Valentina Lisitsa, classical review
Wigmore Hall, London
Tuesday 15 April 2014
At the Wigmore Hall in 2007, the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa delivered a dazzling recital of Beethoven and Liszt. The rest is history: Yellow Lounge stardom, YouTube fame through 70 million clicks, and, this month, a (rather depressing) Cd of Nyman piano arrangements.
So what was she doing back at the Wigmore? Could she still play? This live-broadcast concert – of Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ sonata and Liszt’s Herculean B minor sonata – would sort her out.
She gave the first movement of the ‘Tempest’ a clean and spacious grandeur, though - by over-dramatizing its recitative passages – she blurred what should have been a dramatic contrast between it and the Adagio which followed. In the Allegretto, however, silky grace turned into intermittent thunder before evaporating mischievously into the ether.
Liszt’s roller-coaster started as majestically as one could wish, and in no time she was delivering on the promise she had made in last week’s Music Matters: negotiating the notoriously difficult passage-work at extraordinary speed, and with a volcanically huge sound. Yet the craggy contours of this intricate piece were finely delineated, as were its serene plateaux of lyricism. After going off air she slipped into night-club mode, and gave us two full-blooded Liszt and Chopin encores. Yes, she can still play.
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader