Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jan Lisiecki at Verbier, 2011

That (very) young man is Jan Lisiecki, a Canadian pianist and an outstanding one, if I may say so. He first caught my eye when I bought his Chopin piano concertos. My enjoyment was only slightly marred to find that the final movement of one of the concertos was missing on iTunes. I wrote to him to alert him, and, to my surprise, received a link to a temporary 'replacement' track, recorded live, which, in turn lead to a brief exchange of emails on the subject of signing up with DG and retaining some sort of artistic control. He was pretty adamant that he would.

I was delighted, then, to come across this recital at the Verbier festival. The recording is at least fourth hand, having been at least as far East as Bulgaria, and having ended up being tagged in cyrillic! Aside from re-tagging it in European script, I've had no role. It's a very decent recording at about 150kbs VBR. 

And the playing? An antidote to the antics of many of the monkeys of the keyboard of the present day. He even makes Liszt sound bearable (it seems almost impossible to play Liszt without seeming utterly idiotic and vulgar – only Arrau managed it consistently). His Chopin studies are the music without the antics, and his thoughtful Beethoven Op 78 is an interesting approach to a sonata that baffles many pianists by its sheer simplicity. In fact, throughout the recital I found myself simply immersed in the music, almost forgetting to be grateful to Lisiecki for making it so. 

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in F sharp minor BWV 883
Beethoven : Sonata in F sharp number 24 in C major. Cit. 78 Liszt
Concert Studies .S 144 
Il Lamento 
La Leggierezza 
Un Sospiro 
Mendelson-Bartholdy : Variations Serieuses Op 54
Bach : Prelude and Fugue in F minor  BWV 857 
Chopin : Etudes Op 25Valse Op 64/1
Nocturne Op Posth

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  1. How lovely to see such a young musician selecting Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses! Thank you! Makes me want to listen! A program reminiscent of the Golden Era....

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, my dear! He's a young man with qualities that promise to develop into a pianist of stature. I hope that life does not stand in his way!

  2. Actually, my dearest Ronan, I had not yet had the full impact.... I started with the Sérieuses and then I was compelled to hear the rest and I was I M P R E S S E D!! WOW! He's got the mettle and all the potential of a marvellous instrumentalist.... Impressed by his Liszt also... The whole program is lovely....

    MY! Am not easy with the young 'uns but I must admit that this kid blew my brains.... Thank you so much!

  3. Maria - I am delighted to have put some wonderful music your way. Usually it is we who are in your debt!!

  4. It's an intriguing program. And if Maria likes it, it should be well worth a listen. Thank you for posting this.