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!
Some stunning playing in this blog by Valentina Lisitsa. Two recordings of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #1: first a solotake filmed by me, then another take of this cadenza – filmed by Val’s husband Alexei Kuznetsoff and at that point with the LSO around 🙂 Both takes filmed at Abbey Road Studios, London, September 2009.
In December 2010 Valentina plays the Rachmaninoff piano concerto #1 twice in Germany with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste: in Duisburg on 9 December and in Köln on 10 December.
An exquisite solotake – filmed by me – of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.1
And another exquisite take – filmed by Alexei, and now ’rounded’ by the LSO at start and finish 🙂 – of the cadenza in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.1
On November 14th, 2010, VPRO television’s sunday morning music programme Vrije Geluiden features classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa. I was at the set in the BIMhuis in Amsterdam and before and after the shooting of her playing and interview I took a few pictures that I present in my YouTubevideo above, a video on my YouTubechannel. In my video I combined my photos of Valentina with her playing of the Rachmaninoff/Warenberg Concerto’s second movement theme, a recording that was also made in Amsterdam, in May 2010. In Vrije Geluiden Valentina plays other not to be missed music by Rachmaninoff: Prelude Op.32,no.5, Etude Tableau Op.39, No.6 and Prelude Op.32, no.12. So don’t miss VPRO’s Vrije Geluiden on 14 November 2010, featuring Valentina Lisitsa, Nederland 1, 10.30 AM (dutch time). Extra information for non-dutch people: Vrije Geluiden is Holland’s weekly tv show for ‘serious music’, featuring the best artists and all kinds of great music in the realms of jazz, classical and world music. The recordings – so, also Valentina’s performance and interview – will be published not long after the broadcast on the website of Vrije Geluiden and on Vrije Geluiden’s YouTubechannel.
OMG… Valentina in a coffin! Click on the picture above to enlarge
So, if you dare… on 31 October 2010 things get ‘scary’ in the Waag in Leiden when ‘spookish’ classical compositions will be played by daredevil-pianist Valentina Lisitsa in a HALLOWEENCONCERT! Tickets can still be ordered via Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden.
One of the pieces Valentina will be playing at the Halloweenconcert is the solo piano version of Liszt’s sensational Totentanz…
Halloweenconcert’s programme (click on picture above to enlarge)
Here’s my not-to-be-missed latest YouTube-report with brilliant pianist Valentina Lisitsa talking about and playing the Rachmaninoff / Warenberg “5th” Concerto. Check it out and let me know what you think.
The complete raw footage of Valentina’s playing of Rachmaninoff / Warenberg in Amsterdam
On August 17th, 18th and 19th 2010 I attended in the Beethovensaal in Hannover Valentina Lisitsa’s rehearsal (17th) and recording sessions (18th and 19th) of the 24 Etudes of Chopin. While a live-webstream was running during Valentina’s playing and Alexei (Valentina’s husband) was putting it on his cameras, I did some webhosting and on the 17th I also filmed some of the rehearsing.
In the upstairs studio there was producer Michael Fine, assisted by Tammy Fine and sound engineer Wolf-Dieter Karwatky.
Valentina and producer Michael Fine
Alexei (Valentina’s husband), Valentina and producer Michael Fine
Valentina played on a veery beautiful Steinway D Hamburg, prepared and taken care off by piano technician Gerd Finkenstein.
Valentina in the Beethovensaal in Hannover
The 24 Etudes were played by Valentina with great artistic depth and a deep understanding of Chopin. There were tiny details and truly magnificent colours that I had not heard before in her playing of the Etudes. Truly amazing!
Me and Valentina during a coffee break
Valentina and the whole crew really loved the wonderful response from the livestream webcast’s visitors.
Right after finishing the recordings Valentina takes a look into the chatroom and starts chatting
As soon as Valentina had finished Op.25-12 she switched to another keyboard and entered the chatroom for a final talk with the viewers and ‘followers’. Big Fun for evryone ! 🙂
On August 7th, 2010, I’ve published two new videos on my YouTubechannel with another 18 minutes of some exquisite playing by Valentina Lisitsa, filmed by me in London, Abbey Road Studios, December 6th, 2009.
It’s some of my footage of Valentina doing solo take recordings of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.4, as part of her Rachmaninoff Project with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), conducted by Michael Francis and produced by Michael Fine.
For this project with the LSO – that’s bound for release by the end of 2010 – Valentina recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London Rachmaninoff’s four piano concertos and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Variations in September 2009 (piano concerti 1 and 2), in December 2009 (piano concerti 3 and 4) and in March 2010 (Paganini Variations).
If you like Rachmaninoff you can’t afford missing Valentina’s exquisite, brilliant, electrifying and delicate ‘Rachy touch’. Listen and enjoy! 🙂