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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica
After recording Rachmaninov's 24 Preludes and a recital dedicated to Claude Debussy for his new publisher harmonia mundi, pianist Nikolai Lugansky extends his repertoire even further with a monographic album dedicated solely to César Franck. The list of piano works by this organ-playing composer was not very extensive, so Lugansky chose to perform the Prelude, Fugue and Variation Op. 18, and theChorale No. 2 , on the piano, both in the same key. Written specifically for the piano, the two triptychs Prélude, Choral et Fugue and Prélude, Aria et Final are inspired by both Bach and Liszt and had an obvious influence on later French music, particularly with Albéric Magnard (Symphony No. 3) and all the way up to Francis Poulenc (Concerto for organ ). Nikolai Lugansky constructs these pieces like a builder, with unfailing solidity. He brings out the architecture and the projections with power and fullness, while looking for what he calls "a French sound, a beauty of sonority and refined sound without lourdeur". © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released February 16, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Unfortunately no, dear reader, there is no such thing as a cycle of “24 Preludes” by Rachmaninoff; however there are indeed 24 Preludes: a collection of ten Op. 23 from 1903, 13 other Op. 32 from 1910 and one isolated Prelude from the Morceaux de fantaisie Op. 3 (Fantasy Pieces) from 1893. In total: 24 Preludes, in which as a simple count shows Rachmaninoff − much like Chopin and of course Bach − illustrated all major and minor tones. Deliberately random, or the involuntary drive to create a reasonably coherent cycle? Contrary to his two illustrious predecessors, Rachmaninoff didn’t order his Preludes according to a specific tonal plan: the musician’s fantasy develops bit by bit. Nikolai Lugansky – described by the famous magazine Gramophone as “the most innovative and transcendent interpreter of all” (so much for the others…), truly an extraordinarily deep and polyvalent pianist – decided to present the Preludes in the order prescribed by partitions, rather than reorganising them according to some hypothetical tonal logic, without knowing if Rachmaninoff would even have recommended or even considered it, particularly as the constant alternation of moods, independently of any tonal consideration, gives the piece a sense of perfect coherence. Finally it’s worth mentioning that Lugansky offers a very “original” interpretation of this divine music, which may feel like a re-discovery to some listeners. © SM/Qobuz
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Solo Piano - Released October 5, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great 'colourist' and father of modern music. After Rachmaninoff's Preludes, Nikolai Lugansky wanted to present a finely nuanced portrait of this composer so fond of travelling! Whether it ranges over time (Hommage à Haydn) or the most vividly imagined open spaces, this freely composed programme is concerned above all with light and colour, in works we can never tire of. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released May 19, 2017 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Though less well-known than his operas, his symphonies and concertos, Tchaikovsky’s piano music nonetheless contains at least essential works of his, i.e. the cycle The Seasons Op. 37b, and the Grand Sonata Op. 37. Composed at a period of crisis in the composer’s personal life, they illustrate two quite different aspects of his style: on the one hand we have the fashionable worldliness of The Seasons, pieces that almost belong to the genre of salon music; on the other hand, we see him ambitiously grappling with the large format of the classical sonata, in the tradition of his illustrious predecessors. Composed between December 1875 and May 1876, the cycle of The Seasons was written like some kind of musical calendar for the year 1876, to a commission by the publisher of the monthly review Le Nouvelliste, the idea being to issue a piano piece every month. Composed in 1878 when the classical sonata – which composers deemed to be too restrictive – was largely abandoned in favour of free-form pieces, Tchaikovsky’s Grand Sonata in G major upheld the ancient four-movement structure. The pianistic writing of the Grand Sonata conveys a sense of forceful power that seems to go beyond the tonal dimensions of the piano and conjure up the multiple sound resources of a symphony orchestra, as might be expected from someone of the composer’s power. In a letter to his younger brother, Tchaikovsky complained about the difficulties he faced in writing his sonata: “I'm working on a sonata for piano... [and its composition] does not come easily. I worked unsuccessfully, with little progress. I'm again having to force myself to work, without much enthusiasm. I can't understand why it should be the case that, in spite of so many favourable circumstances, I’m not in the mood for work. I'm having to squeeze out of myself weak and feeble ideas, and ruminate over each bar. But I keep at it, and hope that inspiration will suddenly strike.” Tchaikovsky isn’t particularly a piano composer; and the only recording of him that Nikolai Lugansky had made up till now was of the First Piano Concerto; even though the pianist had played several of his works for the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994. He has been described by Gramophone as ‘the most trailblazing and meteoric performer of all’ for his extraordinary depth and versatility. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 13, 2020 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
Édouard Herriot once said: ‘In Beethoven, everything comes from within. His model is not the rule of the schoolroom.’ This is particularly true of the late sonatas, which contain elements of both intimate journal (Romain Rolland saw in Op. 101 ‘a day in the inner life’ of Beethoven) and total experimentation (the variations of Op. 109!) before attaining the mystical serenity of the very last sonata, Op. 111. Here is Nikolai Lugansky’s long-awaited vision of this pianistic Everest. © harmonia mundi
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Classical - Released January 5, 2001 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released March 1, 2002 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released March 5, 2004 | Warner Classics International

When he's not throwing tantrums and slamming the keyboard, Sergey Prokofiev is a wonderfully lyrical and sometimes even deeply moving composer. Alongside moments and whole movements of egocentric virtuosity and tremendous vulgarity, there are moments and melodies, passages and pages in his Piano Sonata No. 4 and No. 6 as beautiful as anything he ever composed. And all the music from the ballet Romeo and Juliet is among the most lyrical and the most expressive Prokofiev ever composed and his piano suite drawn from the ballet has an intimacy and soulfulness that belie the composer's image as a enfant terrible. When Prokofiev is throwing tantrums and slamming the keyboard, Nikolai Lugansky is at his worst. Which is not to say that Lugansky lacks the technique, far from it: Lugansky has a technique equal to the demands of Prokofiev's recklessly virtuosic piano writing. However, when Prokofiev gets willfully brutal, Lugansky descends to Prokofiev's level and bludgeons with the worst of the Russian bangers before him. But when Prokofiev's at his best, so is Lugansky, and the music's expressive lyricism pours through his fingers and much of Lugansky's Romeo and Juliet suite is among the most ravishing performances of the music on piano. Warner's sound is too harsh above forte but quite lovely at pianissimo. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 17, 2020 | harmonia mundi

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Harmonia Mundi's centenary edition of the works of Claude Debussy necessarily includes several different interpretations of his keyboard music, and Nikolai Lugansky's single-disc contribution offers only a selection of well-known pieces, featuring the Suite Bergamasque and including L'Isle joyeuse, the Deux Arabesques, La plus que lente, Jardins sous la pluie, three pieces from Images II, and the Hommage à Haydn. For the most part, this is an album of reflective pieces that don't require a big sound, and the program shows mostly Lugansky's quiet side, emphasizing his polished technique and ability to glide nearly effortlessly over the keys with a delicate touch and warm tone. These qualities were noted in Debussy's own playing, and the restraint and control displayed here gives us an idea of how the composer's contemporaries likely heard his playing. Listeners new to Debussy may try the famous Clair de lune or the Passepied from the Suite Bergamasque, which are among the composer's greatest hits, though the whole album deserves sampling, if only to get an idea of Lugansky's technical flexibility and refined expressions. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Concertos - Released March 1, 2005 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released July 6, 2016 | TRITON

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Classical - Released June 29, 2016 | TRITON