VALENTINA LISITSA plays PHILIP GLASS 4788079

It is no small mark of the brilliance of Valentina Lisitsa's two-disc traversal of Glass' piano music that she seems to fully understand when to avoid it assiduously and when to employ all the gymnastic skill she's capable of in, say, Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto. Lisitsa is not only devoted to playing the piano music of contemporary minimalists, she is exemplary -- perhaps definitive -- in doing it.

Lisitsa clearly has made this repertory her own, with faultless playing and an excellent ear for dynamic nuance, and the recorded sound envelops you just as completely as does the music.

With a liberal use of rubato -- as much as the genre can bear -- and subtle dynamic shifts, Lisitsa succeeds in applying a full palette of colours to these recordings. This set is also very well recorded . . . This is all very approachable for minimalist music . . . full of enjoyable pieces, played very creatively by Ms. Lisitsa . . . this is probably the most accessible collection of music by Philip Glass that has been released in many years.

. . . [these are] skilled piano performances . . . Her careful phrasing and dynamics, applied as though these were works by Schumann or one of the other composers of that period, moves them into a place of truly effective music -- unlike some of the more mechanical performances by other pianists . . .

. . . the most impressive moments are heard in her performance of Glass's suite from "The Hours" and in pieces recycled from soundtracks . . . In "The Poet Acts" from "The Hours", Lisitsa perfectly balances the upper part's unsettling ebb and flow against a deep and resonant bass-line. "Dead Things" and "Tearing Herself Away", also from "The Hours", which open the second disc, are beautifully judged. Glass has rarely been played with as much care shown to the subtle nuances of his minimalist style and aesthetic . . . one cannot deny the inherent musicality that lies at the heart of Lisitsa's playing . . . she proves here that Glass's music can sound stunning when given a more self-consciously Romantic treatment.

. . . Lisitsa brings grace and warmth to [this collection] . . .

Lisitsa reaches successfully for the other worldliness of Glass' minimalist voice. She never loses herself in it because she understands that the immersive experience of Glass' music is best reserved for the listener.

Die schier endlosen, nur scheinbar immer gleichen, sich aber in Feinheiten verńndernden Akkord- und Motivabfolgen in stetiger Spannung vorzutragen, in keiner Sekunde ins Mechanische zu verfallen, und das in Kompositionen, die durchaus eine knappe halbe Stunde dauern k÷nnen -- Valentina Lisitsa gelingt das wunderbar.

. . . eine interessante und h÷renswerte Reverenz an diesen wichtigen amerikanischen Komponisten.