"mastered her task pianistially outstandingly up to the most intricate parts of the final fugue, with capturing charme, beautyful charme and ductile with fluent tempi, at the same time always clearly contoured and without any harshness."
Her radically rhethorical introspection gives us a listening experience of Beethoven's music like thoughts, narrations, or conversations. She suspends those in the third movement of the "Hammerklaviersonate" and gives it, through a plain, introvertedly dark tone, a melancholic-dreamy light, which she then observes austerely from afar.
[…] Gradually exploring increasingly profound connections with their theme as they progress, Chopin’s variations on the aria “La ci darem la mano” (from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni) are more fitting for Rubinova. She animates this shimmering landscape with refinement and keenly calculated dramatic thunderclaps, adding seduction at certain moments, and a touch of mystery at others.
Her encore – Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade-Fantasia” – was also a suitable match. As if descending a spiral staircase made of light, a series of delicate, Orientally tinged arabesques spread out alongside powerful blocks of chords.
[…] The evening highlight, however, admittedly lay in the solo piano works, impressively performed by Rubinova. The German pianist from Uzbekistan colors her renditions with the full palette of nuance, from delicacy to vigor, with a beautiful pearly touch.
With majestically sonorous expression and fine-spun elegance, Rubinova traced the contours of this concerto’s fairy-tale-like narrative. She concentrated her interpreter’s gaze less on dreamy sentimentality (which has its place in Tchaikovsky) and more on the work’s jocular, brazen angle. Applying fluid fingerwork, she never ceased to urge the music forward, sculpting the phrases with precise, incisive articulation and achieving an immediately projecting sonority.
Evgenia Rubinova […] performed Mozart’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D Minor K466 in perfect rapport with the orchestra, displaying lightness, much temperament and emotion… […] The pianist “reached for the stars” in her encore: Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.
The audience had ovations in store for the conductor – but likewise, prior to the intermission, for Evgenia Rubinova, with whom he illuminated all the different hues of Mozart’s D Minor Concerto K466.
The pianist’s playing – brilliant dexterity and focused beams of sheer power, along with impressively well-planned cadenzas – always remained in the service of Mozart’s subtle chiaroscuro dramaturgy. The best example thereof was certainly the Romanza, intoned with beautifully unpretentious major-mode innocence up to the sudden surge of a thunderstorm in G Minor. After the work’s demonically plummeting conclusion in pianissimo, the audience hailed Evgenia Rubinova’s performance with thunderous applause.
Evgenia Rubinova throws clear light on that complex structure: a homage to Beethoven’s music in pure form, ‘in fair copy’. Her playing has great immediacy yet never lacks emotional expression. What is fascinating, in her case, is the mixture between the agogic liberties she allows herself and the extremely elaborate, meticulously conceived timbre in certain passages. Yet she always pays close heed to the text. Her art consists in bringing out the music’s magic in an unagitated, yet intense manner. […] In general, she cultivates an immediate, natural sonority and displays a fine sense for spatial and dynamic effect.
Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata is a monumental, overwhelming work. […] Performers dread the final fugue, which is said to be almost unplayable. Here Rubinova’s excellent technique proved its worth. She performed a scintillating fugue, a true show of ‘fugue fireworks’. [...] Entrusted to her fingers, this horrendously difficult last movement sounded light and airy, utterly clear. This was evidently a performance that commanded utmost respect.
What a marvelous combination: with all that radiance and melodiousness in her touch, the pianist – who hails from Tashkent – never loses sight of the general structure of a composition. In her hands, Debussy’s Estampes for solo piano sound as if the fingers were dancing on a water surface: at times flowing, at times applying ‘pearly touch’, then swaying in a breeze once again – not to mention those sparkling pinpoints of light on the water. One forgets that the piano is actually a percussion instrument. However, the most significant aspect is that in Rubinova’s hands the music of Debussy is permeated with a clearly accentuated structure of beautiful harmonies: they cast their own unique spell, full of exotic charm and sweetness. Yet the harmonies fly off in so many different directions that each one acquires its own unique kind of radiance.
It was thrilling to note how she found different means to express the variety of characters in Prokofiev’s musical language – even in the midst of the most intrepid crescendos.
Strongly accentuated rhythm and utter thematic density are the hallmarks of Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto. The young Evgenia Rubinova gave an utterly convincing performance, thanks to the total independence of her hands in pounding chords and in featherweight scale figures. With nuanced phrasing, she laid the emphasis not so much on the work’s eccentric, martial character but imbued it, instead, with the charm of inspired capers and spontaneous flashes of thought. While emotionally absorbed, she impressed the audience with utterly clear articulation.
