Nikolai Lugansky
Fanfare Magazine

By Jerry Dubins

Nikolai Lugansky Recital: Janacek/Prokofiev/Liszt/Rachmaninov/Chopin DVD; MEDICI ARTS 3078658 (DVD: 79:00) Live: Verbier 7/28/2008

Program in details: JANÁCEK Sonata 1.X.1905, "From the street." PROKOFIEV Romeo and Juliet: 10 Pieces for Piano, op. 75. LISZT Années de pèlerinage-Italie: Sposalizio; Sonetto 123 del Petrarca. Transcendental Etudes: Nos. 5, 10, 11, 12. RACHMANINOFF Preludes: in G, op. 32/5; in g, op. 23/5; in g?, op. 32/12. CHOPIN Etude in F, op. 10/8

In 29:4, I reviewed a Warner CD of Nikolai Lugansky playing four Beethoven sonatas. While I noted his flawless execution, I concluded that this was Beethoven as seen through the eyes of a Russian romantic, which was not surprising for an artist who had cut his teeth on Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev. As if by special request, here came this DVD of Lugansky playing works by two of those composers, Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff, plus works by other composers I would expect to be right up his alley-Chopin, Liszt, and Janácek.

Musically, this is a well-chosen and beautifully played recital. The program is sufficiently varied to hold one's interest and to highlight Lugansky's strengths, which are a steel-trap technique, pearl-perfect runs, flowing legato, and a commanding presence that does not impose itself in intrusive displays of showmanship. In other words, what we have here is a serious artist, giving his very best, which is considerable, before an appreciative and well-behaved audience....