If Lise de la Salle's pianism were a distillery, the whisky resulting would taste only of fine grains, pure water and a hint of heather ruffled by clean winds.
It can be off-putting to note the absences in a performance, but here that's a matter of appreciating lack of elaboration, of rush, of self-regard. The playing is level-headed, of high skill, ever poised in respect of profound and exciting music. Tempi are well chosen, with a sense of air and light passing through the aural architecture. Small details also contribute: for instance, the producers have allowed a few extra seconds between tracks - though not, by way of a proper touch of urgency, between Präludium and Fuga in Liszt's transcription of Bach's organ work BWV 543.
De la Salle shows an intellectual's care in all she offers - not least when choosing passages by which to unleash great noise or by which to employ silence (that precious absence in music and in life). Witness, for example, her deft sidling-away from the end of Liszt's Sonetto 104 del Petrarca.
This pianist indicates equipment and promise of an artist for the long haul - she turns 25 this year - during which may she enjoy instruments as splendid, not least in the bass, as that when this CD was laid down in 2004. The Steinway's quality can be at least partly ascribed to its tuner, Joël Jobé, who receives a credit in the accompanying booklet. Good: the essential valets and maids of the pianoforte and its cousins deserve acknowledgement.
2 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?