to immerse himself in what he calls the “small world” of his favorite composer. According to Ganz, Chopin’s focus on miniatures is provocative. What, he speculates is meant by the proliferation of Preludes. Preludes to what? Ganz  believes that the discipline of brief pieces reflects an editing out and a sampling of potential other pieces which Chopin chose not to write or from which the essence was retained.


For the third concert in his Chopin Project, Ganz played Chopin’s great work, and a favorite, the 24 Préludes, Op. 28.

Other miniatures on the program included the 5 Mazurkas, Op. 7 and the rarely heard Trois Écossaises Op. 72, three short Scottish dances.  Some pieces Chopin never got around to naming, so they are called by tempo marking, the Lento con Gran Espressione in C-sharp minor, and the Presto con Leggerezza in A-flat major. Starting from briefer pieces, Ganz included two of Chopin’s larger works, the Ballades Nos. 1 and 3. The diverse lengths and tempo of these pieces kept the audience attentive and charmed. Ganz was entertaining on the topic of Chopin’s instructions, for example pointing out that one piece held the instruction to close “without end.” The pianist’s version of this is to make a closing phrase repeat with hands held not on the keys, but above them.

Future Brian Ganz Chopin Projects recitals will include all the chamber music and songs as well as the complete solo works, including each version of every mazurka and waltz. Ganz will also play little known works as the Little Fugue in A minor, Two Bourrées and the variation Chopin wrote for Hexameron, a rarely heard work initiated by Chopin’s friend, composer and pianist Franz Liszt.

“I’m excited to share works with Chopin lovers that they may never have heard before.”

Brian Ganz. Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.
Brian Ganz. Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.

The complete Brian Ganz Chopin Project program on January 19, 2013 included  Frédéric Chopin’s 5 Mazurkas, Op. 7; Trois Ecossaises, Op. 72, No. 3; Lento con Gran Espressione in C-sharp minor; Presto con Leggerezza in A-flat major; Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23; Ballade No. 3 in A-flat major, Op. 47; and the 24 Préludes, Op. 28.

Running Time: One hour and 25 minutes, with a short intermission.

Brian Ganz Chopin Project was performed on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at The Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. Click here for their calendar of events.

Listen to Brian play Chopin.
Brian Ganz’s website.


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