Two young giants cross swords in Verbier Giovanni Bertolazzi and Nikita Lukinov

Two young pianists flying high in Verbier- Nikita Lukinov and Giovanni Bertolazzi what do they have in common?
The most intelligent and exciting performances of the Liszt sonata that I have heard for too long.
A masterpiece dedicated to Schumann and despite Clara Schumann’s refusal to play such a bombastic piece it is recognised together with the Schumann Fantasie (dedicated to Liszt) and Chopin’s 4th Ballade as the pinnacles of the romantic piano repertoire.
Liszt also meticulously edited all the sonatas of Beethoven yet so many pianists disregard the very precise indications in his own music preferring to play as loud and fast as possible.
The rot sets in from the very first page where the indications of p,mf,f are substituted for the ff that is not requested until the second page.
Cortot,the great poet of the piano,made the first recording and his rhetorical opening did not set a good example to future generations who misunderstood his unique personal vision as an example to follow.
I never expected to hear the Liszt sonata restored to what the composer actually wrote until I heard the twenty year old Nikita Lukinov in London………later in Rome I was to be catapulted into a performance of such fire and imagination by Giovanni Bertolazzi who had a vision of the sonata that held me mesmerised.
Maybe not quite as meticulous as Nikita but Sergio Tofano,the great Italian actor, once said to his students that there is no such thing as a right or a wrong way but you must convince the audience.
By God these two young pianists certainly convinced me and I will not forget that in a hurry.
I am glad that Giovanni has been able to record the sonata and just hope Nikita will follow suit soon…….two beacons shining brightly whose paths have crossed this summer in Verbier ………small world !

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