Chopin wrote only three pieces with the word Fantaisie in the title. I had never thought about that and found it a little surprising, having listened to all three of these pieces for decades. I would have guessed more. The pieces and performances here are very good, but make up an unusually short disc. It is the complete genre and stylistically varied, composed from 1835 to 1846. The Fazioli concert grand piano Nones plays was recorded at the Fazioli Concert Hall and is as good it gets these days. Nones also provides a lengthy and informative booklet essay.
The playing here is well-shaped and less virtuosic than most. The opening Fantaisie-Impromptu flows nicely in the outer sections and the middle melodic section known to everyone gets a freer interpretation. The Fantaisie is a complex work that get a superb performance here. The opening and recurring march section is mostly in dotted rhythms and Nones gives just the right snap without overdoing it. The second section, more lyrical with flowing triplets, is quite beautiful. Agitato brings straight eighth note thirds in the right hand against triplets in the left and more technically demanding writing for the piano. The central hymn-like Lento is a wonderful respite before the return of the other sections. Special note of the Adagio cadenza just before the final bars – a more beautifully shaped phrase could not be asked for. The Polonaise-Fantaisie was first referred to by Chopin as “Something I don’t know what to call.” Nones is more stately than declamatory in the opening and offers a less weighty and more dance-like interpretation that works quite well.
Here are the Fantaisies, all in one neat little, well-recorded package that makes you want more from this pianist. Convivium states that they plan to release Nones’s recording of the complete Mazurkas in the near future. I will be on the lookout for that one.