On evidence here, Lisitsa has formidable technical chops, with playing distinguished by quick tempos that hew close to Rachmaninov's own, exceptional clarity of texture, and razor-sharp rhythm and attacks (along with a penchant for full-bodied, Horowitz-style chords). These qualities come forth most strongly in Concerto No. 3, where the pianist's accuracy and detail at such high speeds [impresses] . . . in No. 4 Lisitsa's focus and drive does lend shape and clarity, making the music sound less discursive than usual. Concerto No. 2 comes off best, as Lisitsa exhibits genuine feeling and tenderness in the enchanting Andante second movement. Conductor Michael Francis at last makes his presence known in this work, pointing up Rachmaninov's gorgeous orchestral colors and dynamic shadings.
. . . a warm, engaging and admirable disc of Liszt's florid, self-indulgent transcriptions. The Schubert song treatments are lovely . . . She does have a good vision . . . for this music. Bravo to her for "El contrabandista" . . . and for "Erlkoenig" . . .
Anyone who heard pianist Valentina Lisitsa . . . knew right away she wasn't just a passing YouTube wonder, but an artist deserving a place at the head table of the world's most interesting classical soloists. The latest keepsake of her highly individual, overtly expressive approach to the piano is [this new disc] . . . Lisitsa's selection of pieces is as interesting as her interpretations . . . The journey drags us from the drawing room to the concert stage and then back again as well as taking us from introspection to extravagant shows of emotion -- and back again, as well. Lisitsa's interpretive contribution impresses on many levels: The first, the most obvious, is her unbelievably fluid technique, which doesn't recognize any obstacles; the second is in an absolute clarity in teasing out every musically important idea in each score; the third is making the piano sing seductively from beginning to end. This is not just about sparkle and cascading runs and crashing chords. This is about gorgeous [music] . . . [Verdi/Liszt & Schubert/Liszt]: They capture everything that makes the original music so captivating, including the singing, while enhancing it with colours and textures that take advantage of everything a modern concert-grand piano has to offer.