He who can do the most can do the least

From Concertonet, January 2000
Written by Gaelle Plasseraud
Translated from the original French by Valour

After a recital at l’Auditorium du Louvre the last week, Nikolai Lugansky performs here, with L’Orchestre National de France and Christof Perick, the Fourth Piano Concerto of Rachmaninov. Although terribly difficult, this composer’s final concerto is not a vehicle for its soloist. The piece is thankless. Like the albatross of Baudelaire, its scale is gigantic and, made for broad movements, it remains paralysed, nailed to the ground. The work is persistently halted, its flights bogged down. It is undoubtedly this impotence permeating the Concerto that renders it so attractive and so mysterious.

Lugansky is the ideal interpreter. The playing of the pianist is of a sobriety and an assurance rarely found in such a young interpreter. Lugansky plays the forceful passages at the keyboard with an astonishing economy of gestures. He begins the piece with serenity, without seeking to go beyond its limits. He is courageously resigned to be self-effacing and hence the second movement becomes very impressive : the pianist gives the appearance of being sincerely unable to finish the sketched phrases. He abandons his instrument repeatedly, as if in despair. He plays, with frankness, the hesitations in the work, and his playing is supported by remarkable technical means.

L’Orchestre Nationale appears to take pleasure in accompanying this soloist of quality.

Read the original French article

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