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Khatia Buniatishvili plays with Toronto Symphony Orchestra / National Post review

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We all need caressing. This is why I rate the professional prospects of Khatia Buniatishvili rather high. On Thursday night the 27-year-old Georgian played Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in a manner that turned Roy Thomson Hall into a flower-laden sitting room and all the listeners (and there were plenty at this Toronto Symphony Orchestra subscription concert) into intimate friends.

Even the entry of the piano in the first movement, marked fortissimo in the score, came out as a less-is-more mezzo-piano. The Larghetto was a wonder of moonlit romance, the tempos free and the filigree exquisite. A quick tempo in the finale did not prevent the scherzando sequence from having a patrician lift.

As if to demonstrate that she has extrovert chops, Buniatishvili played the manic finale of Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 7 as an encore. The rhythm had a jumpy quality that was true to the marking: precipitato. Of course Buniatishvili's elegant stage deportment and dark good looks had no effect whatever on the impression she made. That would be irony. READ THE FULL National Post REVIEW.