Khatia’s Love Story Gets Disturbed In London – Slipped DiscSlipped Disc

norman lebrecht

May 15, 2022

From Tony Sanderson:

The program notes for Khatia Buniatishvili’s recital at the Barbican Center in London tonight told us she was taking us on a journey. An unexpected twist in the journey was that she had to make the journey from love through rejection and back to love again.

It was clear from the start that this was a recital with a difference, as Khatia drew us into her inner world by creating the musical textures and drawing the melodic line that created its own tension. There seemed to be a bittersweet quality to her playing that seemed new.

However, her decision to extend the melodic line in Schubert’s Impromptu No.3 and then Schubert/Liszt proved too much for a concertgoer who shouted sh*t. The tempo was clearly an artistic decision by the pianist and was always controversial. She showed us that she is perfectly capable of playing fast and rhythmically, as she showed in Vladimir Horowitz’s arrangement of Liszt’s second Hungarian rhapsody and the Precipitato of Prokofiev’s seventh piano sonata. However, in a large venue like the Barbican Center a larger projection of the music would not have gone amiss. At the end, her many fans gave her a standing ovation while the only dissenter was long gone.

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