GMCD 7186 – Mazurkas & Sonatas op. 35 by Chopin with Michel Block

Michel Block – Piano

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American Record Guide November / December 2000

We who have heard Michel Block play Chopin are eager to get our hands on any recordings of Chopin he has made. This one presents the problem of duplications.OM 80502 (July/Aug 1991) was the first issue of this material. But the OM disc had the sonata, three mazurkas, a nocturne, the Barcarolle, and the Second Ballade. Here the last three have been dropped and there are 13 mazurkas. And some of the added mazurkas were recorded again later by Michel Block for release on Pro Piano 224507 (May/June 1996). Those are very different performances, because Block is a moody pianist. Nor can I generalize about how they differ. The only thing I can say is that Block’s Chopin is wonderful, and I wouldn’t be without any of it. It’s played with full romantic sensibility and sensitivity. Tempos are mostly slow and indulgent, there’s loads of feeling, and the touch often seems to lack percussiveness entirely—to become pure tone. Everything here was recorded in Mexico City in 1990; the sound is very beautiful.