Valentina Lisitsa's double-CD of the music of Philip Glass is a generous collection of excerpts drawn from his film music, including The Hours, The Truman Show, and Mishima, as well as from concert works, such as Glassworks, How Now, The Metamorphosis, and Mad Rush, among other selections. While Glass achieved fame through his early ensemble pieces, where he developed a bright-edged sound through the use of electronic keyboards, his minimalism is easily adaptable to the piano, though the characteristic ostinato patterns that gave his earlier scores a fierce energy are somewhat softened in the piano's blander sonorities and more introspective tone. Lisitsa has found a niche in playing minimalist music, as she demonstrated on her successful 2014 album, Chasing Pianos, where she explored the film music of Michael Nyman. This collection is a natural follow-up, and Lisitsa's aptitude for Glass' style is shown in her steady, rocking rhythms and even dynamics, as well as in her poignantly lyrical expressions. One might not have predicted this route for a pianist who started her career by playing Chopin and Rachmaninov on YouTube, but Lisitsa's success has had a lot to do with taking big chances, and here they have paid off handsomely.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson