Sylviane Falcinelli, Saturday 16 June 2012
Le Festival Chopin, Bagatelle
“The Chopin Festival at the Bagatelle opened with one of those concerts that etches itself on the memory (16 June 2012). A prince of the piano came to the (too) little Orangery: since his youth (he was born on 1 July 1955) Nikolai Demidenko stands on his own in the prestigious Russian school. With each maturely considered musical rendering his playing exploits the lessons of fresh experience, such as new repertoire or the resolution of a technical issue of instrumentation. Whether he is focusing on little-known works of the 18th century or on contemporary music, there is no supposedly minor piece that does not reveal, under his fingers, an unsuspected spark of genius...”
Read the original review (In French) or it's translation on "Press" page.
The Independent, Tuesday 24 January 2012 by Michael Church
Nikolai Demidenko, Wigmore Hall
“Schubertiads were what Franz Schubert’s
friends called the soirees at which he played his works on the piano, and by all
accounts they were joyous occasions.
The Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko invited us to a Schubertiad of his own. This consisted of works culled from the composer’s last year, when, knowing how cruelly his days were numbered, he was beset by headaches and fits of giddiness: this Schubertiad was necessarily a grave affair.
Demidenko’s showed in the first bars of the first Impromptu of the D899 group how big a canvas he proposed to work on: the bare opening chord was like a melancholy call to attention, with the answering phrase like a faint cry in the distance. His tone had a singing warmth, and his pace was gentle: the long sustained lines and the shifts between minor and major were brought out with ballade-like grace. The runs and scales of the second piece were so pearlised and swift that they went like the wind; the third – the rippling one everybody knows, even if they don’t know it’s by Schubert – and the arpeggiated fourth came and went in an exquisite blur. These are not virtuoso pieces, but they benefited enormously from Demidenko’s discreet virtuosity...”
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