Romancing Chopin

Romancing Chopin, the debut CD of the Toronto Sinfonietta, celebrates the remarkable musical legacy of Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin.

Under conductor Matthew Jaskiewicz, the Toronto Sinfonietta and soloists, Coenraad Bloemendal, cello, Nora Shulman, flute, Kaye Royer, clarinet and Valerie Tryon, piano, present new arrangements for chamber orchestra of several of Chopin’s sophisticated and elegant compositions plus new works by contemporary composers Alexander Rapoport and Ronald Royer who are greatly inspired by the genius of Chopin.

An off-shoot of the Polish Canadian Society of Music, the Toronto Sinfonietta was founded by Music Director Matthew Jaskiewicz in 1991. Committed to excellence and accessibility, the Toronto Sinfonietta is rapidly gaining an enviable reputation for its artistic excellence and innovative programming.

Composer Alexander Rapoport has received commissions for work in a variety of musical media and currently teaches composition and theory at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto. His Variations on a theme of Chopin (for piano and chamber orchestra) are based on the C Minor Prelude, Op. 28, No 20 (for solo piano) performed by Valerie Tryon.

Ronald Royer, Composer-in Residence for the Toronto Sinfonietta, is an outstanding composer with many commissions and recorded works. Three of his compositions appear on this CD. In Memoriam Fryderyk Chopin (for clarinet, cello and string orchestra) is a reflection on the life, work and death of Chopin with soloists Kaye Royer and Coenraad Bloemendal, Fantaisie-Impromptu (for flute and string orchestra) is a fantasy based upon the Impromptu No. 3 in G Flat Major, Op. 51 with flutist Nora Shulman. And Royer’s Nocturne (for clarinet and string orchestra) is not based on an original Chopin composition but is influenced by a composite of Chopin’s work and techniques. Kaye Royer adds the rich clarinet tone.

New arrangements of Chopin’s Five Mazurkas, Op. 7, Largo (from the Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 65), Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2, and Variations on a Theme by Rossini, impart a contemporary perspective to these traditional works. The only original version of a Chopin composition on this recording is Grande Polonaise Brillante in E Flat Major, Op. 22 – a bravura showpiece for solo pianist Valerie Tryon.