Beethoven affirmed that fifty years would have to pass before anyone would be able to play his Hammerklavier sonata, which he wrote in 1816/17. […] Her dainty stature notwithstanding, the Tashkent-born Russian pianist brushed off the infamously daunting initial triads with ease. Choosing a rapid tempo, she displayed unpretentious clarity in the fugal development section and managed to maintain technical mastery and structural overview at all times. Rubinova has no need to show off. She’s got what it takes, and, moreover, she ‘gets it’: she understands Beethoven. ‘Wahnsinn! Incredible!’ remarked a member of the audience at one point. Then came the somber, jaggedly torn Adagio movement. Rubinova applied the right amount of ‘air’, that songlike, lyric aesthetic in her sonority; the courage to stop in one’s tracks at certain points while avoiding any type of pathos; the emphasis of defiance and drastic contrasts, just as demanded by the score; the capability of producing a breathtaking pianissimo. In short: Rubinova utterly convinced her audience by proving that this Adagio is not of this world. You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. Silent anticipation, respect, eternity in music. The spell was prolonged throughout the finale, an eccentrically dense fugue featuring a series of baffling counterpoint constructions and demanding the utmost technical and artistic skill. With taut firmness and powerful vehemence, Rubinova imposed a formal unity on those jagged, shifting crevasses. After these visions of an unending cosmos, the audience briefly remained in rapt silence before breaking into thundering applause.
This is world class piano playing! […] She and the piece seem to have become warm friends who have reached a profound mutual understanding within a relationship that seems almost human. […] The pianist remains convincing throughout: she agrees to embark on Rachmaninov’s emotional roller-coaster rides, but does not lose control for one second.
Rubinova teaches us to listen to Rachmaninov. Her version of Rachmaninov is bright and clear, without any sort of sentimental ooziness or superficiality. That is exactly why her interpretation is so profoundly moving, and that is how the early Moments Musicaux and the 2nd Piano Sonata sound in her hands. Indeed, this German-Russian pianist even manages to imbue Rachmaninov’s Kreisler arrangements with sparkling wit.
She plays the B Flat Minor Sonata with gripping intensity, yet her touch is adroitly light. She makes the colors in this music glow, but never to the point of becoming too glaring or too brash. […] Technical brilliance and expressive nuance […] Highly recommended!
The first measures immediately show that this recording is something special. What a piano touch! With just a few ingredients, Evgenia Rubinova creates a magical atmosphere. […] Her thoroughly lyrical approach to Rachmaninov makes the music sound inconceivable any other way. […] Here, emotion and intellect in Rachmaninov’s music are in ideal balance!
Evgenia Rubinova “pulled all the stops” without ever sounding aggressive; she likewise displayed masterful skill in true music-making, along with finely sculpted nuances.
The highlight of the evening actually took place before the intermission: Franz Liszt’s technically challenging First Piano Concerto in E Flat Major was rendered congenially, thanks to Russian pianist Evgenia Rubinova’s riveting performance.
His Russian co-performer Evgenia Rubinova is an excellent chamber musician. […] This recital had plenty of lively, colorful moments; the players imbued the music with clear contours at all times, essentially thanks to the pianist. Rubinova formed the musical material with alertness and purpose. When necessary, she was a tactful, discrete accompanist and was then able to follow her own initiative, impressing the audience with nuanced piano touch and an eloquent tonal palette. And she is quite capable of delivering full mastery and virtuosity when called for: at the end of the recital she proved this beyond a doubt with majestically thundering cascades of chords in Scriabin’s Fantasia for Solo Piano (op. 28), a bravura rendition. [from a review of a recital with cellist Gabriel Schwabe]
The true star of the evening was pianist Evgenia Rubinova, born in 1977 in Tashkent. In Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major she delivered the same kind of dazzling immediacy she had displayed in her previous solo recital. In the first movement, the piano entered into charming thematic dialogue with the clarinet and the violins. Rubinova had the occasion to demonstrate her large array of expressive means, from contemplative moments to virtuoso wizardry. She intoned the luxuriant cantilenas in the Adagio with a great degree of fine nuance. After a harsh and impudent Scherzo, the Finale reinstated the atmosphere from the beginning. Thanks to her powerful touch, Rubinova answered the orchestra’s voluminous challenge more than adequately; here, once more, she astounded the audience with impeccable dexterity. She thanked them for their extended applause with an encore: a Schubert lied, Aufenthalt, in a transcription by Franz Liszt.
