Lukas Geniusas at St Johns Smith Square ,London.

Great expectations awaited the return to London of Lukas Geniusas,the young Lithuanian ~Russian pianist much admired recently in the Tchaikowsky Competition in Moscow. Supreme control and superb sense of balance that allowed him to make the piano sing in a way that is all too rare these days. The first Brahms sonata that so often is given a heavy orchestral sound was here in the hands of this magician sheer poetry. Rarely have those rather ungrateful chords sounded so beautiful.An orchestra ,yes ,but the Berlin Philharmonic in this pianists hands.So many magical moments but maybe the most sublime was the way he sang the second subject of the first movement In no way was the rythmic energy sacrificed, for this was a full blooded performance reminiscent of a young Wilhelm Kempff. The Beethoven too ,so often thrown off as early Beethoven can be.Full of astonishing contrast but never sacrificing the overall line and impetus ,so much part of Beethoven’s soul. Astonishing sounds too after the interval in 3 Burlesques by Bartok.Here in the hands of this master pianist were the most beguiling pieces that made one wonder why they are not heard more often. I think the answer lies that there are not many pianists after Richter that can rise to the challenges that they pose. Prokofiev 7th sonata came as a bit of an anticlimax with the first movement too fast to really allow the contrasts to tell.The second movement not simple or projected enough.The last movement for its control and unrelenting rhythmic impetus brought the recital to a triumphant end. Unfortunately two Chopin encores in extreme bad taste .A mazurka with the strangest rubato and a “Cat “waltz at such breakneck speed it was more reminiscent of “Kitten on the keys” than the” aristocat” that it could be in the hands of a Rubinstein. Pity to finish on such a note after a recital of some supreme musicianship and trascendental piano playing.


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