Mûza Rubackyté in recital, and on disc,
appreciated by BILL NEWMAN
Not very much passes me by unnoticed, although in this highly competitive age one tries to be selective -- particularly when it comes to international pianists whose playing continues to stimulate the senses. I came across the name Mûza Rubackyté after talking to Richard Ruck who runs Terra Firma, a distribution company which imports some pretty exclusive quality labels onto the British record market. One such is Lyrinx who have obviously studied carefully and selected wisely from the instrumental scene with the idea of not only filling artistic and musical gaps, but also delighting knowledgeable connoisseurs for whom the ideal performance is a constant craving of inexhaustable sufferings and endless potential possibilities.
Les Études de Liszt Volume 1. Mûza Rubackyté, piano. (LYR156) © Lyrinx
I played Mûza's Liszt Etudes Volume One on LYR156 to my old friend James Lock, late Senior Classical Engineer to Decca Records before they became swallowed up by the new, combined company setup that calls itself Universal. Generally, my guideline to hearing something special occurs within about ten seconds from the start of a performance. The trusted shivers that denote sudden high blood pressure usually descend the back muscles, and writing this I am also keeping a wary watch on the performer's eyes and smiling mouth in the booklet handout. Rafael Kubelik always said that meeting someone for the first time, he watched the expression on their face that showed whether they were a musician, or not! There's that expectancy of knowing what will come next; somehow the thinking process communicates strongly with the listener after hearing them play. It is part of their performing personality makeup, and apart from the singing tone and phraseology it contributes towards the architectural growth behind the composer's intentions and the uniqueness of the style of interpretation. That is what makes Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage, the three CD set on LYR2216 so special, although apart from the other two recording nominees (Ciccolini and Berman) I should also like to add the magnificent Edith Farnadi who died early and whose Westminster recordings have been disgracefully ignored on Compact Disc.
Liszt: Années de Pèlerinage. Mûza Rubackyté (LYR2216) © Lyrinx
My newly made friends Ivan and Renée Beal from the Mill Hill Music Club kindly sent on to me Mûza's latest CD offering 'In Concert -- Favourite Piano Classics', with one exception short encore pieces or groups of works that combine beautifully in recital. The playing is, of course, magnificent in a selection ranging from Schubert/Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Chopin, Ciurlionis (the Lithuanian composer, hardly ever played in the UK), Liszt and Paganini/Liszt. The exception is the eleven-minute long Reminiscences de Robert le Diable, Valse infernale, but throughout one is especially aware of the clarity of phrasing and fingerwork, above all the rhythmic nuances and overall expressiveness. The catalogue number is LNF 005, a recording sponsored by the Lithuanian Philharmonic Society.
The Wigmore Hall recital was memorable: Beethoven's Sonata Op 110 and 32 Variations WoO80 which clearly adhered to score and metronome markings, Shostakovich's final Prelude and Fugue No 24 and a Scriabin selection -- Valse Op 38, 4 Etudes, Op 8, and Sonata 5 -- that fabulously confirmed all our beliefs.