Sony Classical releases Fou Ts’Ong plays Chopin - The Complete CBS Album Collection

Sony Classical presents

Fou Ts’Ong plays Chopin

The Complete CBS Album Collection

Released November 12, 2021 | Preorder Now

- The first ever collection of Fou Ts’Ongs complete Chopin Recordings for CBS Masterworks on 10 CDs


- Includes full sets of Ballades, Nocturnes, Études, Préludes, and Mazurkas


- 3 out of 10 CDs remastered from the original master tapes


- Original LP sleeves and labels, booklet with full discographical notes

Fou Ts’ong’s name, the pianist told the London Independent, means “good ear.” Born in Shanghai on March 10, 1934, he was the first Chinese pianist to achieve international recognition. Fou began lessons in 1940 and continued to study during and after World War II with Mario Paci, an Italian pianist and conductor of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra. During a cultural exchange visit to Poland in 1954 with other Chinese musicians, singers and dancers, Fou’s playing impressed his hosts, who convinced him to compete at the International Chopin Competition the following year. Although Fou placed third (behind second prize winner Vladimir Ashkenazy and gold medalist Adam Harasiewicz), he won a special award for his interpretation of Chopin Mazurkas.

Fou’s success led him to accept a scholarship to study at the Warsaw Conservatory, where he worked with Zbigniew Drzewiecki, whom Fou later described as being his only serious teacher. After the competition, Drzewiecki pulled Fou aside and said, “Ts’ong, you are very special case – so individual. You have your own ideas and I don’t really want you to come to lessons that often. I am only here to guide you when you go out of your way, to ensure that you keep your individual approach to music.”

On Christmas Eve 1958, Fou boarded a plane from Warsaw to London. He applied for political asylum and remained based in London for the rest of his life.

Although the pianist embraced a broad repertoire that spanned from Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart and Beethoven to the New York-based contemporary composer Soong Fu Yuan, Fou remains best known for his Chopin. “I feel very strongly about Chopin – I just love him,” Fou told writer Tim Stein. “But if you ask me my personal feelings about him, I wouldn’t say he is the greatest composer of all time. He is, however, the greatest ’artist’ of a composer, if you know what I mean. And in that sense, I think he appeals very much to us Orientals. There is just that incredible quality of taste and subtlety.”

Piano mavens and collectors will welcome the opportunity to experience Fou’s Sony Chopin recordings as reissued here all together for the first time. Gramophone’s Max Harrison praised the pianist’s sensitive perception in the Polonaise-Fantaisie, and the excellent playing throughout both books of Études. “In [the B minor Sonata] Op. 58,” wrote Harrison, “one may regret the omission of the first movement exposition repeat, but this is a considerably successful interpretation. Indeed, it is among the best current readings, civilized and elegant, and displaying the same refined pianistic craft as Opp. 49, 57 and 60, especially in the slow movement.” Likewise, James Methuen-Campbell, author of the extensive study Chopin Playing: From the Composer to the Present Day, singled out several Nocturnes: “The visionary aspect of the C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 1 is compellingly portrayed and the complicated polyphonic shifts of the E-flat, Op. 55 No. 2 come off with splendid refinement and suave pianism.”

Fou’s playing also gained praise from fellow musicians. In 1965, Martha Argerich acknowledged the influence of his recordings when she won the International Chopin Competition. The Chinese pianist Lang Lang has described Fou as a role model, praising his “unique” understanding of music.

Fou was nominated for a Grammy for most promising new classical artist in 1963 for a recording of Scarlatti’s sonatas. In 1964, he made his New York recital debut at Town Hall. He subsequently returned to New York several times. He was a member of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition’s jury and also served on the jury of the Chopin Competition and on the jury of the Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition.

Fou died of COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic in England in London on 28 December 2020 at age 86.

Set contents:

DISC 1:

Chopin: Fantaisie in F Minor, Op. 49: Marcia. Grave (Remastered)

Chopin: Barcarolle, Op. 60: Allegretto in F-Sharp Major (Remastered)

Chopin: Berceuse, Op. 57: Andante in D-Flat Major (Remastered)

Chopin: Polonaise-fantaisie, Op. 61: Allegro maestoso in A-Flat Major (Remastered)

Chopin: Marche funèbre in C Minor, Op. post. 72, No. 2 (Remastered)

Chopin: 3 Nouvelles études, B.130 (1840 Edition) (Remastered)

DISC 2:

Chopin: Nocturne in E Minor, Op. 72, No. 1: Andante in E Minor

Chopin: Nocturne, B. 49: Lento con gran espressione in C-Sharp Minor

Chopin: Nocturne in C Minor, Op. posth. (1837)

Chopin: Nocturnes, Op. 9

Chopin: 3 Nocturnes, Op. 15

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 27

DISC 3:

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 32

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 37

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 48

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 55

Chopin: 2 Nocturnes, Op. 62

DISC 4:

Chopin: Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35 (Remastered)

Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58 (Remastered)

DISC 5:

Chopin: 12 Etudes, Op. 10 (Remastered)

Chopin: 12 Etudes, Op. 25 (Remastered)

DISC 6:

Chopin: 24 Preludes, Op. 28 (Remastered)

Chopin: Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 45 (Remastered)

Chopin: Prelude in A-Flat Major, Op. Posth. (Remastered)

DISC 7:

Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (Remastered)

Chopin: Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (Remastered)

Chopin: Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 47 (Remastered)

Chopin: Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 (Remastered)

Chopin: Contredanse in G-Flat Major, B. 17 (Remastered)

Chopin: Cantabile in B-Flat Major, B. 84 (Remastered)

Chopin: Moderato in E Major, B. 151 (Remastered)

Chopin: Largo in E-Flat Major, B. 109 (Remastered)

Chopin: Fugue in A Minor, B. 144 (Remastered)

Chopin: Variations in A Major, B. 37 "Souvenir de Paganini" (Remastered)

DISC 8:

Chopin: 2 Mazurkas, B. 16 (1826)

Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. post. 68, Nos. 2, 3 & 1

Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op. 6

Chopin: Five Mazurkas, Op. 7

Chopin: Mazurka in D Major, B. 71 (1832)

Chopin: Mazurka in B-Flat Major, B. 73 "Wolowska"

Chopin: 4 Mazurkas, Op. 17

Chopin: Mazurka in C Major, B. 82 (1833)

Chopin: Mazurka in A-Flat Major, B.85

Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. post. 67, Nos. 1 & 2

DISC 9:

Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op. 24

Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op. 30

Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op. 33

Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op. 41

Chopin: Mazurka in A Minor, B. 134 "Notre temps" (1840)

DISC 10:

Chopin: Mazurka in A Minor, B. 140 (1840)

Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 50

Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 56

Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 59

Chopin: Three Mazurkas, Op. 63

Chopin: Mazurkas, Op. post. 67 Nos 4 & 2

Chopin: Mazurka, Op. 68, No. 4: Andantino in F Minor

Tags:

Recent Posts