Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leszek Mozdzer – Impressions On Chopin (2010)

Leszek Mozdzer - piano
guest
Madjid Khaladj - tombak

MAGIC 602527489612






By Adam Baruch

This album by Polish Jazz superstar pianist / composer Leszek Mozdzer presents him exploring the music of the great Polish composer Frederic Chopin by playing his very personal interpretations of fourteen of Chopin's pieces. Of the fifteen tracks on this album thirteen are performed on solo piano and two are duets between Mozdzer and Iranian (living in Paris) percussionist Madjid Khaladj. The album was recorded in Paris and initially released on the prestigious French Naïve label, with a later Polish edition.

This is not the first album by Mozdzer, which is dedicated to Chopin's music. In fact one of his first albums "Chopin Impressions" from 1994 already explored the similar avenue. Like many other Polish Jazz players (mostly pianists), who rode the Chopin "wave" since the early 1990s and continue to do so to this day, Mozdzer jumped on the wagon, using it as another step in his way to the top of the local scene. Playing some Chopin is considered bon ton and obviously tickles the patriotic feelings in listeners, fans, critics and state bureaucrats. The artistic merits of such explorations are an entirely different issue.

Mozdzer is undoubtedly a virtuoso piano player, capable of playing virtually anything. He is also a very charismatic performer and his good looks make him the ladies' Adonis. The question is, if beneath all those external characteristics one can find a great Jazz musician or is Mozdzer just a more sophisticated version of Richard Clayderman? It's not for me to provide a decisive answer to this dilemma, but judging from this album, there is surely very little Jazz involved here. Mozdzer freely interprets Chopin's compositions, playing around with tempi, adding almost Baroque ornaments and endless arpeggios. Stylistically he dresses up the Chopin pieces in disguises parallel to the various Jazz sub-genres, from Ragtime to Swing, or ventures into atmospheric New Age doodling. Of course there are some great moments herein, even glimpses of brilliance, but they are lost in the overall impression.

Of course I respect the "de gustibus non est disputandum" approach, but personally I find this music sort of intellectually offending. Much ado about nothing more or less summarizes it perfectly. I'm sure many people love this music totally, which is fine with me, but where I come from one does not tackle profound, almost sacred music, unless one has something truly intense to say.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...