Rachmaninov Etudes-Tableaux

From a review in Gramophone, January 1995
by Bryce Morrison

...Perhaps the Moscow location helped to provide that extra edge, allowed Lugansky to re-create the "mystic aureole" he speaks of and imbue his performance with "the very essence of Russia, her people and nature, griefs and festivities, her mysterious spirit". In Op.33 the goose-stepping opening is given with superb mastery and the richest sense of variety, the Second Etude with all the breadth and generosity one associates with the finest Russian talent. Never for a moment would you question Lugansky's nationality, his feel for the engulfing Siberian storm of No.6 or his way of bestriding the vast spaces of No.9 like a true colossus of the keyboard. In the ever more turbulent pages of Op.39 (a premonition of the Revolution of the death of the old Russia) he rides the shock waves of No.1 with ease, and in the powerful re-working of the Dies irae of No.2 he achieves a glorious eloquence. He locates the darkness beneath so much outward festivity in No.4 and it is only in the later etudes that he loses some of his intensity and projection. Even when faced with exceptionally dramatic and urbane alternative Etudes-Tableaux from Ashkenazy and Howard Shelley, respectively, Lugansky more than holds his own.

The Nikolai Lugansky Web Site