Lola Astanova is no stranger to readers of this blog. In September, we saw her electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Sonata. October featured my extended interview with Lola, which touched on her early life in Tashkent, the influence of Vladimir Horowitz, and her views about contemporary classical music composition, among other subjects.
This month, we hear Lola perform three pieces by Frederic Chopin. Lola is a passionate interpreter of Chopin; her longtime instructor and legendary piano professor Lev Naumov said of her, “Lola Astanova possesses a rare and truly ingenious intuitive ability. Chopin performed by Lola is simply outstanding…” – an opinion I think you will share after watching these videos.
For our first video, Lola plays Chopin’s famous Nocturne Op. 27, No 2. Many musicologists rank the two Nocturnes of Opus 27 among Chopin’s greatest compositions, and Robert Schumann referred to them as “the most heartfelt and transfigured creations evolved in music.”
In our interview last month, Lola spoke about the next piece as follows: “I guess the first piece that I was consciously truly excited about learning was Chopin’s “Fantasie Impromptu”. I was about ten years old, but I had heard and loved that piece from the early childhood. The score looked very busy with lots of notes, so in my mind playing it well somehow symbolized being a good pianist.”
In our final video, Lola gives an impassioned performance of one of Chopin’s most dramatic études (and one of my personal favorites), Op. 25, No. 12. She also delivers a short message on a subject close to her heart: the need for all of us to continue to support the arts despite a difficult economic climate.
I encourage you to visit http://lolaastanova.com, where you can learn more about Lola and watch additional videos. You can also purchase her CD, which is entitled “Debut” and features the music of Liszt, Beethoven, and much more by Chopin.