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Katya Grineva: The Complete Chopin Nocturnes

- CD Reviews
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Katya Grineva
The Complete Chopin Nocturnes
2018: MTC Productions

Katya Grineva on Piano

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 20, 2019

Read about Katya Grineva with Byron Duckwall at Weill Hall.

This two-CD album of the complete collection of Frédéric Chopin's Nocturnes, performed by Katya Grineva, who has been favorably reviewed on these pages over the years, reflects the pianist’s love of keyboard romanticism. She notes in the album that the Nocturnes are “suggestive of the twilight or evening and are sometimes called ‘night songs’, creating…yearning nostalgia”. As is well known, Chopin (1810-1849) performed at salons, where the audience was intimate in size and proximity. Chopin’s delightful, sensual, subtle, and melodic works are as fresh, magnetic, and transporting today as they were in the years from 1827 to 1846, when they were composed. Ms. Grineva performs Nocturnes No.’s 1-20, noting that No. 20 was published posthumously. Chopin’s first Nocturne was written at the age of 17, and the last at 36.

Katya Grineva, born in Moscow, is a Steinway artist. She has performed at Carnegie Hall on several occasions, often also as a benefit for non-profit organizations. She has also performed at Paris’ Salle Gaveau. She has collaborated on stage with the Acadiana Symphony, the ARS Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra, and the Manhattan Virtuosi Orchestra.

Read about Chopin here.

Notable tracks (It was impossible to choose among Ms. Grineva’s 20 elegant tracks of Chopin Nocturnes, but these are four highlights):

#5 – Nocturne No. 5 in F Sharp, Op. 15, No. 2 –Nocturne No. 5, like many of the Chopin Nocturnes, is heard in a variety of elegant ballets. Choreographers, Jerome Robbins for one, designed romantic, comedic, and dramatic ballets with Chopin’s music, sometimes Nocturnes, to infuse the rapture and conflicts portrayed in the pas de deux and poignant solos. This particular Nocturne, languorous and fluid, has a silken quality, ethereal, and dreamlike. It is nurturing and soothing to the listener.

#7 – Nocturne No. 7 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 1 – Chopin added emotional angst in the central minutes of this compelling Nocturne. The listener can hear the young man mature with the years, and you’ll be inspired to read about Chopin’s salons, Poland, and Paris in the early-mid-1800’s. I prefer the Nocturnes in minor key, with more pathos and yearning. As a ballet score, one can envision the ballerina tossing herself and spinning en air against her partner’s torso to this melodramatic music.

#14 – Nocturne No. 14 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 48, No. 2 – Although I have listened to Chopin Nocturnes for my entire life, in concert, in recordings, in ballets, in film scores, in theatrical productions, the Nocturne No. 14 was one of the least familiar. Ms. Grineva played this, the longest track at seven minutes and 32 seconds, with stunning sophistication and luminosity. One could be inspired to create poetry or prose while listening to this absorbing selection of Chopin’s masterpieces. Ms. Grineva’s unrushed pianistic styling is essential to the listening experience.

#19 – Nocturne No. 19 in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 1 – This next to final Nocturne is actually the one most familiar to me, as I have heard it played in intimate performance on many occasions. It is the most challenging, from my viewpoint, with rapid treble waterfalls and tumultuous, impassioned phrasing. The psychic agitation and tempestuousness of this late Nocturne is so gripping that one immediately wants to hear it again, and again. I recommend purchasing this album by Katya Grineva. She plays these 20 Chopin Nocturnes with polished and commendable artistry.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at