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Khatia Buniatishvili concert review / San Francisco Classical Voice

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On Sunday night at Le Petit Trianon in San José, the Steinway Society of the Bay Area presented the young Georgian-born, Paris-based pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, who played quite an ambitious program. How about Liszt's colossal B-Minor Sonata as a warm-up piece? Then follow it with Ravel's preposterously difficult transcription of his symphonic poem La Valse?

Fortunately, in both of these pieces Buniatishvili demonstrated more than awe-inspiring octaves and astounding passagework. Liszt's sprawling, multifaceted Sonata can easily disintegrate into a succession of motley fragments. Buniatishvili, however, bonded the Sonata into a cohesive narrative that overflowed with ferocious intensity, vivid imagery, and sheer excitement. For many performers, the numerous transitions between the sections of this convoluted form can be rather problematic, but not for Buniatishvili; she navigated through these with naturalness and a deeply felt musicality.

READ THE FULL San Francisco Classical Voice REVIEW