The Chopin Soloists

The idea of performing Frederic Chopin's Concertos with the accompaniment of a string quintet came to me during my studies of the composer's biography. It turned out that the first performances of those Concertos took place in a chamber form before Chopin's professor Jozef Elsner. I have, therefore, decided to find the manuscript but what I eventually found was only a chamber version of the Concerto in E - minor published by Friedrich Kistner in Leipzig in 1833. Musicologists are unanimous in considering this version an original one. After a detailed study of the scores I came to the conclusion that, in the initial version, Chopin had written both Concertos for a string quintet and, later, expanded them to a symphonic form. This, among other things, is corroborated by the fact that wind instruments actually double the part of the quintet. As far as the Concerto in F - minor is concerned I did not manage to find any scores from Chopin's time which is why I wrote my own transcription. The first performance of the Concertos with the accompaniment of a string quintet took place in the Frederic Chopin Society in Warsaw during a concert inaugurating The Second Joseph Hofmann Festival on August 6, 1992. A repetition took place in the grand Polish Radio and Television studio in Warsaw on January 26, 1993 encountering an enthusiastic reception on the part of the public, critics and musicologists. In effect of this interest, a special symposium devoted to the performance of Chopin's Concertos in this form was organized in Warsaw in May 1993. At the beginning the musicians who participated in these concerts assumed the name of "The Joseph Hofmann Chamber Players" in remembrance of the first festival bearing the name of this famous Polish virtuoso pianist living at the turn of the 19th century. The ensemble appeared once again under the same name at its first grand foreign concert in the famous Milan's La Scala on September 18, 1993. The performance encountered an excellent reception on the part of the Italian public. Therefore the musicians have decided to change the name of the ensemble into "The Chopin Soloists". Marek Drewnowski

©fata morgana