Dances of Marosszek Čiurlionis
Four Preludes and a Mazurka Liszt
Trois Études de Concert [Il Lamento; La Leggierezza; Un Sospiro] Rachmaninov
Moment Musicaux, Op.16
Evelina Puzaite (piano)
Recorded 22-24 January 2007 in Potton Hall, Suffolk
CD No: LANDOR RECORDS LAN281 Duration: 75 minutes Reviewed: November 2007
Reviewed by Colin Anderson
Evelina Puzaite (born 1982) had already impressed before she justifiably won the Abstract Securities Landor Competition in 2006. This recording, with more to come from Landor Records, was amongst the prizes.
And a splendid debut it is too, blessed with recorded sound that marriages immediacy, space and tonal fidelity to a realistic nicety. The Kodály is an excellent opener, smouldering, whimsical and passionate, the earthiness of the music, and also its light and shade, well brought out by Puzaite; her affection for the music is clear and she is also respectful of Kodály’s sophisticated setting of these peasant and gypsy ditties. Annie Fischer, for example, may have found greater abandon (try her on BBC Legends), but Puzaite is a winning guide through this very particular music; just as she is in the pleasing miniatures (the longest is barely two minutes long) by her fellow-Latvian Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911).
Liszt’s Studies (although unnamed by him) include ‘Un Sospiro’: this last-placed piece ripples here with a fine surge of emotion and a directness of utterance, to which Puzaite adds two of Liszt’s revisions. Her playing is candid, maybe too much so, but she is a sensitive exponent of the poetry and depth-of-feeling of all three pieces and finds an attractive dexterity for ‘La Leggierezza’.
The six Moments Musicaux of Rachmaninov add up to a substantial, 32-minute set. Immediately, in the opening ‘Andantino’, Puzaite is alive to the soulful nature of the composer’s writing and, then, in the ‘Allegretto’, its emotional agitation before the respective soul-searching and demonism of the next two pieces. The melodious fifth piece is particularly affecting and the final ‘Maestoso’ is both thunderous and focussed. Puzaite seems to have a special relationship with Rachmaninov’s music. This and the Kodály are especially impressive.