Claire Huangci proves herself to be a vividly expressive interpreter of Chopin, the first since Artur Rubinstein to offer a complete cycle of the Nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin. During her background research work into Chopin’s oeuvre she repeatedly came across poems by French authors such as Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo and Tristan Corbière. She began to form associations and found a poem contemporary to each of Chopin’s nocturnes. You will find the links between poetry and music in the CD booklet. Claire Huangci herself explains:
“They may add a further dimension to your listening pleasure, so that everyone can conjure up an image of what I see as I play. I do hope that these lovely verses will act as an impetus to allow listeners’ fantasy to take flight and to create their very own Chopin diary.” This approach is proof of Claire Huangci’s artistic maturity – an approach that will open up new avenues in our appreciation of Chopin.
Frédéric Chopin was a special pioneer in Claire Huangci’s eyes. The child prodigy became acquainted with his works at a very young age and grew up with them. They were decisive to her personal development and artistic career, which took off at an early stage on an international level thanks to concert performances, arts grants and a host of awards. This resulted in a virtuoso life of short-distance and long-haul flights, juggling appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Osaka’s Symphony Hall or the Gewandhaus in Leipzig with life at home in Philadelphia. She has played with a host of orchestras including the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony and the Moscow Radio Symphony. Accompanying her on her journey, so to speak, were not just her teachers, such as Eleanur Sokoloff, Gary Graffman and Arie Vardi, but the composer Frédéric Chopin: she owes her artistic breakthrough to his music. Time and again she has analysed, documented and profiled Chopin. Claire Huangci has brought together all of this experience and these insights on her new album, forming them into a “Chopin Diary”.
The Nocturnes are the epitome of Chopin’s artistic work. They attest to the composer’s emotions on the cusp of the Romantic era and are simultaneously evidence of a restless life that hung between his artistic popularity, his dire state of health and an uncertain future. Composed in an atmosphere of domestic security, as night fell, they reflect his stimulating artistic day-to-day life. They are deemed to be perfect in form, combining all stylistically defining moods in a virtuosic form that to this day is unsurpassed. Some of the total of 21 Nocturnes form part of the standard repertoire for young pianists, yet Claire Huangci’s approach to them is a highly personal, unique one: “With her differentiated agogic approach and superior technique, Claire Huangci proved that she is now the most expressive Chopin performer of her generation,” according to Gerd Kurat of the Südkurier newspaper. She rounds off the programme with the Nocturne Oubliée and the Etude in C sharp minor, recorded together with cellist Tristan Cornut.