Fazil Say, a classical pianist from Turkey usually doesn’t leave people cold. Its often a love it or hate it affair.
The first time I heard Fazil was in a duo with a similarly polarising artist, Patricia Kopachinskaya, playing the Beethoven sonatas. It was clearly a memorable concert. And while fro Kopachinskaya I really don´t like everything she does, I really admire her artistic courage and ambition. She´s always in there with all her heart.
Fazil Say seems also quite emotional, but at least from his performances, his emotions typically translate into very sensitive playing, whether he plays Western classical music, or his own compositions.
I omitted to write about his great recent complete Mozart sonatas cycle recording, which I can really recommend you check out. There is not one boring moment in there.
So I was really intrigued when Say released his very recent Chopin Nocturnes album.
Chopin: Nocturnes – Fazil Say (Warner 2017)
As expected, it is a beautiful recording. You get Say´s characteristic playfulness, sensitivity, interesting play with beautiful rubato.
The feeling you get is of a warm Mediterranean summer night. Chopin being one of the first tourists on Mallorca comes to mind, and Franz Liszt claimed the Nocturnes were inspired by Italian Bel Canto. Both very much apply here.
These are nuanced, intelligent interpretations. The only reproach I have is sometimes the tempi feel a bit fast.
Overall, Moravec´s legendary version not under threat of being kicked of the throne, but Say´s version is very much worth exploring. Recommended!
My rating: 4 stars
UPDATE Oct 1, 2017: Classic agrees, and gives this album 4 stars as well.