Motherland – Piano pieces by Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Kancheli, Ligeti, Brahms, Liszt and others

Reviewed on Mon 07 Jul, 2014

After well-received recordings devoted to Liszt and Chopin, Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili presents an album that is part self-portrait formed of shorter pieces with personal meaning and sentiment, and part reflection of a musician’s nomadic lifestyle. Indeed, it’s somewhat of an adventure to jump from composer to composer, but on the whole the programme works in its own right, and individual pieces are thoughtfully played as well. There’s a certain sorrow found in the sound-world of the Romantics such as Brahms, Mendelssohn and Dvořák (the latter's Slavonic Dance in E minor, Op 72 No 2, given in duet with Khatia’s sister, Gvantsa). This contrasts to pleasing effect with the crispness of touch given to the moderns such as Kancheli and Pärt, whilst also infusing her Bach and Scarlatti playing. Arguably, though, it is Khatia’s own arrangement of a Georgian traditional tune that comes most from the heart, and rightly so. Clean recorded sound rounds out a more than usually satisfying concept disc from this bright young thing of the keyboard world.
–Evan Dickerson