Music Media Review



Refined and Stylish Chopin Interpretations from Andrew Tyson's First CD Recording

January 12, 2015 - Hillsborough, NC:


Chopin: Preludes, Op. 28. Preludes 1-24, Op. 28, Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 45 (1841), (Prelude) in A flat, KK. IVb, No. 7 (1834), Impromptu in G flat, Op.51, and Three Mazurkas, Op. 59, Nos. 1-3. Andrew Tyson, piano.  374. DDD ©2014 TT: 50’48” $19.51 Outhere Music Group

The first CD recording by pianist Andrew Tyson has been eagerly awaited by both local music lovers and several CVNC reviewers who have followed the talented native of Hope Valley, Durham, NC from his winning the piano concerto competition at the 2002 Eastern Music Festival through increasingly sophisticated recitals and concerts resulting from a growing roster of competition winnings. Among them have been the 2011 Young Concert Artists International Piano Competition, The John Browning Memorial Prize, the fifth prize at the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition, and a 2013 Avery Fischer Career Grant.

Among his teachers have been Thomas Otten at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the late Claude Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School of Music.

This recording was made on a superb unidentified piano in the Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany. The acoustic seems spacious without any unnatural reverberation. The full dynamic range is beautifully captured as is Tyson’s refined kaleidoscope of color and tone. Nothing distracts from the gorgeous sound or the pianist’s imaginative touch.

Tyson has contributed a thoughtful preface about his approach to the Preludes, balancing “tension between spontaneity and craft” and imbuing notes with “as much ecstasy as the first note ever played.” The excellent, extensive program note is by Nicolas Dufetel.

It is wonderful to bask in the fantastic range of timbres Tyson conjures from the piano as if transported. Note the insouciant tune in the mazurka-like No. 7 in A, or the rippling notes in the barcarole-like No. 11 in B. All the nocturne essence is brought out in No. 13 in F sharp. My favorite, No. 15 in D flat is poignant and bittersweet while No. 16 in B flat is harrowing and stormy. No. 20 in C minor is a devastating funeral march that ends in silence. Tyson’s cultivated and finely graduated palette of color and tone is breath taking. The addition of the Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 45 and the (Prelude) in A flat of 1834 make this a complete set. The manuscript of the latter does not have “Prelude” in the title. The addition of Impromptu in G flat, Op. 51 and the three Mazurkas of Op. 59: No. 1 in A minor, No. 2 in A flat, and No. 3 in F sharp minor make a welcome treat!

Editor's Note: Robert McDonald, one of Tyson's teachers, was a guest performer at the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival at East Carolina University on January 9 and 10. Read the review of that performance here.