Presse-Mappe Press Kit



Penguin Guide for Classical CDs and DVDs 2003/2004   image original

Very fine Bach playing here from an artist little known in Britain. Elena Kuschnerova was a pupil of Tatiana Kestner, whose pupils have included Gavrilov and Nikolai Petrov. Since 1992 she has lived in Germany, and has, it seems, made records of Prokofiev and Scriabin. Make no mistake, this disc, which derives from a recital given at Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, in March 2000, is altogether outstanding. Indeed it is one of the finest Bach recitals on the piano we have had in recent years from a newcomer to the British catalogue. She has a commanding musical presence - the listener is held from beginning to end - and the rhytmic vitality and keenly articulated phrasing betoken a fine musical intelligence. The C minor French Suite is wonderfully alive, and both the E minor Partita and Italian Concerto are full of spirit and freshness. It was Handel who said he wrote music to "make people better" and the present recital leaves the listener feeling exhilarated and purified as only the best Bach playing can. Very good sound.

Rating: ***

Fono Forum, 5-2001


Diese Aufnahme ist lebendig, unbekümmert, feinnervig. Da wird nicht hinterrücks Romantik eingeschluest. Nicht zuviel Pedal, keine Mannerismen. Was gesagt werden soll, klingt frei heraus. Elena Kuschnerovas abwechslungsreiche und wohl überlegte Artikulation überzeugt; daran ändert die mitunter etwas dosierte Betonung der Oberstimme ebenso wenig wie vereinzelte Überhitzung, etwa im dritten Satz des "Italienisches Konzerts" oder in der Gigue der zweiten "Französischen Suite". Den Hörer erwartet insgesamt ein ungetrübtes, intelligent strukturiertes Bach-Spiel.


Bayern-4 CD Tipp, 5-2001

Der Live-Mitschnitt des SWR aus Baden-Baden vom März 2000 besticht durch eine enorme strukturelle Klarheit, zugleich durch seine große, wie selbstverständlich sich entwickelnde sinnliche Unmittelbarkeit. Man merkt der Aufnahme an, dass die russische, seit 1992 in Deutschland lebende Pianistin sich seit ihrer Kindheit intensiv mit Bach beschäftigt. Der wohltuend zurückhaltende Gebrauch des Pedals, die sorgsam ausgehörte Linienführung, ein sensibles Gespür für die tänzerische Bewegung dieser Musik, rhythmische Spannkraft und Lebendigkeit, vorwärtstreibende, aber nie mechanische oder seelenlose Virtuosität, all das rundet sich zu einem Zugriff auf Bach, der auch bei arg strapazierten Stücken wie dem Italienischen Konzert absolut frisch und unverbraucht wirkt. Der natürliche Fluss der Interpretation durchzieht auch die langsamen Sätze, in denen Kuschnerova einen verinnerlichten, doch nie gezirkelten und immer nach vorn gerichteten Ton anschlägt. Ein perfektes Zusammenspiel von Natürlichkeit und analytischer Durchdringung zeichnet diesen rundum überzeugenden Konzertmitschnitt aus. 


Südddeutsche Zeitung, 7-2001

Intelligent, schlank - russisch

Ein Produkt aus der Russischen Pianistenmanufaktur oder eine singuläre Begabung? Die viel gepriesene Elena Kuschnerova erweist sich mit ihrem Bach-Recital als eine Interpretin, die sich nachdrücklich distanziert vom Klaviergigantismus russischer Prägung. 

Ihr Bachspiel ist intelligent, klar konturiert, schlank im Klang und von analytischen Transparänz, die jedem heimischen Pianisten zur Ehre gereichen würde. Elena Kuschnerova wiederlegt Vorurteile mit musikalischen Argumenten.

R. S. 


American Record Guide, 11/12-2001

Concert recording from a 2000 recital in Baden-Baden.  Kushnerova, originally from Moscow, had a thorough Russian training.  Listening to her Bach is something like observing a celestial clockwork. There's a precision and also a sense of ecstasy borne out of contemplating the precision--Glenn Gould had this talent in spades, of course.

But Kushnerova is not merely a Gould knock-off.  In the Italian Concerto and final movement from the E-minor toccata show off her gifts nicely. Tone is full, not strident; rhythms buoyant but not punched out (how she accomplishes this with the big tone she gets defies my understanding.)  The interplay and clarity of contrapuntal lines is detailed and lively.  And there are pleasant surprises: the Allemande from the E-minor Partita is just right: the tempo is moderate, the affect of the movement inflected with rationality and wistfulness in equal measure.  But slower movements make less of an impression.  Everything is in place, and orderly too, but there's not enough lyricism, let alone awe.  And so slow movements like the one in the E-minor Toccata or the Allemande from the C-minor French Suite sound too earthbound even when she indulges in some occasional and judicious rubato.



Fanfare, 11/12-2001

BACH Italian Concerto in F, BWV 971; French Suite No. 2 in c, BWV 813; Toccata in e, BWV 914; Partita No. 6 in e, BWV 830; Prelude and Fugue in c, BWV 847 • Elena Kuschnerova (pn) • ORFEO C 547 011 A (70:15)

I would like to start this review with a confession: I am addicted to period instruments. At first it was only a once-in-a-while thing. I was happy to get a whiff of the drug when a friend came by, but I did not actively search for it. But little by little my body started to require higher and higher doses. Now I am hopelessly addicted, to such an extent that I will choose a Baroque flute or a Baroque violin over their modern counterparts almost anytime. In the case of keyboard instruments the situation is so extreme that Baroque music played on piano tends to leave my nerves on edge. Wow, it felt good to get that off my chest!

So now you will understand that this is not a meager compliment: In the many times I heard this disc, not once did I miss a harpsichord. This is a beautiful, moving CD. The reasons are manifold. It presents some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most marvelous works, impeccably performed, and with a particularly flattering recorded sound.

When one thinks of Bach, the most common portrait that springs to mind is that of a serious man with powdered wig and no trace of a smile in his tight-set mouth. Irrespective of the actual stage in Bach’s life when these pieces were composed. This recording creates a powerful image of Bach as a young man, full of joie de vivre, sense of humor, and such overwhelming sadness as only the young can feel.

Yes, it is all there in the music. But it is Kuschnerova’s touch that brings it to life. She has an almost contradictory combination of qualities: a sort of no-nonsense approach coupled with an unerring sense of poetry. The interpretation is crisp, with no large dramatic gestures. The small gestures, however, are infused with life and insight: The way a character change is brought about, or a cadence is resolved, with an almost imperceptible slackening of the tempo; the inexorable ostinato introduction that enlivens a whole movement.. There are so many graceful, subtle details that listing even a third of  them would take up too much space. Suffice it to say that this is limpid playing, straightforward but at the same time sophisticated, rich with information and ideas.
The fact that this is a live recording seems almost unbelievable, so devoid is it of mistakes and extraneous noises. In fact, there is no sign of hesitation, no choking, no fuzzy passages. Everything sounds easy, fluent, organic. There is true happiness here, and true sadness. The contrasts are presented with flair but no exaggeration, and these well-known works still manage to sound moving, never mushy. It is one of those CDs that don’t get worn out with use, quite the contrary. Each new listening draws our attention to some new delicate musical feature that, by itself, would be worth the price of the CD. Putting it quite simply: This is a wonderful disc, highly recommended.


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