Ravel/Chopin/Mozart

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Ravel/Chopin/Mozart
LABELS: Denon
WORKS: Gaspard de la Nuit; 2 Nocturnes, Op. 37; Polonaise in F sharp minor, Op. 44; Berceuse in D flat, Op. 57; Étude in G flat minor, Op. 10/5; Rondo in A minor, K511
PERFORMER: Konstantin Lifschitz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CO-78908 DDD
Konstantin Lifschitz is a phenomenon. His precocity, the combination in his playing of artistic sophistication and feeling which is both spontaneous and deep, all bring to mind his equally prodigious compatriot Evgeny Kissin, five years his senior. Let’s leave odious comparisons at that.

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Lifschitz made the first of these discs when he was 13. The Bach at once proclaims his authority and confidence, his limitless range of nuance and insatiable appetite for detail. Schumann’s ‘butterflies’ are caught as if in mid-air, their brilliant colours glowing in brilliant sunshine. The Scriabin and Medtner are natural and idiomatic.

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The second disc, made when Lifschitz was 16 and complete with the obbligato fidgets of an audience, proves that he is no studio fake. If ‘Scarbo’, the final piece in Gaspard de la nuit, is not very scary, it is never less than ravishingly sensuous, like multi-coloured glass, and ‘Ondine’ and ‘Le Gibet’ are the most magical recordings I can recall since Argerich. The Chopin nocturnes sound like private improvisations, as if Lifschitz is seeking out the piano’s innermost secrets; they emerge as strangely experimental, both expressively and literally endless. Inspiring. Adrian Jack