To me, there are two things which are vital, but often overlooked whilst playing Chopin. These usually detract from my listening experience.
The first is the (over)use of Rubato. All too many people think that Chopin's music is to be played with Rubato, because he composed in the Romantic Era. However, from listening to hundreds of recordings of his music, I have discovered that his music is a lot more effective (simple) without Rubato. Chopin considered himself a Classicist, in every sense of the word. One of his greatest emphasises was on the form of the music, completely contradictory to the ideologies of the Romantic Era. Because of this, I believe that minimal (if any) use of Rubato should be used in Chopin pieces.
The second, and probably more overlooked element, are the dynamics. So much time is spent on the phrasing and techincal difficulties of his music, and dynamics seem to fall by the wayside. Chopin's dynamics are so different to that of any other composer. Not only the obvious, his pieces being mainly quiet, but also the varying dynamics within the pieces. The main difference is that, when Chopin wants dramatic effect, he will drop the dynamic, rather then raising it. Generally, the most climactic part will be short-lived, followed by a pianissimo
. And often the most dramatic phrases are also in pianissimo
. Because of our pre-conceptions that "loud is dramatic", we generally tend to disagree with Chopin's sense of dynamics. However, it is a lot more dramatic, to my ear at least, to have the climax of the piece in a quiet dynamic. This aspect is one of the most important, and the most overlooked.
So, what do you guys reckon makes a 'good' interpretation?
P. S. I wasn't sure which forum this fit into. This one seemed the most logical one. Knowing me, it is probably the wrong one