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Cued Up

Thankful for Lubimov

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Ten years ago, the Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov recorded Der Bote (The Messenger), an intimate collection of elegiac piano miniatures spanning three centuries and diverse nationalities. As part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival earlier this month, Lubimov performed Der Bote for a small audience at the Kaplan Penthouse for the festival’s Late Night Elegy series.

On this episode of Cued Up on Q2, a Web cast of this recital kicks off an all-Lubimov showcase that includes performances ranging from solo piano with orchestra to solo harpsichord with tape. Tune in on Sunday, November 7 at 2 p.m.

Lubimov’s vast musical curiosity informs the diverse programming of his White Light recital, featuring composers ranging from Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach to the Armenian composer, Tigur Mansurian. The recital attests to Lubimov's uncanny ability to capture a specific emotional sentiment and send it resonating through varied, seemingly incongruous mediums.

The emotional thread uniting the disparate works in this recital never breaks, with even the boisterous forearm- and open-palm-laden Sonata No. 6 by Galina Ustvolskaya coming across as "brutally spiritual." On the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum, the hushed final works on the recital, Der Bote and Postlude by Valentin Silvestrov, are directed to be performed with the piano lid completely closed.

In Cued Up’s second hour, Lubimov performs four works for four different instrumental mediums. Opening with Henryk Gorecki’s Concerto for Piano and Strings, the hour also includes Vladimir Martynov’s rarely heard but immensely beautiful Autumn Song for harpsichord and pre-recorded tape, Arvo Pärt’s early solo piano work Partita and Alfred Schnittke’s high-impact Piano Quintet, which employs microtonal clusters in the strings and contains one of music's all-time eeriest waltzes.

Though Lubimov has earned a deserved reputation as a tireless promoter of the avant-garde - especially of Baltic, Russian and former Soviet Republic artists - and a master in Baroque and early music, his capacity for the warhorses of Classical and Romantic repertoire is not to be missed. Stream on-demand the second of his Late Night Elegy recitals covering the two sets of Schubert Impromptus