To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth we are reissuing on Helios some of the finest performances from Garrick Ohlsson’s complete Chopin project, originally recorded for the American label Arabesque and reissued on Hyperion as a 16 CD boxed set CDS44351/66) in 2008. Sadly unacknowledged at the time of their original issue (very few of the original discs received much review coverage), these CDs include some of the greatest contemporary Chopin playing and include definitive performances of the complete etudes and mazurkas. It’s worth remembering the not only did Garrick win the 1970 Chopin competition (the only American to do so), but he also won the special prize for Mazurka playing, that most idiomatically Polish genre of Chopin’s output.
In Op. 10, he is just about unsurpassed in the gruelling A minor study, and he flutters beautifully in the seventh study, which he takes really fast. If anything, he is even better in Op. 25, controlled and disciplined, never indulging in the sort of rhythmic licence that disguises technical shortcomings. He has a dark side, too, revealed in Op. 10/6 and Op. 25/7. BBC Music Magazine