One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3 No. 2 [4:09]
Ten Preludes, Op. 23 [32:08]
Thirteen Preludes, Op. 32 [39:34]
Lukas Geniušas (piano)
rec. live, 25 March 2013, Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Russia
PIANO CLASSICS PCL0078 [75:52]

This is an extremely good recording of the complete Rachmaninoff preludes. It’s also a live recording, a single concert on 25 March 2013, which makes it an extraordinary achievement. The concentration, skill, stamina and imagination required to perform at such a high level, through the entire cycle, demonstrate that Lukas Geniušas is a formidable pianist. Indeed, one is tempted to make a pun about his last name.

Geniušas actually improves as he goes along, too. The preludes Op. 23 Nos. 2-4 are maybe the plainest performances. No. 3 is just too square but Geniušas does not lose strength by the end. Quite the contrary: once you get to the Op. 32 set of preludes, you realize something special is happening. Geniušas drives the rhythm of the E minor prelude (Op. 32 No. 4) relentlessly forward, building the piece to a massive climax and then perfectly capturing the quiet conclusion. After that comes the glowingly beautiful prelude in G, here as prettily sung as it ever has been. The F-major prelude sounds a little like Debussy, intriguingly. My favorite prelude of all, the short allegro in G sharp minor, gets a performance in which the pianist’s extraordinarily fast fingers are also capable of unusual subtlety. When the cycle concludes, you almost look forward to hearing the applause Geniušas has earned.

Sound quality is very good for a live performance. I simply can’t imagine the virtuosity, memory and artistry required to record this enormous cycle of challenging music in a single live take. The booklet claims that this was recorded live in one night but I challenge you to find one misplayed note or one moment lacking in absolute confidence.

All this should not surprise the serious piano nerd/snob, since Lukas Geniušas is grandson of the extraordinary Vera Gornostaeva, who was his first piano teacher. If you’ve heard of Gornostaeva, it’s because one of her re-issues was my 2014 Recording of the Year, or perhaps because as a professor she taught young pianists named Ivo Pogorelich, Alexander Paley, Vassily Primakov and Sergei Babayan. She would be proud.

Brian Reinhart



 

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger