Valentina Lisitsa's album Love Story - one of the most captivating releases of the year from the old-school steely-fingered virtuoso pianist
17 September 2016
I admire the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa, because Our Val is a competitor.
Troubled a decade ago that she wasn’t making that elusive breakthrough, she uploaded a lot of her stuff on to the internet, with her playing on a rickety old school piano, and then awaited developments.
One hundred and fifteen million hits later, she can perhaps consider that initiative a success.
It brought a Decca contract, under which she has made a number of CDs I have praised here. And now she clicks the silver-screen nostalgia button with a CD of golden-age movie themes.
She’s an old-school steely-fingered virtuoso – whoever said women were the weaker sex never heard Our Val play.
Stuff like Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto, Hubert Bath’s Cornish Rhapsody and Charles Williams’s The Dream Of Olwen – called the ‘Denham concertos’ after the studios where their respective films Dangerous Moonlight, Love Story and While I Live were made in the Forties – glitter and glisten, making this one of the most captivating releases of the year for anyone who loves a good tune.
Happily Val isn’t a one-club pianist. She can mix it up, with moments of genuine repose amid the razzle-dazzle.
Val is also to be congratulated on digging out some enticing rarities to complete this generous 70-minute issue.
There’s another Addinsell piece, called Invocation, which is pretty good, and another Williams rhapsody that featured in that memorable Jack Lemmon movie The Apartment and is absolutely brilliant. I’ve played it over and over again.