MOZART: Fantasia in C minor, K. 475. SCHUBERT-LISZT: Des Mädchens Klage/Der Doppelgänger/Erlkönig. BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 "Moonlight." RACHMANIBNOFF: Etude-0tableau in A minor, Op. 39 No. 6. Prelude in G, Op. 32 No. 3. Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 32 No. 12. Prelude in B minor, Op. 32 No. 1. Prelude in G minor, Op., 23 No. 5. SCRIABIN: 2 Poèmes, Op. 32. Etude in F sharp minor, Op. 42 No. 3. Etude, Op. 65 No. 1. CHOPIN: Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1. Nocturne in E flat, Op. 9 No. 2. LISZT: Totentanz. Ave Maria. La campanella. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-sharp minior.
Valentina Lisitsa, piano
DECCA DVD B0017174

MUSTO: Improvisation and Fugue. BEETHOVEN: Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 "The Tempest." LISZT: Concert Etude No. 3 "Un sospiro." VERDI-LISZT: Paraphrase on Rigoletto. MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition. FOSTER-TSUJII: Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair. CHOPIN: Prelude in D flat, Op. 26 No. 15. TSUJII: Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunam of March 11, 2011.
Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano

EUROARTS DVD 2059088 TT: 97 min.

EUROARTS DVD VIDEO 2059314 TT: 105 min. + 59 min. documentary

42-year old Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa achieved incredible fame from her YouTube videos—her performances have had millions of viewings. She has an impressive career, winning a number of competitions, and has given many recitals and appearances as soloist. Already she has a number of CDs and DVDs, but nothing to match the hype of her performance in Royal Albert Hall June 19 of this year, now available on this DVD. It's a major production with dramatic lighting, and two large screens along the back of the Hall so the audience can really see what's going on. The stage is dramatically lit and colors sometimes change. Apparently the audience had a way to choose at least part of the program, and it is varied....and it is brilliant in every way. Lisitsa is a major pianist with a fantastic technique, playing millions of notes with greatest accuracy and tonal beauty. Her opening address to the sold-out audience is a "bonus" and shows she has a terrific sense of humor, and it is followed by a spectacular playing of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12. She plays several works that are featured on her YouTube videos. The adoring audience loves every minute of it, and for good reason. This is an impressive issue from a fine artist who got a big break via YouTube.

Japanese pianist/composer Nobuyuki Tsujii (b. 1988) has been blind from birth but didn't let that keep him from music. He reached the semifinals and won the Critic's Award at the 15th International Chopin Competition in 2005, and in 2009 shared the Gold Prize in that year's Van Cliburn competition.Tsuj ii is phenomenal, particularly so as he must learn his repertory by having someone else play it for him so he can memorize it—what incredible stamina and patience he has!! This DVD presents his Carnegie Hall recital of March 11, 2011, and it is a triumph. Even the most challenging cross-hands playing and wide-spread chords are delivered with accuracy, and this Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the finest you'll ever hear. Tsujii's keyboard manner is rather agitated, his face expressive. He also is a composer, and the concert ends with one of his works, the Elegy, which is not as dark and dramatic as the title suggests. Perhaps it is symbolic of the pianist's optimistic view of life. Excellent video and sound. A fascinating issue by an incredible artist.

The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic created quite a stir when they first appeared on the musical scene four ago. There is a huge audience for their unique sonority and artistry, reflected in their many recording over the years. The ensemble was all-male until 1982 when Solène Kermarrec joined the group. This DVD offers a concert commemorating their 40th anniversary, and it is a gala occasion presented in Berlin's Philharmonie in March of this year. Their playing is impeccable, and they produce incredible sounds. There are two guests, soprano Annette Dasch in music of Debussy and Ravel, and German jazz trumpet virtuoso Till Brönner who gives a fantastic performance of Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight. The lengthy documentary by Enrique Sanchrez Lansch is beautifully done, offering interviews with many past members of the 12 Cellist group, and an extended interlude with the charming Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina as she attends their rehearsal of a work they commissioned from her, Labyrinth. Video and audio are excellent throughout—this is a totally satisfying DVD in every way.

R.E.B. (August 2012)