In June 1989 Idil Biret received an offer from the then newly established Naxos label to record Chopin’s complete works for piano solo and for piano and orchestra. Without hesitation she accepted to undertake this monumental task. This was a project that would be the dream and dread of many a pianist and the past decades were full of projects to record Chopin’s complete works which remained unfinished for various reasons.
Idil Biret was not known as a Chopin performer. Indeed until she started recording for Naxos she had played few of his works in public. During much of her career she had stayed distant from Chopin. There were reasons for this. In describing her attitude to Chopin in her early years Biret says,
“I had listened to very bad and sentimental Chopin performances during my childhood. In some circles Chopin had become the synonym of teary sentimental music. It was sad that a musician who composed in a classical perfection the least self complacent works got so misunderstood. Then, later at the Conservatoire I heard some mechanical and inexperienced performances by students. I felt distanced from Chopin because of these early experiences and for many years I did not play his works and I did not even have many records of his works in my library. Later, I started studying the Sonata op.58 and subsequently, as a ‘morceaux impose’ at the Conservatoire, the Ballade no.2. Then in 1958 I went to work with Wilhelm Kempff in Ammerland (near Munich) and it was during these days that I played much Chopin. Kempff liked Chopin very much and always wanted to hear me playing his works. I started looking at Chopin anew in working with Kempff. Later, when I started playing Scriabin, in my search for the origins of his inspiration I found Chopin. So, I reached him indirectly through various different experiences.”
Later Biret studied with Alfred Cortot, considered by many as the greatest Chopin interpreter of the 20th Century, for two years when he was in his eighties. With him Biret worked on almost the entire Chopin repertory. Cortot’s teachings were in the great tradition of Chopin performance of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Biret remembers vividly “the glorious, magical sounds that came from the piano when Cortot put his hands on it; almost like that of a cello” as she recalled in a recent interview on BBC Radio. But, in the 1960s a percussive approach to piano playing was taking shape as displayed in the performances of the many young pianists of the new generation. The major labels were recording and promoting these pianists and the critics were busy heaping praises on this ‘lively’ new style of Chopin playing. Cortot and his delicate, complex performance style with a rainbow of nuances was being left behind in preference to the simpler forte and piano muscular, energetic performance style of the new era. Together with other great Chopin performers of the pre-war generation Cortot was seen as a relic of the past (or so it was thought). His Chopin performances were forgotten by almost all except a dedicated group of connoisseurs, only a handful being available on LP in the Angel/EMI “Great Recordings of the Century” series. Things stayed this way for a considerable time until the arrival of the compact disc in the 1980s leading to the reissue on CD and rediscovery of the legendary performances of the great pianists of the past.
Biret says that in this environment she had little enthusiasm to play Chopin and indeed only few of his works – Sonata op.58, Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise op.22 and some Mazurkas – were in her concert programs during the 1960s and 1970s. The writer of this article was present at one of these occasions when in the 1970s she played Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto. The eminent Turkish composer, conductor and pianist Cemal Resit Rey, a student and close friend of Cortot, was in the audience. After hearing the outstanding performance he raised his arms in the air and uttered the words “En nihayet Chopin’i kesfetti” (Finally she has discovered Chopin). This was followed by a first tentative foray into recording of two Chopin Mazurkas in New York (Atlantic/Finnadar SR125) in 1977. Biret then programmed the four Chopin Impromptus in her recital programs of her two month – thirty concert Australian tour in the spring of 1984. Later she performed these Impromptus at her first Herkulessaal recital in Munich the same year. The eminent music critic Karl Schumann who knew Cortot well and had written the music notes for the Centennial Cortot edition (EMI) wrote the following in the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“A Chopin evening with Idil Biret must be a blessing. The four Impromptus sounded compact, sharp, well studied, neither sobered down to agile finger virtuosity, nor softened to an elegy. The form was ostentatiously existent. Details of declamation made it possible to discern an understanding of Chopin which emanates from the masterly acquisition of the French school. The melancholy had a grace; a subdued lustre lay over the Jeu perle.”
This was the first critical acknowledgement of Biret as an outstanding Chopin performer.
