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Evelina Puzaite - Moments Musicaux

Dances of Marosszek (1930) [12:41]
Mikalojus Konstantinas ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911)
Prelude Op. 12 No. 1 [1:51]; Prelude VL 241 [1:02]; Prelude VL 187 [1:81]; Prelude VL 298 (Impromptu) [0:45]; Mazurka Op. 3 No. 3 [1:33]
Franz LISZT (1811-1866)
Trois Études de Concert S.144 [23:31]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Moments Musicaux Op. 16 [31:52]
Evelina Puzaite (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 22-24 January 2007

Evelina Puzaite was born in 1982 in Vilnius, Lithuania and has been the recipient of many prizes. Most recently she won the Abstract Securities Landor Competition in 2006. I assume that the present recording, the first of her long term contract with Landor Records, is one result of that competition. If so, it does credit to both Ms Puzaite and Landor. The choice of music is interesting and well suited to her abilities and style. The presentation of the disc, with extensive and helpful notes by Jeremy Hayes is a model of its kind - although it would have helped if the tracks had been numbered.
The Kodály is well known in its orchestral guise, but I had not heard it in its original piano version before, and am very glad to have done so now, especially in such a convincing performance. Ms Puzaite has a very considerable technique and obvious views on the character of the music she plays. This applies even more to the Rachmaninov and Liszt where each piece is distinctly characterized. At times the freedom which she applies to the text might perhaps be thought excessive, but overall I found these fresh and convincing performances.
Although they fill only a small part of the disc, it was the Preludes by Čiurlionis that I enjoyed most. Brief pieces that do not outstay their welcome, each has its own character and interest. The reproductions of two of his paintings in the booklet are too small to draw any serious conclusions about the relationship between his music and painting but they do whet the appetite to see more. It is good not only that Ms Puzaite should want to record music by her compatriot but that Landor have allowed her to do so. I hope that she is allowed to continue this in her future recordings with them.
I have purposely not compared this disc with others in the case of the better known works. At this stage in her career what matters is that Ms Puzaite shows obvious abilities and promise, and that she has produced a debut album which is thoroughly enjoyable in itself. I look forward to future recordings with considerable interest.
John Sheppard


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