A Cat Named Lugansky

From Le Soir, 10 September 2001
Review of a concert given 7 September 2001
Written by Xavier Flament
Translated from the original French by Valour

As the cheers exploded, Nikolai Lugansky regained his magnificent bearing and received the ovations straight as an i . As this persists and as he knows that he will have to play again, the pianist returns to the stage of the Palais des beaux arts of Brussels, but with a je ne sais quoi - an imperceptible change. Precisely the manner which he possessed half an hour earlier, before launching into the Third Piano Concerto of Prokofiev. His expression is reserved, his shoulders pulled back, and his steps elongated and bounding until he reaches the instrument.

There is something of the feline in this young Russian pianist whom the National Orchestra had chosen, on Friday, for its comeback.  

At the piano, this keen suppleness translates into a breathtaking ease which the artist never exploits in any way but to serve the music which he offers to share with us. Lugansky is everything in interiority, sometimes even everything in poetry. Instead of a making a direct attack on the keyboard with his arm, in a way which would cause a roar, he prefers a whole body movement which seeks to put the keyboard in full vibration. And perhaps Simonov, who conducted this evening, did not have sufficient understanding of his young compatriot to avoid occasionally crushing him, during dynamic runs, with mass effects.

We cannot, however, conclude from this that the National Orchestra of Belgium proved unworthy, as it put so much communicative enthusiasm into "Skazka", the symphonic poem of Rimsky-Korsakov, then in the Sixth Symphony of Shostakovich. Even more notable were the magnificent woodwind soloists, the clarinet of Ronald Van Spaendonck in particular.

Nikolai Lugansky returns to the Beaux Arts, on January 25th, 2002, with the Third Piano Concerto of Rachmaninov and the Vlaams Radio Orkest, conducted by Yoel Levi. Information : 02-507.82.00.


The Nikolai Lugansky Web Site