Star de Russie
, February 2001
Translated and edited from the original French by Valour
Has a star been born? Silver Medal at the Leipzig Bach Competition in 1988, second at the Rachmaninov Competition in 1990, winner of the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition four years later: with such a prize list, the Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky could have flaunted all these distinctions, like a Red Army colonel making a display of his medals.
In fact, the newest international star of the piano world does not brandish any of his claims to fame, nor is he affected by the Luganskian wave which has been bursting out across Europe for two years already. Seized by stagefright, he doubts himself; it has been said that this is a sign of the great ones. " I discovered this apprehension when I was 9 years old, while playing the Schumann Arabesque.", he confided to Telerama. Before this age, I was less nervous when I performed. "
Sensitive, timid, of extreme prudence vis-a-vis the sirens of glory, Lugansky nonetheless has an intoxicating singing quality on the keyboard coupled with already imperial technical control: such qualities as his afficionados will be able to appreciate anew on February 4 in Paris, at the Theatre aux Champs Elysees. " The luminous velocity of his phrases makes a mockery of the technical difficulties within the storm", notes the journalist of Telerama.
His power, of a density which is never aggressive, elevates the soul to a consistently human level: just above the heart. He is peerless when it comes to giving the Chopin Etudes their original glory, as evidenced by last year's disc for Erato. Unanimously (nearly) hailed by the international press. Some wrote that we had not heard such an interpretation of Chopin since the recordings of Cortot, carried out in 1933; others immediately placed he young Russian in the prestigious line of Neuhaus or Richter; still others dubbed him the heir apparent of Gilels.
But what, in fact, does he think is the essence of this
tradition of which he is supposedly the living legacy ?
" These personalities had nothing in common ! ", he protests. That is what regulates, definitively one hopes, his estimation of the never-ending madness of critics.
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