Over het album
The Grande Dame of the Russian Piano School releases her newest Album PARIS with works by Ravel, Enescu and Debussy; a program that takes us back in time and makes us live, even if for just a moment, in the Ville Lumière, strolling the streets of Montmartre.
Between vey well known works like Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and some Préludes by Debussy, she offers us the less known, rhapsodic 1st Sonata in F Sharp minor by Georges Enescu, a work that has accompanied her since the age of 18, when she won the George Enescu Competition in Bucharest. But above all, with this album, Elisabeth Leonskaja stays once more true to her commitment as a musician, never imposing herself on the music she plays.
Enescu’s F sharp minor Sonata is a sphinx which, this pianist persuades us, has real secrets at every turn. If his first movement felt like an improvisation, it was one with miraculous modulations and hints of themes that he could have developed, had he so chosen. A presto whirls us into the streets before a tolling, entombed finale which eventually comes up for air.
Around it we needed the concentrated flights of Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales and three Debussy Préludes. The Ravel was all about the subtlest of waltz-rubatos – they would be writ large in the Brahms – while Leonskaja kept her bigger, blueprint sonorities in check for Enescu. With perfect symmetry, her second encore would restore us to French 3/4 in a serious take on Debussy’s La plus que lente. Refreshingly, there was not a hint of dry ice in either of these phantom ballrooms, nor in Debussy’s wind that sweeps majestically across the plains. His Girl with the Flaxen Hair was more an imperious Mona Lisa than a Greek kore; we would have to wait for the Brahms sonata for Leonskaja’s hypnotic way with seemingly simple meditations. the artsdesk.com – David Nice