In this Verbier Festival recital, pianist Nikolai Lugansky shows the extent of his talents from the first note he plays. His expressive yet controlled sound, impeccable technique, and subtle musicality lend themselves well to the opening work, Janáček’s Sonata in E-flat Major, a sonata typical of the elusive and poetic music of that composer. Lugansky then passes from Janáček’s enigmatic impressionism to the relentless energy of Sergei Prokofiev. Lugansky’s cool fingers hurl the Montagues and the Capulets into an unending battle through his striking interpretation of excerpts from Prokofiev’s Ten Pieces for Piano from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75.
The works by Liszt saved for the end of his recital spirit us away from the dark iciness of Prokofiev to a world focused on the beauty of nature, earthly spirituality, and metaphysical meditations. With Lugansky’s transparent playing, we listen to The Fountains of the Villa d’Este splash, hear the enchanting poetry of Petrarch’s Sonnets, and drift off into the mystical contemplations of the Douze études d’exécution transcendante.