Charles Dutoit with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

02.20.10
Nikolai Lugansky
The Los Angeles Times

By Mark Swed

Also coincidentally, Dutoit in Los Angeles and Robertson in New York thought Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand a suitable companion for Ginastera. At Disney, the elegant young Russian pianist Nikolai Lugansky was the soloist. His tone was robust and full, yet clean, and it caught the tint of this auburn-toned score just right.
There can be something disorienting about a two-handed pianist playing with one arm (figuratively) tied behind his back. Commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm fighting with the Austrians in World War I, the solo part is intended to express a kind of rootless, off-center quality. Pianists with strong right arms can’t do that.

Lugansky sometimes balanced himself holding on to the edge of the piano with his right hand. That gave him solidity, but his lyricism and his bell-like timbre were not to be argued with. Dutoit appropriately emphasized distinctive dark colors and rhythmic focus….