In 1985/86 Idil Biret recorded for EMI Liszt’s piano transcriptions of the nine Beethoven Symphonies which was issued in Europe during the Liszt Centennial. [Please see “The Making of the Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies”.] These recordings and her concert performances of all the Symphonies in major music centres made the headlines, particularly in the French and German press. Subsequently, Biret received a call from the editor of a major music magazine in Germany who advised her about the newly established Naxos record label and informed her that the owner Klaus Heymann wanted to talk to her for a possible cooperation. This was followed by a call from Mr. Heymann and Idil Biret met him in Brussels in June 1989. After an initial enquiry whether Naxos could reissue Biret’s Beethoven Symphonies’ recordings (This was not then possible for contractual reasons), unexpectedly he asked the question “Would you like to record the complete works of Chopin for Naxos?”. Without a moment’s hesitation Biret answered with a short “Yes”. Vladimir Ashkenazy had recorded all the solo works of Chopin for Decca in the 1970s. However, no one before had recorded the complete Chopin including the works for piano and orchestra. It was a frightening decision, or so it would seem to an outsider, particularly since Naxos wanted the recordings to be completed quickly, in a very short time span.
Biret also agreed to record some Brahms and Rachmaninov (later extended to their complete piano works) for Naxos. Therefore, she started with these and produced five Brahms CDs during ten days of recording sessions at the van Geest studio in Heidelberg in the autumn of 1989. Then from the beginning of 1990 she immersed herself into the world of Chopin for a period of two years. In preparing to record the Mazurkas, the Nocturnes, the Ballades, the Polonaises, the Concertos and all the other works, there was intense systematic study of the scores and writings on interpreting Chopin (particularly from the telling of his students in the remarkable book of Jean Jacques Eigeldinger) and listening to the great Chopin performers of the past from her own large library of Chopin recordings numbering nearly 200 LPs and CDs, followed by a period of reflection. Nearly 400 hours of music was recorded in about 45 days of studio sessions in Heidelberg and Kosice (Czechoslovakia) between March 1990 and February 1992 (Producer and recording engineer, Martin Sauer – See att.1 for details). Recordings started with the most difficult set of the Etudes and ended with the Fantaisie, Berceuse and the 3 Nouvelles Etudes. Biret wrote a short article on “Interpreting Chopin” for the cover brochure (see att. 2) where she explained her approach in preparing for the performance and recording of the complete works – a fifteen CD seventeen hour odyssey through the music of Frederic Chopin.
A most important happening during this period was the discovery in succession of some extraordinary Chopin recordings Biret had not known about by three great pianists; performances which greatly inspired her. First came the complete 51 Mazurkas by Alfred Cortot on three cassettes bought privately in the UK. These were recorded by Cortot in the late 1950s and never released for unknown reasons. Then again privately on a cassette and on an LP from an obscure label Biret found the two Piano Concertos played by Raoul von Koczalski, a student of Mikuli (who was taught by Chopin) and a forgotten great performer in the Chopin tradition. Both concertos were recorded a few months before Koczalski’s death in 1948 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sergiu Celibidache. Finally Pearl label reissued in 1989 on four CDs the complete recordings of the great pianist Ignaz Friedman including the legendary takes of 12 Mazurkas and the Nocturne op.55 no.2 as well as other works like the Berceuse, Polonaise op.53, Ballade op.47 and a few Preludes and Waltzes. All these contributed to a better understanding of the interpretations in the great traditions of the past.
There was also a most frightening event during the recordings. Following the sessions in Kosice (then in Czechoslovakia) where the four short works for Piano and Orchestra were recorded in June 1991, as Biret was travelling to Bratislava with the recording team a lightning stroke the aircraft. It fell a considerable distance before the pilot could recover control. There was a moment of fear that they would crash. Unable to land at the destination due to worsening weather the aircraft returned to Kosice. Biret then took an overnight train to Bratislava.
When Naxos started releasing the Chopin CDs individually in 1990 dark clouds of an impending storm began to gather as it usually does whenever Biret is engaged in such monumental undertakings.
[Sadly, since her childhood Biret has been envied and seen as a threat by many a pianist and those who promote them (their agents and record labels). Once, after attending Biret’s recital and hearing her play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony transcription Alfred Brendel told the writer of these lines, “Her colleagues are afraid of Idil because of her facilities and the ease with which she masters the most difficult works”. This has caused efforts to damage her work on the stage and in the studios.]
