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Franz Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor was played with blazing conviction and steely virtuosity to burn. This is tempest tossed, restless romanticism in full flower -- at once angelic and shamelessly flashy. (Leonard Bernstein once suggested that Liszt's musical soul was a combination of Faust and Mephistopheles.) Ms Osetinskaya brought passionate inner fire to every bar. At times she attacked the score's incendiary roulades at break neck speed. In the more poetic sections she was not afraid to linger and elongate a motif. There was nothing episodic in her performance. (Too often pianists play this work in a choppy, incoherent manner.) Every note and phrase was part of a greater design. The entire score seemed to flow on wings of tempestuous song. Ms Osetinskaya's technical powers and musical repose were remarkable! A great performance of a landmark of musical romanticism!

In response to an enthusiastic ovation Ms Osetinskaya essayed a Toccata of J S Bach with pristine Baroque style, glowing tonal coloration, and absolute clarity of line. Rachmaninoff's Moment Musicau was intense bravura playing in the grand Russian tradition. (What a performance Ms Osetinskaya could give of Rachmaninoff's grandiose Third Piano Concerto or his technically audacious, elusive Fourth Concerto!) Finally the theme from the film Katia Ismailova (Moscow Nights), a charming vignette by Leonid Desyatnikov was a vivid reminder of Ms Osetinskaya's mastery of contemporary Russian musical idioms. Her playing was fluent, agile, and elegantly stylized.

Polina Osetinskaya. Photo © 2005 Lou Razzano
Polina Osetinskaya. Photo © 2005 Lou Razzano

Polina Osetinskaya is terrific pianist. More importantly, she is a magnificently endowed musician. Her performances always explore new facets of even the most familiar scores. Ms Osetinskaya should be heard in South Florida in the concerto repertoire with orchestra. If any young artist deserves a major international career it is Ms Osetinskaya. She is a musical treasure!

Copyright © 15 September 2005 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA



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