John von Rhein
To the vast majority of the American classical music
audience, Mûza Rubackyte is just a name, and one difficult to
pronounce, at that. But the Paris-based Lithuanian pianist clearly
deserves to have a big career on these shores, and its mainly Vie
strange, parochial politics of the U.S. music industry that have stood
in her way.
She is also a musician of uncommon sensitivity and intelligence, as tier program proved. Her French group, culminating in Ravel's "Alborada del gracioso" and Messiaen's "Premiere communion de la Vierge" (from "20 Regards sur I'Enfant Jesus"), was as refined as could be, informed by a crystalline touch. How many artists today can play French piano music with this degree of style? Ms. Rubackyte is one of the favored few. And her Liszt Sonata in B minor, which closed the program, was more than impressive technically - it was a deeply musical experience. This sprawling, colossally demanding sonata can easily fall apart in the wrong hands, but Ms. Rubackyté's, control of the long line did not falter for an instance. Her ability to conjure power and lyrical grace where required - often at the same time - seemed as infinite as her tone colors- She made Liszt's demonic imagery palpable
I hope to hear Ms. Rubackyte again soon, in a major local venue, preferably in tandem with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A talent such as hers demands major halls and major orchestras.