Similar to the efforts made to stop her recording for EMI the Beethoven Symphonies [see “The Making of the Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies”], negative reactions started when it was known that she was now recording Chopin’s complete works for Naxos. An important British record guide that is widely followed in the English speaking world and which influences the CD buying habits of many people issued very critical reviews in a 1992 edition saying also that she was recording in a studio with terrible acoustics. A very important British music magazine, in an article on the future Naxos projects of the complete works of many composers failed even to mention Biret’s Chopin. Later, again in the same magazine an earlier Chopin recording for Naxos by a Hungarian pianist was made the CD choice of the month while comparing him to young Horowitz, perhaps to remind Naxos that they had some good Chopin performances in the Naxos catalogue (so why record them again with Biret?). In France, in a review of the Chopin piano concertos in a major music magazine the critic highly praised a version by Heinrich Neuhaus, the legendary teacher of some of the greatest Russian pianists, while making very negative remarks on Biret’s recording. These and available information from reliable sources seemed to indicate that efforts were under way to prompt Naxos to stop the project before completion.
But suddenly, almost by providence, an article appeared in the magazine “Classics” in the UK which had a deciding influence on the flow of events. The eminent British critic Tully Potter wrote that Biret’s Chopin Concerto performances were the best available modern versions. He said,
“The distinguished Turkish pianist Idil Biret, a pupil of Cortot, Kempff and Nadia Boulanger, shows herself to be one of the finest exponents of Chopin’s concertos in the world today. In fact I cannot think of any competitor, at any price, who can offer better performances than these…These versions are right up there with the best.”
Then the Gramophone magazine intervened in an editorial article with a sharp critical comment saying how it was possible that in the CD Guide Biret’s recordings were said not to be recommendable due to the bad acoustics of the Heidelberg studio while other piano recordings in the same venue were highly commended. Others who saw greatness in Biret’s performances also rallied to her support. Those who know well the old school of Chopin playing like Bill Newman in the UK (CD Review), Henry Louis de la Grange in France (Nouvelle Observateur), Joachim Kaiser in Germany (Bunte) and Igor Kipnis in USA (Stereophile) wrote outstanding articles praising Biret’s recordings.
In view of the sensitive position of Biret due to her studies at the Paris Conservatoire and the importance of Chopin to the French a decision was made to make a major promotional effort in France to coincide with the release of the complete Chopin set (15CD). After obtaining the help and support of Idil Biret’s friend the Turkish Ambassador Tansug Bleda a public relations campaign was launched. Three months of interviews and press and radio publicity followed climaxing with an all Chopin recital by Biret on 16 November 1992 for invited guests at the concert hall of the “Ancienne Conservatoire” in Paris where Chopin, Liszt and Berlioz had performed in the 1830s. Special permission was obtained from the French Ministry of Culture to open the hall for this purpose. After the performance, the first copy of the complete Chopin set was given to Biret on the stage by Yves Riesel, the organizer of the event and representing the Naxos distributor in France. Klaus Heymann attended the concert as the proud realiser of the project. Two eminent British music critics, Ivan March (the editor of the Penguin Guide) and Jeremy Nicholas came to the Paris concert and made interviews with Biret. Subsequently, Ivan March’s interview was published by the Gramophone and he also wrote an excellent long article in the Penguin CD Guide’s 1994 edition on Biret’s complete Chopin where he said
“The Turkish pianist Idil Biret has recorded a Complete Chopin edition for Naxos…She has all the credentials for the undertaking…Among others she studied with Alfred Cortot and Wilhelm Kempff…She has a prodigious technique and the recordings we have heard so far suggest that overall her Chopin survey is an impressive achievement…The disc called “Rondos and Variations” is worth anyone’s money…The three Sonatas represent one of the finest achievements of Idil Biret’s series so far…”
Jeremy Nicholas wrote a five page article in the magazine Classic CD (July 1993) titled “The Best Chopin Ever?”. There he said the following:
“Idil Biret isn’t a household name. That could soon change. Her complete set of Chopin’s piano music on Naxos isn’t just an amazing bargain – it’s also world class. Any complete set of Chopin’s piano works on CD is important. With world class playing it’s remarkable. And at £5 per disc it’s astonishing…The diminutive Turkish pianist has recently released the last disc in a complete cycle of Chopin’s piano music. Since the cycle is for budget label Naxos and since Naxos is currently the third highest volume seller of discs worldwide, many people’s first taste of Chopin will be Biret’s.”
