An artist of phenomenal powers, Mûza Rubackyté (pronounced roo-BAHT-skee-tay) did not become known in the West until perestroika allowed her departure from the Soviet Union in 1989. In 1981, at 22, she took Grand Prize at the Liszt/Bartók International Competition in Budapest, a rapturously welcomed exposure to Western audiences leading to contracts for worldwide tours and championship by Antal Dorati -- which came to nothing when her passport was withheld. Her career began in the way familiar with prodigies: her mother and grandmother were pianists, her father an opera singer, and training began when she could reach the keys; studies in Lithuania at the School for Gifted Children; a debut with the Lithuanian National Philharmonic at age seven; studies at the Vilnius Conservatory (1973-1976); and numerous prize-takings in Lithuania. Admitted to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in 1976, she studied with Flier, Davidovich, and Voskressensky until 1982. Reaping the displeasure of Soviet authorities, her recital career in the years 1982-1989 was largely spent touring Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan, revealing her mesmerizing art in unheated classrooms and at workers' shift breaks, relieved by rare concerts in Moscow or St. Petersburg and the occasional stint with Lithuanian orchestras. Her international career dates from 1990 with First Prize at the prestigious Grands Maîtres Français competition and domicile in Paris, where she serves as the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture's ambassador. She tours widely, visiting the United States, Latin America, England, Holland, and Germany frequently, though her main axis of activity lies between Paris and Prague. Her tours are often accompanied by master classes, and she participates annually in a master class through the Moscow Conservatory. In 2006, the Lithuanian government presented Rubackyté with the National Award, its highest civilian honor, for her accomplishments. Her few recordings, mainly of Liszt -- notably, the Sonata, Paganini Études, and the Années de pèlerinage -- have established her as a divinatory interpreter, indeed, one of the greatest Lisztians in the annals of recorded performance, even as they have obscured her much wider repertoire, which embraces some 35 concertos; Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms; French composers (e.g., Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Messiaen); as well as the expected Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich. Her two-CD survey of the music of her compatriot Mikalojus Ciurlionis is a labor of love revealing that composer as a compelling prophet of the technical and visionary directions 20th century music would take following his early death in 1911. She released the Preludes and Fugues of Shostakovich on Brilliant in 2007. Her performances are characterized by an infallible sense of development, or narrative, richly colored, lyrically alive, spontaneous yet à la lettre, projected with a fluently omnicompetent ease that renders discussions of "technique" superfluous.
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Classical - Released October 15, 2006 | Brilliant Classics
Whatever one wants in Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues -- wit, whimsy, passion, tenderness, optimism, pessimism -- it's there in these performances by the young Lithuanian pianist Mûza Rubackyté. She has the technique to play everything in the score -- gnarly textures, massive sonorities, hurtling tempos, and more. She has the intellect to articulate everything in the score -- backwards, forwards, upside-down, and sideways, double, triple, and quadruple fugues and more. But best of all, Rubackyté has the depth of soul and bigness of heart to express everything in the score. Written while he was under proscription by the Soviet composer's union, Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues are his most overtly traditional works. Here, the iconoclastic modernism of his earlier works is entirely excised, replaced by statement, counter-statement, augmentation, diminution, inversion, and stretto. But that doesn't mean Shostakovich has lightened the music's intensity. Far from it: the Preludes and Fugues are also among the composer's most emotionally loaded works -- and Rubackyté expresses their emotional content with the same brilliance she brings to their technical and intellectual content. While hardcore Shostakovich fans may not want to give up their recordings of the Preludes and Fugues by Tatiana Nikolayeva and Vladimir Ashkenazy, they may want to make room between them on their shelves for Mûza Rubackyté. Brilliant's sound is reserved and recessed. © TiVo
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