When I was young my father took me to hear a concert by the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein. I considered it a magical omen that this concert by Rubinstein was the very first piano recital I ever attended. We sat right up in the front row so we wouldn't miss anything. On this special evening I was given a blue print for what a real piano recital was all about and I am forever grateful.
The second half of the Rubinstein's program was, of course, Chopin. He played it with nobility, poetry, finesse - a gorgeous sound- I was enraptured. Any pianist who played Chopin in the second half of the twentieth century must acknowledge the debt owed to Rubinstein. Harold C. Schonberg in his book The Great Pianists called him "the greatest living Chopinist."
In 1960 Rubinstein wrote an article for The New York Times in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Chopin's birth. In it he said "Chopin was a genius of universal appeal. His music conquers the most diverse audiences. When the first notes of Chopin sound throught the concert hall there is a happy sigh of recognition. All over the world men and women know his music. They love it, they are moved by it. Even in this abstract atomic age where emotion is unfashionable Chopin endures. His music is the universal language of human communication.
When I play Chopin I know I speak directly to the hearts of people."
I have played most of the music on this disc for decades, and as you can imagine it is layered with many memories besides those of Rubinstein. I remember performing this music as a student, playing the music for friends in private homes and intimate gatherings, practicing now as I overlook the shimmering waters of Cape Cod Bay. I cherish the spellbinding performances of Chopin by my own extraordinary teacher Luiz de Moura Castro. He once told me "I find Chopin indespensable."
Here then is my own memory-laden and very personal collection of Chopin. How could it be otherwise?
Paul Bisaccia, Provincetown MA
check out Bisaccia videos from his PBS television shows on youtube.com
Critical acclaim for Bisaccia:
"A magical evening which just got better and better... completely passionate in his performance."
The Barrie Examiner Ontario
'Delivered with power, poignancy, authority and aplomb"
Worcester Telegram Gazette
"His fabulous encore with plenty of scintillating, puckish fingerwork on the ivories." The Straits Times, Singapore
"Bisaccia brought the audience to their feet with genuine spontaneous cheers erupting out of sheer joy." Steinway Society of the Bay Area (CA)
"Bisaccia is a serious artist with a compelling presence at the piano."
"For Gershwin interpretations Bisaccia wins hands down." American Record Guide
"You really must hear him!" Brasilia Super Radio FM Brazil
"Earnest vivacity and sparkling virtuosity... infectious excitement." Union-News Springfield (MA)
"George Gershwin would have joined the audience in the standing ovation at the conclusion of 'Rhapsody in Blue'. " The Hartford Courant (CT)
"Prepare to be dazzled!" OnCenter Arts Quarterly,
Hilton Head SC
"It just proves that talent always prevails in these times of mediocrity.Consummate musicianship. " Michael Feinstein