promotiefilmpje voor het Royal Albert Hall-concert op 19 juni 2012
Vanaf het moment dat ik enkele jaren geleden met Valentina kennismaakte – zie mijn bijdragen op YouTube en op mijn weblog – heb ik geen moment getwijfeld dat haar ster naar de hoogste platforms zou reiken. Het wonderlijke is wel, voor ieder die haar muzikale verrichtingen goed heeft gevolgd, dat de gang naar het grote succes nog zo lang op zich liet wachten, maar ach, over een paar jaar heeft niemand het daar nog over. 🙂
een door mij gemaakte Valentina Lisitsa promo-video van voorjaar 2010
A picture I took of Valentina after her recital in Haarlem
What a musical triumph on Friday night 27 January 2012 in Haarlem, where Valentina played a recital. It was stunning-superb! In contrast to her recital in Delft on January 22nd – where she played on a terrible Yamaha – the stage in Haarlem offered far better conditions to help improve the performance and to stimulate Valentina to give her best. The Philharmonie in Haarlem had (from my position in the middle of its hall) good acoustics and Valentina played on a well prepared Steinway and – very crucial – one on which she had been practicing the past few days with good guidance of a piano technician. It paved the way to push Valentina to yet another extraordinary musical result. She played an astonishing programme, that covered many composers and a huge array of emotions: Beethoven’s Sonata No.26, Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Thalberg’s Grande Fantaisie Op.63, five Chopin Nocturnes and Liszt’s Totentanz.
Her touch ranged from the utmost delicacy to the most exuberant and extreme. In some pieces I heard an angelic poet (Schumann), in some a tempting siren (Chopin), in some a devilish lady with stainless steel in her mighty hands (like no one else really and totally amazing in the Totentanz!) and in yet other pieces all these musical powers greatly combined.
The Steinway that was put to the test by Valentina. Afterwards the instrument was diagnosed with PTS-syndrome, due to its peak-experiences on ‘1/27’ 🙂
Throughout the evening the musical delivery was clearly articulated and expressed with subtlety in evry detail. The audience was spellbound and carried away by the eloquence of Valentina’s musical tale-telling, always interesting and alternating from sheer poetry to an amazing virtuosity that doesn’t look difficult for her.
There was a nice surprise at the beginning: because of Mozart’s birthday – on January 27th – Valentina started her recital with a brilliant execution of his Fantasia in C-minor, KV475. Then the programme unfolded as mentioned. The audience’s great enthusiasm (there was already a standing ovation before the break) was rewarded with three marvellous encores: first Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ (arranged by Liszt), then the charming Chopin Nocturne in E Flat Major Op.9, No.2 and Valentina ended with a mighty virtuoso-bravura piece: Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.12.
This was a night to remember. Wow!
A couple of days ago – on 18 December – Valentina Lisitsa published on her YouTubechannel a wonderful performance of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’, transcribed for piano by Liszt. In the comment on her video Valentina made this suggestion: “If you feel creative, please go ahead and make better visuals – or just use it as a soundtrack for a self-made Christmas card (..).” As I was planning to make a Christmas & New Year-video, I took my chance and combined Valentina’s awesome playing with some footage that I thought would fit in nicely and so on the evening of Thursday 22 December I made this video… and oh, don’t forget to play in HD. 🙂
This superb electrifying performance has now over 500.000 views and shows Valentina Lisitsa’s deep connection with Liszt’s Totentanz. Total control and commitment combine in the best way and Valentina’s performance is unmatched in its display of musical brilliance. Videos on her YT-channel now have over 28 million views! Subscribers: more than 34.000. Very telling!
Below four pictures I took of pianist/keyboardplayer Zoe Rahman at Roots Open Air 2009 in Amsterdam, while she was playing with the band of Natacha Atlas. Only recently I found out she’s also a very good jazz pianist, making her own music, beautiful music! She’s Irish with Bengali cultural and family roots, a mixed background which fits her nicely – I think – in Natacha Atlas’s band 🙂 Below also three YouTube-videos of the Zoe Rahman Trio, featuring in two of the clips Zoe’s brother Idris, who does the beautiful sensuous clarinet playing.