Rachmaninov by Nikolai Lugansky
Obviously it is a difficult task to pick just one favourite recording of a piece – especially when we can have a collection of favourite pieces depending on our mood. Sometimes after a long week we might need a delicate dose of Debussy, or a succulent segment of Scriabin, or even a calming cadence of Chopin!
At this point in time, one of my top 3 most enjoyable works to play would be the Moments Musicaux Op.16 by Sergei Rachmaninov. The set includes 6 solo piano pieces that were composed between October and December 1896. Each piece represents a musical form characteristic of a previous musical era. The form of my favourite one – No.4 – is in the style of a virtuosic etude. Resembling the ‘Revolutionary Etude’ of Chopin, it possesses a taxing amount of semiquavers in the left hand, with large chords and leaps in the right hand. Market ‘presto’, the piece allows little time for recouping energy…so it is definitely a test of stamina!
Of the performances I have heard, the interpretation by Nikolai Lugansky must be one of the best. With nearly unparalleled speed, clarity and phrasing, Lugansky paints a whirlwind of snow and ice howling through the deserted snow-plains of Russia.
To listen to my favourite ‘Record’ of the Moment Musicaux No.4 in E minor by Sergei Rachmaninov, click here.