By then outstanding reviews of the recordings had began to appear in the press all over the world, particularly in the United States and also in places like Greece, Spain, Argentina and others. In Turkey, Idil’s home country, many critics including Faruk Yener, Filiz Ali and Dogan Hizlan wrote laudatory articles. The great harpsichordist and musicologist Igor Kipnis (the son of the legendary Russian singer Alexander Kipnis) who had written the excellent review in the American Stereophile magazine came to visit Biret in Brussels saying he wanted to meet personally this outstanding Chopin interpreter. A series of Chopin concerts were organized at the Ruhr Festival with Biret playing Chopin and Germany’s foremost critic Joachim Kaiser providing spoken commentary. She played at Chopin Festivals in Duszniki in Poland and in France in Paris and in Nohant at the estate of George Sand. In 1993 the readers of the Classic CD magazine in the UK selected Biret’s Chopin Preludes CD as the “Best Buy” of the year and she received the award at a ceremony in London. Radio France Musique made Biret the pianist of the month in October 1994 and her Chopin and other recordings were broadcast for one hour every day during the month. Biret gave many all Chopin recitals in cities like London, Munich, Rome, Istanbul, Tokyo and New York. Following the New York recital in July 2002 Richard Dyer, the chief music critic of the Boston Globe, wrote
“Her playing was vivid, personal, imaginative and…awesomely secure in idea and execution. She is a decisive and unequivocal pianist, with a huge, ringing, deep belled tone…She also boasts an extraordinary strength and sense of rhythm, a real backbone; in this, as in her grasp of structure, she is more like a great conductor than a pianist. Instinct and brain are in balance, and her musical thinking is passionate…She commanded the technique of every piece to the point that technique disappeared – the octave Etude (op.25), for example, was not a study in virtuosity, but an unleashing of sonority, idea, and emotion that happens to be expressed in octaves…The Nocturne (op.55 no.2) was magical; what made it so was the interplay of the two voices moving over the shifting harmony. And the Tarantella op.43 wasn’t a knuckle-bashing exercise in triple meter but an exorcism.”
ZDF the German TV broadcast an interview with Biret at her Brussels home where she also played Chopin’s works. Fourteen Radio stations across the USA broadcast Biret’s complete Chopin cycle during 1993/94.
[These radio stations were, WWNO New Orleans / Louisiana; WFCC / Massachusetts; WPSU University Park and WQED Pittsburgh / Pennsylvania; KLEF Anchorage / Alaska; KTPB Kilgore and KMFA Austin / Texas; KBAO Phoenix / Arizona; WBJC Baltimore / Maryland; WUWF Pensacola and WTMI Miami / Florida; WUOM Ann Arbor / Michigan; NWPR Pullman / Oregon; KVOD Denver / Colorado.]
Biret’s Chopin was used as background music in the Hollywood film “People vs. Larry Flynnt” (Columbia). Her Chopin Mazurka performance was talking point between two characters in Russel Hoban’s book “Amaryllis Night and Day” (Bloomsberry Publishing UK, pp.19) and the Sonatas op.35 and op.58 were played on a popular TV show “Smallville” (Warner Brothers) in the US.
Then, in 1995 in Poland the Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin award was given to Biret for her complete Chopin. This competition is held once every five years in Warsaw and there were 43 recording entries that year with two receiving the prizes. Biret received the award at a public ceremony held at the Chopin Museum at the Ostrogski Castle in Warsaw on 9 October in the presence of the competition jury and the TV cameras where she also gave a recital with the works of Bach and Chopin. After the ceremony the president of the Polish Chopin Society Tadeusz Chimielewski came on the stage, kissed Biret’s hand and told her “You play Chopin as my heart wants to hear it”. Some three decades after the teachings of Cortot, Biret’s Chopin performances in the tradition of the old masters had finally won the hearts and minds.
