LISZT Recital by Polina Leschenko – Prelude and Fugue in a minor; Valse de l’opera Faust; Piano Sonata in b minor; BUSONI: The Bach Chaconne – Avanti Classic
LISZT Recital by Polina Leschenko – Prelude and Fugue in a minor; Valse de l’opera Faust; Piano Sonata in b minor; BUSONI: The Bach Chaconne – Polina Leschenko, piano – Avanti Classic Multichannel SACD 5414706 10272, 56:42 [Distr. by Forte Dist.] ****:
Brussels-based Russian pianist Leschenko is an internationally-known concert pianist who was heard on two previous recordings on this same label, which we have reviewed: Prokofiev / Schumann.
She frequently performs on chamber music projects with Martha Argerich, and has taught at the Brussels Royal Conservatory. Not only is she pleasing of appearance (played up in the SACD’s photography, but not excessively so – unlike certain female violinists), but as with some others – such as Olga Kern – no one would accuse Leschenko of sounding like a female pianist. The finger-busting intricacies of Busoni’s Bach transcription are delivered with great precision and strength, and the many forceful passages of the Liszt piano sonata dazzle us with their inspired virtuosity.
At first the inclusion of the Busoni transcription in the otherwise all-Liszt recital seems a bit odd. But the plan is to have it follow Liszt’s Prelude and Fugue in a minor which opens the program, and to thus illustrate that the masterful Bach transcriptions by both composers demonstrate Busoni as being of similar lineage to Liszt.
The 5.0-channel piano sound is rich and of extremely wide dynamic range, but on the surround option there is not much information in the surround channels. Some of the selections have an immense sound, but fortunately the micing of the piano doesn’t make it sound 40 feet wide.
– John Sunier