Fine Music Magazine - April 2011

Natasha Vlassenko: Piano works on Beethoven and Schubert

Although one cannot dismiss any of Beethoven’s music as trivial, the Bagatelles, op 7 fall into the category of ‘trifles’ despite their elegance. This was the purpose of their composition. At the same time, an impromptu was also deemed to be a trifle and Schubert’s Impromptus, D899 were returned to the composer by the publisher with a note that they were too complicated and too difficult to play to be classed as trifles.

These two sets and Beethoven’s Fantasia in G minor, op 77 are played by Russian-born Natasha Vlassenko, currently Head of Keyboard at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. A graduate of the Moskow Tchaikovsky Conservatorium, she was the recipient of the Tchaikovsky Scholarship and has won prestigious international prizes including the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna and the Busoni International Competition in Bolzano, Italy. Her playing is superb: light and delicate or vigorous and dramatic where needed.

The presentation of the recording is pathetic! It is doubtful that, even if one has perfect vision, the titles and times of the works can be read easily without a magnifying glass. The listings, in a faint white print on a dark brown surface, are only on the insert in the back of the case. Even the names of the composers are hard to read.

The booklet has a brief biography of the pianist, just slightly longer than I have written here but there is a long interview with her. There are no track listings and no information about the music. The music is lovely and well-played so my complaints may not be important to many who just want to listen to the music.

 

Elaine Siversen

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