Saturday, February 4

The case of Valentina Lisitsa

I don't think there is a single pianist with an internet access who does not know the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa! The extraordinary thing about this girl is that she was made known not through winning prestigious competitions or through experienced agents but almost exclusively through youtube! It must be the only case of a truly "virtual" career! 

Of course, now she is playing everywhere (she has a recital in the Royal Albert Hall this coming June), although I don't think she has any plans to visit Greece! 
She is outrageously  talented, not doubt about that. It seems to me that she has to the fullest extent this very special Russian quality that only people from these countries (ex-Soviet Union) seem to possess: an incredible dynamism matched with a "masculine" (I cannot find a better word) musicality; Valentina's Rachmaninoff probably best summarises her musical qualities: listen, for instance, to this rendering of R's etude-tableau op. 39 no 6. 

I've played that piece myself many times, and I am well aware of its great difficulty. What strikes me in Valentina's recording is not so much her technical achievement (she plays it as fast as it can really get!) but the fact that she has a very clear idea of what she wants to do and why. As I read  in  a review for one of her concerts, "she uses her vistuosity to express, not to impress". 
Clarity of thought, intelligent decisions, daring interpretational choices - these are the perfect ingredients for a unique and masterful recording. 


Rodolfo Gomes said...

Couldn't agree more. Mrs. Lisitsa is fantastic.

christos makropoulos said...

She is indeed. I know she has recently recorded all the Rachmaninoff concerti but, to my knowledge, no cd has come out yet...
Do you know anything about that?
Anyway, thanks very much for your comment!!