A Review of "The poor sad angel"
From Classical Net - CD Reviews, Oct 97
Written by Geoffrey Crankshaw

Fantaisie in F minor, Op. 49; Ballade in F minor, Op. 52; Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2; Scherzo in E minor, Op. 54; Polonaise in A flat, Op. 53; Mazurkas, Op. 50; Nocturnes - in D flat, Op. 27, No. 2; in E, Op. 62, No. 2 - Nikolai Lugansky (piano) - Vanguard Classics 99122 - 68:00 DDD

This disc bears the title "The poor sad angel", George Sand's somewhat patronising description of the piano's supreme genius. Nothing poor about this programme, a nicely representative one, and when the music could be called sad, it is the sadness of humanity as a whole one should have in mind.

Lugansky plays with fire as well as tenderness, with compassion as well as celebration. His basic tone is well-rounded and quite noble in its overall effect, while his fioritura have jewelled clarity and melodic relevance. He is at his best in the mighty Polonaise in A flat, delivered as a national epic rather than a display of militaristic flamboyance. The thundering bass octaves have never sounded clearer.

For the poetic side of Lugansky's approach to this multifarious repertoire we have an ethereal account of the Nocturne in D flat and a lyrically melodic reading of the fine work in E. But everything is played with taste and character, and the recording is admirably lucid.