Related Reviews
SA-CD.net
5 Stars
I'd be tempted to take my chances crossing a motorway to hear playing of this quality!
more >>
Classicstoday.com
5 Stars
The power and ferocity of the climaxes are enough to make sure you've insured your loudspeakers and warned your neighbors! Clearly Lazaridis is no run-of-the-mill virtuoso, and we're sure to hear more from him.
more >>
Audiophile Audition
4 Stars
Playful, deftly leggierissimo, and elegantly fluid, the piece lights on dragonfly wings then surges up a lion's paw.
more >>
Diapason
5 Stars
En français
more >>
The Pianist
Pianist Recommended - Lazaridis easily slips into the top ranks with his finely recorded performance here.
more >>
Le Soir
En français
more >>
Le Soir
...the darling of major concert halls...
more >>
Opus Magazine
En français - Un Super Audio CD de démonstration.
more >>
Opus Magazine France
...a fascinating range of expression...
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
"Instrumental Disc of the Month" - warmly recommended. Liszt with authority...
more >>
Classic FM Magazine
5 Stars
FIVE STAR REVIEW - As each mesmerising episode unfolds, the listener is compelled along by the sheer force of Lazaridis's artistic personality.
more >>
Gramophone Magazine
A performance of of formidable eloquence and achievement, and it has been finely recorded and presented.
more >>
The Scotsman
4 Stars
Lazaridis packs a mighty punch with a torturous coupling
more >>
International Piano
Liszt playing of a high order, and an indication of a very promising career to come.
more >>

George-Emmanuel Lazaridis – Liszt: Sonatas and Etudes


01 March 2007
Atlanta Audio Society
Phil Muse

I've always regarded Liszt's B-Minor Sonata as one of music's wonders. Employing cyclic form to combine all the movements of the traditional sonata into one, it demands utmost concentration of the pianist for half an hour. So perfect are its formal outlines and its harmonic scheme that we are always aware of moving towards a destination. When the artist finally takes us there, we breathe a sigh of heartfelt contentment: "You really did it right, Franz!"

Of course, there is also ample scope for virtuosity along the way, and pianist George-Emmanuel Lazaridis gives it to us in double-handfuls in this stunning new offering from Linn Records. In a work that opens and closes softly and has some very intense moments en route, Lazaridis displays complete mastery of the full dynamic range, and Linn's superb multichannel SACD sound allows us to hear it all. This is a pianist to set concert halls afire and cause meltdown on your DVD player.

In terms of rubato, a technique of which Liszt was certainly an advocate, I am less happy with this performance, especially in contrast to the more even-handed approach used by Leonard Pennario in this work in The Early Years (MSR 1188) which I reviewed in last month's New Classik Reviews. Essentially, rubato involves lengthening or condensing increments of time in a musical passage. The word comes from an Italian root meaning "to steal," and like a good thief, the pianist using rubato is obliged to take the time he steals in one place and replace it in another. When you're talking about romantic era music, rubato is always on the table.

Like many young keyboard artists, Lazaridis is inclined to take the dramatic passages very fast and tempestuously, while he has a tendency to really take his time and caress the quieter, more intimate ones. At 33:38, his B-Minor Sonata is on the long side - almost 7 minutes longer than Pennario's, which came as a surprise. Of course, the difference in use of rubato is largely a matter of taste. While I prefer Pennario's approach for the insight it gives me into the music, one cannot deny the tremendous excitement that Lazaridis generates in this work.

The other half of the program consists of six of Liszt's Paganini Etudes, including the two ever-popular "name" Etudes, La Campanella and La Chasse, and the famous 24th Etude that inspired both Brahms and Rachmaninoff to write variations. The dynamic qualities that Lazaridis displayed in the first half of the program are also present here.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

George-Emmanuel LazaridisGeorge-Emmanuel Lazaridis
Liszt: Sonata and EtudesLiszt: Sonata and Etudes