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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