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25 March 2013, 10:47 | Updated: 25 March 2013, 10:49
An impressive Romantic showcase from the YouTube sensation pianist, tackling Rachmaninov's complete Piano Concertos and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Album of the Week, 25 March 2013.
There is certainly a lot riding on this album. It came into fruition after Lisitsa remortgaged her house, hired the London Symphony Orchestra, and recorded the music at Abbey Road Studios after her performances went viral on YouTube. What's more, she's tackling not just the most famous of Rachmaninov's piano concertos, the expansive No. 2, but also Nos. 1, 3 and 4, as well as the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Luckily, the recording doesn't disappoint. Each concerto is a perfect showcase for her talent, and she effortlessly tackles all that Rachmaninov's impressive music throws her way - from lively bubbling semiquavers in the opening of Concerto No. 1, to moments of understated beauty in the famous No. 2.
Fans of Rachmaninov's expansive piano melodies and beautifully soupy Romantic moments will not be disappointed, but there's much more to this album than a few hummable tunes. In tackling these huge cornerstones of the piano repertoire in her debut studio album, Valentina Lisitsa proves it's not just Rachmaninov who should be taken seriously.