A Master

Recital review from Le Concertographe,
Written by Gaelle Plasseraud
Translated from the original French by Valour

La Roque d’Antheron
Friday July 28 2000
Parc du Chateau de Florans

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sonata in major D K 576
ederic Chopin: Twelve Etudes op. 25
Sergei Rachmaninov: Four Preludes op. 23 (n° 8, n° 9, n° 6, n° 5),
Six musical Moments op. 16
Nikolai Lugansky (piano)

The terraces are nearly full. Nikolai Lugansky, whose name is beginning to draw crowds, presents to Roque d’Anthéron a mastodont programme, both demanding and virtuosic. From the very start, the pianist distinguishes himself: one gets accustomed to the acoustics of the open air, and the instrument makes another sound entirely - powerful and concentrated. Have the cicadas all been killed? They can no longer be heard.

Lugansky is almost impassive. He holds himself very straight at the piano, proudly, and from time to time lifts his eyes calmly to the sky. He plays to the height of Olympus and manages to reconcile Apollo and Dionysus: he unleashes thunderbolts within a framework of absolute rigour. The cascades of notes are never muddled. The profusion is at every moment organized. The technique of this pianist is incredible and his pallette of sounds, apparently limitless. He adapts to all the compositions, as fittingly in Mozart as in Rachmaninov.

His Chopin Etudes are striking: at no time does the pianist become breathless. He is armed, technically and musically, for immeasurable distances. After lightning-quick ascensions, the pianist sometimes lingers at the summit, contemplating for a moment the horizon before resuming his course. So, all told, if a measure seems a bit awkward, a bit rigid or not fully exploited, it is with regard to the incredible effect of what surrounds it.

Solid like a rock, Lugansky comes out of a mould from which few pianists are made. He is above the fray. Whether he be met with enthusiasm or indifference, his sovereignty is undeniable.

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