Thursday 21 January 2016

A remarkably fine Liszt recital from Maria Razumovskaya, a debut disc that brings new insights and pleasures at every turn

Maria Razumovskaya studied in the class of Rustem Hayroudinoff at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating from the Master of Music in Performance and Research degree with Distinction with several performance prizes.  She furthered her piano studies with Professor Dmitri Alexeev as an AHRC and RCM scholar at the Royal College of Music.

She has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician across the United Kingdom in venues including St John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St James’ Piccadilly, South Bank Centre, Steinway Hall, Wyastone Hall, Jacqueline du Pre Concert Hall and the Holywell Rooms. Abroad her performances have included large international festivals in Germany and Switzerland including a solo recital at the coveted ‘Cully Classique’ in a programme line-up which included recitals by Nikolai Lugansky, Piotr Anderszewski and Marc Andre Hamelin. 

Razumovskaya has recently released her debut album of Ferenc Liszt's (1811-1886) Piano Sonata in B minor, Petrarch Sonnets and Variations on a Theme of Bach for the Malachite/LMI label

Maria Razumovskaya brings a real authority to the opening of Variations on a Theme by Bach ‘Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen’ , S. 180 with the following passages bringing a wonderfully withdrawn poetic vision. She provided a lovely long flowing line, beautifully phrased with a fine ebb and flow, rising through some finely conceived dynamic passages, full of unrestrained power. What stands out is this pianist’s fine clarity of line and phrasing. Her technique is quite superb and this is a powerful, thrilling and deeply felt account

Of the Three Petrarch Sonnets Sonetto 47 del Petrarca ‘Benedetto sia il giorno’, S. 161/4 brings some beautifully controlled playing. Razumovskaya seems to have an instinctive insight into Liszt’s sound world with beautiful phrasing that reveals so much. She brings a finely controlled rhythmic lift to the opening of the Sonetto 104 del Petrarca ‘Pace non trovo’ , S. 161/5 with some finely shaped phrases and such a fine touch. This is an exquisite performance, her fine rubato occasionally bringing a rather Chopinesque feel. The music is developed wonderfully, rising to some fine peaks – and what a really fine coda, so sensitively done.  This pianist allows the Sonetto 123 del Petrarca ‘I’ vidi in terra angelici costumi’, S. 161/6 to develop so naturally, perfectly poised with some beautifully hushed, delicate playing, revealing what a gem this Sonetto is.

Right from the opening few notes of the Sonata in B minor, S. 178 Razumovskaya creates an intense feeling of tension, rising with a bell like clarity.  She brings a very fine flexible tempo as the sonata develops, wonderfully built and controlled. This is no barnstorming performance but a carefully conceived reading. Again this pianist reveals her exquisite touch as she carefully builds the music to moments of finely controlled passion. There is an authoritative grandeur, a kaleidoscope of ever changing emotions, tempi and dynamics as well as moments of intense power set against much poetry and thoughtfulness. This carefully considered performance takes longer than many others but when the rising theme appears half way it is all the more impressive for the carefully built development. She moves through some beautifully tender, crystalline passages before picking up a fleet and rhythmically buoyant tempo. Later there are moments of fine grandeur as well as more intensely powerful passages before a finely done coda that brings a real sense of completion.

This is an impressive, often personal, poetic, wonderfully conceived performance that should be heard. It is a real journey of discovery, a Liszt recital to return to over and over again with enormous pleasure. 

As a debut recording this is a remarkably fine recital, a disc that brings new insights and pleasures at every turn. The recording from Tony Faulkner is tip top and there are notes on Liszt and his piano music by the pianist. 

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