Liszt - Lazaridis - International Piano

The Greek pianist and composer George-Emmanuel Lazaridis is emerging as a highly significant artist, having studied at conservatoires in his homeland and the UK, and privately with Alfred Brendel. In this recording he addresses core repertoire that sets considerable technical and music challenges, particularly for the younger artist.

The Liszt Sonata receives a mature and confident performance of considerable depth. Ruminative and powerful rather than evoking the semonic spirit of Horowitz, his approach is one of nobility and clear structural awareness. As befits a Yonty Solomon pupil, his ear for sonority is highly attuned, with chords often beautifully balanced and sound that genuinely beguiles the ear.

Lazaridis demonstrated a very clear concept of where the music is going - possibly a legacy of his own work in composition. Some recordings of the Liszt Sonata - and I am thinking particularly here of Pascal Roge - sound somewhat compressed into peaks and troughs of drama; with Lazaridis there is a feeling of more natural and organic flow. Again showing a hallmark of musical understanding and an important affinity with Liszt's middle-period style, he is not afraid to allow pauses their full duration as the prevailing gesture makes its effect before being contrasted with new material. All technical demands are met with assurance and the grand style without any feeling of barnstorming.

The Paganini Etudes are similarly pleasing, with no.2 in particular delightfully witty and fleet. One has the feeling of a pianist relaxed into the demands of the music and enjoying its qualities of display and oratory, and in turn it is very enjoyable to hear the music presented with such elan and humour. 'La Campanella' sounds bright, with only a touch of unpersuasiveness about the trills (occasionally a little leaden), and the final Lutoslawski-inspiring variations are carried off impressively. This is Liszt playing of a high order, and an indication of a very promising career to come.

04 September 2006