The Breath of Frederic Chopin (2020)


Yoahn Kwon

Producer’s Note

The unique album by pianist Yoahn Kwon to capture Chopin's inspiration and sound.

Piano, in the 19th century, is an essential instrument for both composers and pianists. Developing mechanism with the expansion of the range and different acoustics with new effects, piano as the single device was able to realize rich sounds like orchestra sound and delicate expression, which based on composers’ ideas and feelings. As a composer and pianist, Chopin composed the whole of his works with piano, and it shows how much he was fell in love with this fantastic instrument. Chopin’s seemingly sad and ailing life made the performer play his music in a feminine, more fragile, and tenderer way, not from the variety of musical expressions and ideas that he sought. While his music is arising individual freedom of emotional boundary, those often distorted and exaggerated. However, Chopin’s music must be beautiful under the strict musical structures because he sought to follow the classical tradition of J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, and L. v. Beethoven. How ironic?

While living in the Romantic era, Chopin did not lean on literature. That means he focused on one single note which has independent resonance and reverb, and on the harmony and musical structure which each notation makes. Therefore, his music is more beautiful when it is played as is and straightforward without any additional exaggerated emotion.


A Note from the pianist

In 1843, Heine, the romantic poet, was nostalgic about Chopin's piano playing after the flourish of virtuoso pianists performing with passionate mannerism. 

Franz Liszt started to play in front of large audiences in Opera houses, and therefore piano playing has become more extroverted. 

Piano manufacturers were also developing an innovative mechanism which helps pianists to play faster and louder to serve a large crowd. In spite of pianists play recitals in big Opera houses at the time, Chopin only preferred playing in small salons. Listeners who had chance to hear Chopin’s salon concert felt unforgettable sensitivity and precious individual sound Chopin produced on the Pleyel piano. 

With Steinway's patents and its contribution of development to the piano mechanism, pianists are able to produce sound much easier and play better technically. 

AUDIOGUY studio in Seoul with Bösendorfer 225 indeed was the ideal place to recreate Chopin's salon atmosphere.


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Yoahn Kwon

Pianist John Kwon, a native of South Korea, has won extraordinary critical acclaim for his deep musicianship, sensitivity, and rare insight. Renowned critic Harris Goldsmith called him a "versatile and interesting musician who keeps audiences' attention from beginning to end."

Mr. Kwon started piano studies at the age of nine. He attended at the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School. After graduating from the LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts, Mr. Kwon received his Bachelor's and Master's degree from the Mannes College of Music.

At Mannes, he studied piano with Diane Walsh, theory and analysis with Carl Schachter with a generous scholarship award from the Jerry Seinfeld Family Foundation. Furthermore, Mr. Kwon completed the Stages du Perfectionenment at France's L'Ecole Normale de Musiques de Paris, studying with Anne Queffelec for 4 consecutive years. He studied and mentored by pianist Jacob Krichaf (who was a student of Claudio Arrau) in New York during his formative years. And later frequently taught by great pianists and Pedagogues such as Anton Kuerti, Jacques Rouvier, and John O'Conor at the Wilhelm Kempff's Positano Beethoven Master Kurs in Italy, Banff Centre and Orford Academy in Canada.

With the essential interpretation based on his unique touch and painstaking musical analysis, he is warmly welcomed by audiences and critics on important concert venues in the world. Recitals, concerto appearances and his chamber music performances with members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony, and

London Philharmonic Orchestra won critical acclaim. He has given complete performances of sonatas for piano and violin by Grieg, Faure, Brahms and Beethoven with violinist Jiyoung Park and has recorded several CDs for Audioguy, WFMT Chicago, and SONY Classical label.

Alongside his ongoing critically acclaimed concerts, Mr. Kwon's teaching is highly in demand by prospective students from East Asia. His recent private students successfully got accepted to many great conservatories and universities around the world such as Manhattan School of Music, Peabody Institute at John's Hopkins University, University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, Ecole Normale de Music de Paris, HMDK Stuttgart, Hochschule fu?r Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin.

photo: from booklet AGCD0137

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The Breath of Frederic Chopin (2020)


Yoahn Kwon

Cables: Cardas Clear Reflection XLR Cable
Clock: Mutec REF10, Mutec iClock
Mastering Room: Audioguy Studio
Microphones: DPA4011, DPA4041 with GML 8304, Merging Horus pre-amps
Mixing Board: Merging Pyramix
Notes: SANCTUS Signature MultiTap
Producer: JeongYoun Chang
Recording Engineer: Jung-Hoon Choi, Yong-Seob Kim
Recording location: Seoul, South Korea
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD
Speakers: Genelec 8351a

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AGCD0132: The Breath of Frederic Chopin
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Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58, Allegro Maestoso
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Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58, Scherzo - Molto vivace
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Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58, Largo
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Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58, Finale - Presto non tanto
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Nocturne No. 17 in B Major, Op. 62 No. 1
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Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 67 No. 4
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Nocturne No. 20 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. Posth.
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Waltz No. 7 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 64 No. 2
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Barcarolle in F-Sharp Major, Op. 60
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