[Interestingly, also in 1995 Idil Biret’s recording of the three piano Sonatas of Pierre Boulez received ovations from critics in Europe, USA, Australia and won a Diapason d’Or of the Year award in France. Coming in the aftermath of the Chopin award this was indicative of the depth and breadth of Biret’s command of the piano repertoire. ]
In 1999 for the 150th Chopin anniversary year Naxos released the box set of Biret’s complete Chopin recordings worldwide with a new design and with the Polish Grand Prix emblem on the cover. The same year Deutsche Gramophone was the only other company to release a set with all of Chopin’s works, a collection of past recordings by some fifteen of their pianists. Biret had done all by herself what had taken many DG pianists to do.
The same year a very strange incident took place. Idil Biret was invited to perform in a four concert Chopin series organised by the prestigious Schwetzingen Festival in Germany. Each concert was to be preceded by a conference by Prof. Joachim Kaiser. The announced schedule was as follows
13 May – Lilya Silberstein
14 May – Anatol Ugorsky
15 May – Idil Biret
16 May – Andrei Gavrilov
On 14 May in the early afternoon in Brussels Idil Biret received a call from the director of the Festival Dr. Peter Schreiber who informed her that a few hours ago Anatol Ugorski had said that he was not feeling well and departed from the city. This had left the organizers in a very difficult position as the concert that evening was sold out and could not be cancelled. The question was whether Idil could replace Ugorski with any Chopin program? Idil asked what Ugorski had programmed to play. When she was told that this consisted of the Polonaise Fantasy op.61, 12 Mazurkas and Sonata op.58 Idil Biret replied that she would play exactly the same program.
[The writer of these lines was witness to this event and remembers that when he heard Biret’s reply Dr. Schreiber remained silent for a moment and then asked “Am I hearing correctly? Is Idil Biret proposing to play exactly the same program? This is not believable”.]
She than took the 6.00 pm flight to Stuttgart where a helicopter was waiting which flew her to Mannheim. From there it was a short drive to Schwetzingen. After a brief try on the piano she began the concert at 9.00 pm, with only one hour delay from the original schedule. The next day Prof. Kaiser started his pre-concert conference by saying to the audience,
“The pianist you will hear tonight, Idil Biret, is a very special musician. She has recorded on 15 CDs the complete piano works of Frederic Chopin. She is also a great artist who is able to give a concert in the evening without knowing that she would do so the same morning; playing as well the very same program originally scheduled for that concert by another pianist as she did last night.”
Later, after the concert Prof. Kaiser walked on the stage going behind to embrace Biret and thank her for her performance. It was learnt subsequently that Andrei Gavrilov who was to play the day after Idil Biret had also cancelled.
[An unfortunate consequence of the success of Biret’s Chopin and other recordings for Naxos is that her concert career has been targeted by the forces controlling the classical music industry. Information from reliable sources indicate that concert organizers, particularly in Germany, are being threatened with retaliation (cancellations by other artists) if they engage her.]
After the two concerts there were outstanding reviews in the local press and Biret received a letter from, the director of the Schwetzingen Festival Dr. Peter Schreiber where he said,
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to you again for not letting the Ugorski piano-evening fail. You have, with admirable courage, not only stepped in to take over the recital but also – what must be called a sensational action – performed the complete identical program of the indisposed pianist. For that deep thanks and greatest acknowledgement are due to you. Your own Chopin evening was then the breath-taking testimony of a great artist. We all could experience together how in your hands the wonderful music of Chopin begun truly to blossom. The public adored you and the Festival administration including Prof. Joachim Kaiser was fascinated. Once again our deep, heartfelt thanks for these wonderful evenings.”
Recently a very touching event took place. One day, shortly after arriving at her residence, the phone rang. At the other end of the line was a person who said that she was an engineer from Argentine working in Paris.
Her father, who was living in central Argentine (Allen, in the province of Rio Negro), had bought all of Biret’s Chopin recordings and greatly admired her. He had come to Paris for a visit and when they found Biret’s phone number in the catalogue they had called her every day for the last two weeks in the hope of reaching her. Now he was due to depart for Buenos Aires the next day. The question was whether he could come and see Idil Biret for five minutes. Biret gladly said yes and soon the elderly man arrived with a huge bouquet of flowers, accompanied by his daughter. As he spoke only Spanish his daughter helped the French translation. After a pleasant hour together Biret signed for him the box of the complete Chopin set upon which his daughter commented, “My father will hold this signed box set in his hands all the way during his flight home tomorrow”.
