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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

Chamber Music - Released October 31, 2005 | Warner Classics International

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Nikolai Lugansky is a Russian virtuoso in the grand tradition with a huge tone, a terrific technique, and a taste for the biggest possible repertoire. But while there's no denying that Lugansky can perform anything from Chopin to Rachmaninov to Beethoven, there's also no asserting that Lugansky can interpret everything from Chopin to Rachmaninov to Beethoven. In this disc of two of Beethoven's best-known and two of Beethoven's less-known sonatas, Lugansky turns in tremendously impressive performances of the "Appassionata" and the "Moonlight Sonatas" that don't stand up to concentrated listening and only slightly less impressive performances of the two-movement F major Sonata, Op. 54, and the four-movement D major Sonata, Op. 10/3, that grow shallower the longer they go on. His command of the piano is as complete as the best players in Russian tradition, but the thrills of his virtuosity in the closing movements of the "Appassionata" and the "Moonlight" seem cold compared with the red hot inspiration of the music. And in the elevated lyricism of the F major Sonata and the expansive mastery of the D major Sonata, Lugansky's reserved interpretations belie the depths of the music. Perverse as it may sound, Lugansky might be well served by performing nothing but Bach's partitas, his English and French suites, and particularly his Well-Tempered Clavier for the next few years and then come back to Beethoven. The discipline of counterpoint is a wonderful cure for rampant virtuosity. Warner's sound is lively and bright. © TiVo