I have to say that I'm a Buniatishvili junkie. Every time I hear her perform I wonder what planet she came from; she is that different. She has tremendous passion combined with marvelous technique and wonderful control. She can be blindingly fast when she wants to be, and play unbelievably quietly at times. Most importantly, she is not afraid to experiment and play with tempos. Some people don't like this side of her, but I do; there's way more to music than the printed notes on the page. Here, she brings Pictures at an Exhibition to life in a way I have never heard. The first promenade, which some play as if it were a march, becomes a contemplative stroll, where you almost pause, but not quite. The Gnome explodes with life. In Bydlo, you can hear the oxen straining against the load. This is program music writ large, and Pictures alone is worth the price of the CD. The two companion pieces, Rave's La Valse and Stravinksy's Petrushka, are frosting on the cake. The entire CD is a...
Some of the critics don't like this recording which can only be good news. Khatia puts her imprint on the piece, she doesn't just play the notes. It is interesting from beginning to end. The other pieces on this CD are equally good, especially La Valse. She can make one piano sound like at least 2, possibly 3.
The big work in the program is Pictures at an Exhibition, which I think this pianist plays brilliantly, beautifully, and intelligently. The Petrushka music is also very good. My own personal idea about La Valse, which is not a judgment on Buniatishvili's performance because it's just a matter of intepretation, is that it should start off a little more gracefully--or conservatively--and gradually disintegrate into chaos, just like the society that Ravel is embodying. The next time I hear it I might be in a different mood. I did love the disc and would recommend it to anyone.
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