A New Prince of the Keyboard

From Le Quotidien du Medecin, 25th April 2000
Written by Olivier Brunel
Translated from the original French by Valour

A young Russian pianist has become the subject of much talk: Nikolai Lugansky, winner of the 1994 Tschaikovsky Competition in Moscow and favourite pupil of the great Tatiana Nikolaeva.

Like many others , he was discovered in France at the International Piano Festival of La Roque d'Antheron, one beautiful evening in the summer of 1998. Since then, the contracts have flooded his way - notably one with Erato which has just resulted in the release of the formidable Chopin Etudes.

First disc? Not at all; an impressive discography for such a young a pianist (28 years old) existed already at Vanguard Classics. In addition to a Chopin recital and a Schumann recital, there were the great Russian piano classics , from  Tschaikovsky to Scriabin. But this recording of the two books of Etudes plus the Trois Nouvelles Etudes of Chopin, thanks to the effective global distribution of Erato, should ensure him an international following. 

Rarely does one hear the two sets of Etudes done quite as musically as beneath the fingers of Lugansky. As well as having a dreamlike sonority, he is blessed with the ability to make virtuoso pieces sing. He makes one forget completely the technical demands within the works. This is truly a monumental achievement, to be placed alongside the greatest interpretations of Richter, Cortot, Pollini and Samson Francois.

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