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Sonata No. 23 'appassionata';

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Valentina Lisitsa
  • Composer: Beethoven; Schumann; Thalberg;
  • Audio CD (Sept. 28 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B003VC5216
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,394 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Described by critics as a 'bona fide angel playing' and an 'electrifying pianist', the young Ukrainian-born, North Carolina-based Valentina Lisitsa has been receiving rave reviews ever since her debut in Avery Fisher Hall for the Mostly Mozart Festival. I

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great performance of the Appassionata; the power and passion is there, the sweet song and the thunder-storm. Lisitsa’s technical mastery is complete; painting the big picture, and drawing a wealth of inner detail from even the most compositionally dense passages. The range of dynamic and dramatic contrast is wide, her tone is unfailingly beautiful. Timings are in the general range of other recordings. I felt totally drawn into this performance. Playing like this demands complete attention; not for listening in the car while driving!

After the drama of Beethoven, the quiet reflections of Kinderszenen are the perfect companion. Over-familiar? Deceptively simple? Another revelation. Valentina’s playing is exquisitely beautiful and tender, especially Child going to sleep. I think only a mother could play it like that. The last piece, The Poet Speaks, is profound and deeply moving. Program your player to stop after this piece; sit quietly for a while. Listen to the other selections on the CD some other time.

Thalberg’s piece is better than I thought it would be; a finger-buster with some animus. Like Champagne, best taken not too often. Liszt’s Totentanz is also a supreme test of a pianist’s playing chops. Valentina has them all for sure.

Keith Davies Jones
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
it was the best yet and i have all of her CD's, hope she comes to Canada (Toronto) or Peterborough
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An excellent collection, however if you've watched her Albert Hall DVD and were mesmerized by her interpretation of Liszt's Totendanz, and decided to buy the CD for it, please note that this is a different recording where she plays a Steinway not a Bosendorfer. Just not the same thing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f32439c) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f353de0) out of 5 stars Best Totentanz available Dec 4 2012
By Amos Burch - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't know a lot of the appropriate reviewer's language, but I am a serious music lover. This girl's got some chops. One of the classical world's rising stars, Valentina will not disappoint you! The final track, Liszt's Totentanz, is what interested me. I own three other recordings of this fearsome and macabre masterpiece, and none of them come closer to what I perceive as the Lisztonian ideal than this by Valentina Lisitsa. She turns the keyboard into something truly frightening! One can almost see the angel of death harvesting humanity! It is awe inspiring.
A marvelous album, also including a fine performance of Beethoven's 'Appassionata ' sonata, Schumann's 'Songs of Childhood', and Thalberg's fantastically virtuosic Grand Fantasy on the Motifs of The Barber of Seville.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f357228) out of 5 stars Oh My Goodness! Feb. 2 2013
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I'd only vaguely heard of Valentina Lisitsa before I got this disc. But I will certainly be hearing her name (and her playing) again and again in the future. This, my friends, is the real deal. She brings something unique to each of the (very different) works played here, something that I've now listened to multiple times with increasing awe and appreciation.

Her 'Appassionata' is just that, impassioned. As I listened to the alternately tender and galvanic playing in this most familiar of Beethoven's sonatas I became aware that Lisitsa is a complete pianist, a complete artist. She gets deep into the keys for the bold, dramatic or solemn bits and yet has a fairy-light touch in the virtuosic spots. This is as satisfying an Appassionata as I've heard in years. My experience of this sonata goes back to my teens, more than sixty years ago, when I heard Rubinstein's recording (and begged my piano teacher to let me learn the sonata), all the way through Schnabel, Horowitz, Brendel, Serkin, Perahia, Arrau, Craig Sheppard, Louis Lortie and on and on. Lisitsa's performance is clearly the equal of any of those and she brings her own unique dramatic and poetic sense to the process.

Schumann's 'Kinderszenen' is often thought to require only moderately advanced technique, but that is clearly an underestimation of the works' difficulties, both technical and musical. Lisitsa's 'Träumerei' ranks with Horowitz's, and I've simply never heard as stunning a rendition of 'An Important Event' before now.

Thalberg was a virtuoso pianist, a rival of Liszt's, who made his career mostly playing his own rather lightweight virtuoso pieces. Only a few of his works deserve more than an occasional hearing. His 'Grand Fantasy on Motifs from Rossini's "Barber of Seville"', however, is one that deserves to be heard often, partly because of its construction, which is masterly, or because of its mind-blowing technical fireworks, or its loving reconstruction of some of the most familiar (and some startlingly unfamiliar) motifs from Rossini's opera. I've heard the work in at least ten recordings and this one is the best I've ever heard. Lisitsa has the fastest fingers in the West but make no mistake she uses them musically.

I have never been very fond of Liszt's bombastic 'Totentanz', either in its original piano/orchestra version or the piano-alone version, which we hear here. But Lisitsa makes me almost a believer and there are, frankly, some passages that make sense to me for the first time ever. This is an exciting performance. Huzzah!

I'll be looking for more Lisitsa, that's for sure.

Scott Morrison
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f35727c) out of 5 stars Spectacular performances led by a fierce "Totentanz" Jan. 29 2013
By T. Fisher - Published on
Format: Audio CD
On this album Valentina Lisitsa once again shows she is worth the hype, if there were any doubt following her triumphant Rachmaninoff releases of last year. These performances are actually from May 2008, although they are suddenly getting a "new release" treatment from Naxos in January 2013 despite a 2010 initial release date.

These are spectacular performances, and I have to agree with the previous reviewer that her rendition of Liszt's "Totentanz" -- fierce but also bright in turns -- is the highlight of the set. This version for solo piano, a reduction of Liszt's original version for piano and orchestra, is really something else. This audio recording is highly recommended, but also note this actual performance was also recorded on video and can be seen in its entirety on YouTube, as well as on Lisitsa's "Live at the Royal Albert Hall" DVD.

Beethoven's "Appassionada" sonata is delivered in a performance that lives up to its name. Thalberg's Fantasy on The Barber of Seville was a surprise for me -- a great piano showpiece recapitulating themes from Rossini's opera without getting bogged down in the famous bits. Schumann's "Kinderszenen", a relatively simple set of pieces compared to the other material on the album, is delivered with simplicity and tenderness.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f3575c4) out of 5 stars Great Music, Great Performance June 11 2013
By Maicoman - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love Melodic Classical Piano music and this is great. Beautiful to listen to and very technically challenging, showing the artists capabilities. She plays without the need of music and I have one of her DVDs where she plays several difficult pieces live for over an hour without a single piece of music. Check her performances out on YouTube. I like her interpretations and the way she gets totally wrapped up in the notes and the emotions of the pieces. Fantastic artist and humble. You can listen to her interview on YouTube also.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f357540) out of 5 stars Outstanding! Sept. 21 2013
By Wave Wolf - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Valentina Lisitsa has shared her music so generously on YouTube. I bought this CD so I can listen without interruption anywhere, and will enjoy repeated listenings. One of the greatest pianists ever, I think--powerful technique and musical expression.

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