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Chopin's second/first; seventy-second (Hall of Fame #72)

I know you're confused. The latest piece in this increasingly elongated blogging countdown is Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, which was actually the first one he wrote. It was just published second, hence the numbering. And it ranks in at #72 in the Classic FM Hall of Fame (that is, in the 2020 rankings. Have I really been doing this for a year now?) Apparently Chopin wrote this piece in his early twenties, which makes it all the more impressive. And fitting that I should choose a performance to watch from a festival of young pianists. I'd describe the experience as being more dazzling than moving. Maybe it would strike deeper on a second listen, when I wasn't reeling from a note tsunami.

I definitely had a favourite moment, lasting all of seven seconds (from 26:55 in the video). Maybe I'm a sucker for a good old decending sequence, but it was beautifully played too.

Another deeply impressive aspect of a performance like this is how much a concert pianist has to keep stored in their memory. They must have to spend an eye-watering number of hours training to play a piece like this so well without any notation to help. It reminded me of the "wrong concerto" video. I found a low quality version, but here's the spoiler anyway: she practiced the wrong piano concerto, but she plays the right one anyway - flawlessly. You can feel the stomach knot at the "oh no" moment though.

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