Chopin’s music had been absent from Fray’s active repertoire for some 15 years before he recorded this recital, which comprises seven of the composer’s nocturnes, three mazurkas, a polonaise, a waltz and an impromptu. When Fray talks about Chopin – who died in Paris in 1849 aged just 39, having exercised a transformative influence on the piano repertoire – it becomes clear that he sees the composer’s work in archetypally Romantic terms: “For me, Chopin’s music is very fragile, vaporous, perfumed … somewhat intangible. It is so fluid and evanescent – you need to feel that it could just disappear at any moment. What makes it so touching is this ephemeral quality – the mazurkas are like something that you write in the sand … You know that it will be washed away, but the memory will remain. His music palpitates with a sense of the unexpected, the inspiration of the moment. If you tried to engrave it into marble, it would die.”
With this recital of Chopin – selections from the nocturnes and mazurkas, a polonaise and a waltz – David Fray returns to the composer’s music after a long break. “Chopin is an island, something of a closed world,” he says. “Perhaps that’s why I didn’t want to approach his music too early … It is so fluid and evanescent – like something that you write in the sand … You know that it will be washed away, but the memory will remain.”
“I had put Chopin to one side and wasn’t even sure whether I would play him again one day,” says the French pianist David Fray. Chopin’s music had been absent from Fray’s active repertoire for some 15 years before he recorded this recital. It takes its place in the catalogue of Erato recordings that Fray, now 35, has been building with care and reflection since 2008, and which also contains music by Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Boulez.