Since 1992 Idil Biret has been receiving messages of thanks and congratulations from Chopin lovers all over the world. A music lover from India, Nivedi Tahr, wrote in 2001 an Amazon Customer review of the CD “Variations and Rondos”,
“This is just exquisite Chopin. I have never heard anyone play the piano like this! … Here Ms Biret demonstrates the singing of the piano like no other pianist has done. I just put this CD on my player and was attending my usual chores. I could notice that this piano sounded different. But, five minutes into the first Rondo I had to dump everything and just listen to the beautiful playing full of tenderness and longing. Quite the same with the pieces that followed – just heavenly! … Just a note of caution to learned listeners. You may have your favourite versions of Chopin. Don’t miss this one! Do not stop with the first listening! Give it more time. You will be richly rewarded!”
A young Swede of 18 years, Magnus Jacobsson, sent the following message to Biret,
“I would just like to tell Idil Biret a few things. Since I play the piano, and have done it since I was a child, it is natural for me to buy records. The first record I bought, was the CD with Chopin’s Waltzes. After a month, I had bought all the Chopin records. These are the finest records I ever heard. I have also played with a symphony orchestra twice. My debut was with Scriabin’s Piano Concerto, and it was your recording of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Concerto that inspired me to play that one. If you ever come to Sweden some time, it would be an honour to listen to your playing in concert!!! ”
From Doorn in Holland where Biret gave all Chopin recitals Elsa Frijlink wrote,
“Some people bring beauty, strength and hope in this bizarre and not often very happy world, and you are amongst these ones. We still bless the day we decided to “trace” you and found you in Germany. We still feel so privileged you performed for us in Doorn. These days we again go through your Chopin box and over and over again are thrilled and deeply moved by your artistry. Thank you for making, by your music, this world a better place.”
Other messages came from as far away as Brazil and Chile from where wrote Martin Dougnac,
“I would like to tell Ms. Biret that I bought her Chopin Nocturnes and I was awed. She is really touching.”
From Sao Paolo, Ciro Gonçalves Dias Jr. sent a message saying,
“Your performances are diamonds and gold to this simple Brazilian musician.”
Music teachers in many schools made her Chopin recordings recommended listening for their students. One of them, Pierre Castonguay sent a message from Canada saying,
“Ms. Biret is mentioned in the discography because of her prodigious technique and her impressive achievement concerning Chopin’s music. She brings a marvellous contribution to Chopin’s interpretation with poetry and exceptional handling of phrasing and rubato. I personally recommend Ms. Biret on Naxos to my students, so they can complete their personal research about this great composer and buy some marvellous records at bargain price.”
Some years ago piano teachers at the Canton Conservatory in China performed for Idil at her master class. When she remarked that they played Chopin very much to her liking and in her style, they said,
“Yes, of course. Because, we always listen to your Chopin recordings on Naxos.”
From Salem, Oregon in the US another music professor Arthur Birkby wrote,
“I have never heard piano playing as magnificent in my whole life, even though I heard personally in live performance such great figures as Hoffmann, Rachmaninov, Serkin, Rubinstein, Moissievitch, Gilels – I could go on!… Thank you again for such memorable musical moments.”
Patrick Meanor, who had interviewed Biret in New York on the day she learnt that her complete Chopin was awarded a ‘Grand Prix du Disque Chopin’ in Warsaw, finished his article in the Listener magazine by saying,
“After and hour and a half – which felt like ten minutes – I sadly departed from one of the most gracious and egoless major musical figures on the planet. What I found in her music, I found in her: a clarity, a richness, a warmth and openness that I so rarely encounter in anyone. That kind of graciousness is quietly but quickly disappearing from an almost totally commercialized musical scene, that has become predictable and safe. Thank heavens there are Idil Birets around to remind us that music is still a human proposition.”
Finally, a message that was sent to Naxos in England anonymously perhaps sums it all:
“If music be the food of love, I think I’ve fallen for Idil Biret!!!”
The prophecy Jeremy Nicholas had made in his Classic CD article in 1993 has come true. Tens of thousands of people of all ages all over the world from major cities to remote distant towns, are listening to Idil Biret’s recordings of Chopin thanks to Klaus Heymann and Naxos with the efficient distribution and budget conscious policy of selling newly recorded CDs inexpensively.
Brussels, January 2003