Paul Bissacia, piano

Sonata No. 2, Op. 35 "Funeral March"

  • Grave: Doppio movimento

  • Scherzo

  • Marche funèbre: Lento

  • Finale: Presto

Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in E-Flat

Ballade No. 1 Op. 23 in G minor

Waltz Op. 18 in E-Flat

Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp Minor
Op. 66

Preludes Op. 28

  • G Major

  • E Minor

  • A Major

  • B Minor

  • C Minor

  • D-Flat Major "Raindrop"

Polonaise Op. 40 No. 1 in A Major "Military"

Polonaise in A-flat Op. 53 "Heroic"

Total Playing Time 73:57

About the music:

When I was young my father took me to hear a concert by the great pianist Arthur Rubinstein. I consider it a magical omen that this concert by Rubinstein was the very first piano recital I ever attended. We sat right up in the front row so we wouldn't miss anything. On this special evening I was given the blue print for what a real piano recital was all about and I am forever grateful.

The second half of Rubinstein's program was, of course, all Chopin. He played it with nobility, poetry, finesseóa gorgeous soundóI was enraptured. Any pianist who plays Chopin in the second half of the twentieth century must acknowledge the debt owed to Rubinstein. Harold C. Schonberg in his book The Great Pianists called him "the greatest living Chopinist."

In 1960 Rubinstein wrote an article for The New York Times in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Chopin's birth. In it he said "Chopin was a genius of universal appeal. His music conquers the most diverse audiences. When the first notes of Chopin sound through the concert hall there is a happy sigh of recognition. All over the world men and women know his music. They love it. They are moved by it. Yet it is not Romantic music in the Byronic sense. It does not tell stories or paint pictures. It is expressive and personal, but still a pure art. Even in this abstract atomic age, where emotion is not fashionable, Chopin endures. His music is the universal language of human communication. When I play Chopin I know I speak directly to the hearts of people!"

I have played most of the music on this disc for decades, and as you can imagine it is layered with many memories besides those of Rubinstein. I remember performing this music as a student, playing this music for friends in private homes and intimate gatherings, practicing now as I overlook the shimmering waters of Cape Cod Bay. I cherish the spellbinding performances of Chopin by my own extraordinary teacher Luiz de Moura Castro. He once told me "I find Chopin indispensable."

Here, then, is my own memory-laden and very personal collection of Chopin. How could it be otherwise?

--Paul Bisaccia, Provincetown, Massachusetts