Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos and Works for Solo Piano by Jan Lisiecki
It is very interesting listening to a recording when you know the soloist has chosen the orchestra and the repertoire. You would not have thought it would make such a big difference in the musicality of the performance. But right from the opening chords I knew something was a little more, well, more, about this album. Then when reading the programme notes I discovered that Jan Lisiecki not only chose the accompanying orchestra but also was extremely specific in his choice of repertoire.
At the mere age of 23, Lisiecki is commanding the attention of the classical music world for his mature interpretations of standard repertoire. This is abundantly obvious from his performance on this album. Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor is precise, dignified, showy and everything a piano concerto should be and Lisiecki gives it all the right touches. He was allowed to choose just three of the Songs Without Words to round out the album and insisted on only the Variations sérieuses, the Rondo capriccioso and the ‘Venetian Boat Song’ to complement the previous two concerti and the Variations sérieuses in D minor. These renditions made me wish I knew the works better to truly understand his interpretation.