Lukas Geniusas’ Chopin

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 7

Sound Quality: 8

Chopin’s Mazurkas lend themselves to diverse and even antipodal interpretations, from Ignaz Friedman’s epic wildness to Maryla Jonas’ cameo-like intimacy. As it happens, Lukas Geniusas’ eleven Mazurka performances here run a wide expressive gamut.

The F minor Op. 7 No. 3 Mazurka alone conveys both aggressive energy and discursive rhetorical leeway, while outsize dynamic contrasts mark the B-flat Op. 17 No. 1 piece. Geniusas milks the C-sharp minor Op. 30 No. 4’s rhythms to unpredictable effect, and arguably pushes the D major Op. 33 No.2 a little too fast for its earthy swagger to register. The C-sharp minor Op. 63 No. 3 is fast to the point of perfunctory, where Geniusas makes surprisingly little of Chopin’s inspired canonic passage.

On the other hand, the B minor sonata’s first movement stands out both for the pianist’s intelligent contrapuntal layering and forward sweep, in contrast to his gentler, more episodic reading of the Scherzo. He steadily sustains the Largo’s outer sections, while relaxing a bit in the central episode, where subtle pedal effects imbue the accompanying triplets with an attractive, feathery patina. However, Geniusas’ lurching and rather arbitrary metric tinkerings undermine the finale’s dramatic momentum. The resonant sonics turn overly bright and strident in loudest moments. Worth it for Geniusas’ best Mazurka efforts.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Sonata No. 3: Argerich (DG), Mazurkas (complete): Ohlsson (Hyperion)

    Mazurkas Op. 6 No. 3; Op. 7 No. 3; Op. 17 No. 1; Op. 30 No. 4; Op. 33 Nos. 1, 2, & 3; Op. 63 Nos. 1, 2, & 3; Op. 68 No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor Op. 58
  • Lukas Geniusas (piano)

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