Evgenia Rubinova – a young, astoundingly dignified artist – was able to subject this concerto’s lyrical-lachrymose passages to a sober, unmannered treatment while applying an intensely earnest approach to Prokofiev’s flights of humor, and performing the virtuoso passages with vehemence instead of superficial brilliance. This all contributed essentially to the profound impression left by the evening’s musical collaboration on those who attended. Without compromises, without attempting to smooth out this music’s rough surfaces, the musicians involved never let go of the reins: this was spellbinding, vivid music-making.
To crown the evening, sparkling brilliance in Prokofiev
[…] In spite of such emotional stirrings, nothing waxed too sentimental – thanks to young pianist Evgenia Rubinova. In Prokofiev’s 3rd Piano Concerto she stroke up a breathtaking, fiery dance on the piano keys, gorgeously blending incandescent energy with coolly calculated precision. Prokofiev’s music also contains mystical moments that seem to emerge from magical stillness. In the midst of the last movement as it whirls excitedly, we suddenly find ourselves in the eye of the storm – a deceptively tranquil moment where harsh piano motifs glaringly illuminate the scenery, which has fallen ominously silent.
Hailing from Russia, the pianist imbues these moments with sizzling tension, which she then unloads in virtuoso cascades full of sparkling energy. It is remarkable to note the force and precision she brings to bear upon the keys. There is no trace of beefed-up artificial effect or grandiloquent gesture. Rubinova’s approach reveals her pleasure in letting the work’s rhythmic energy and the playful elegance of its form speak for themselves, note for note.
Gentle, poetic passages thus become crystal-clear. Even when her fingers strike up a rapid, raging dance, Rubinova manages to keep her cool, thereby revealing the work’s fiery temperament all the more. Sharply accentuated chords and a dense maelstrom of motifs are kept in check by a sober attitude, making sure that the athletic momentum never ceases to press forward. The sparkling brilliance of Prokofiev’s music is thus convincingly conveyed.
As an encore, Rubinova introduced an emotionally moving contrast: the profoundly tranquil, earnest Sarabande from Bach’s “French Overture”. This concert led to a great round of applause and doubtlessly whetted the audience’s appetite for next season.
[…] Likewise, the charm in Debussy’s Estampes for solo piano lies in their constant alternation between dramatic moments and tranquility. Here, once more, Rubinova proved that she is a poet at the piano. She delved deeply beneath the work’s surface, shunning any sort of insincere ‘interpretation’ or feigned ‘emotions’. Her finely woven, pearly touch was brimming with an urge for freedom; at times, it seemed to be obeying a dreamlike sort of logic. Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso was then given a much more ‘hands-on’ approach: Rubinova’s fearless, fiery interpretation did justice to the piece’s vigorous character.
The pianist seems to have a particular love for Schubert: she reveals his entire cosmos, including delicately drawn phrasing and articulation, tiny accents, portato notes and bass staccato. Transcending technique, she let herself be carried away by a natural current that gave equal importance to spontaneity, a sense for structure, tone color, technique, declamation and feeling, all in perfect equilibrium. [a review of a performance of Schubert’s Sonata in A Major, op.120]
The pianist’s uniquely personal rendition, her poetic elegance and molding of character fascinate the listener and bathe the composition in a new light. Sparkling, ‘pearly’ scale runs alternate with vigorous passages. Passionately animated crescendos find themselves embedded within melancholic minor moods. Applying extremely precise gradations of touch, Rubinova gradually increases her playing’s intensity until, in the masterful finale, she lets it all end in an explosive burst of color. [performance review of Rachmaninov, 6 Moments Musicaux, op. 16]
[…] Evgenia Rubinova then performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto in C Major with playful effortlessness and a poetic bent. Born in Tashkent in 1977 and now living in Frankfurt, the pianist illuminated this sparkling, cheerful work with wonderfully fine gradations of touch; her technically precise, graceful keyboard playing increased in brilliance all the way up to the dazzling finale. The excellent performer was greeted with a tempestuous burst of applause […]: in Rubinova’s playing, virtuosity, heartfelt emotion, strength and grace go hand in hand
With remarkably flexible touch and nuanced agogics while lacking any superfluous mannerism, Rubinova offered the audience her interpretation of Chopin’s youthful work, scrupulously accompanied by Spivakov and his Russian National Philharmonic.
[…] With whimsical lightness and a penchant for poetry, Evgenia Rubinova then presented Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto in C Major. Born in 1977 in Tashkent and now a resident of Frankfurt, the pianist fathomed the details of this cheerful, sparkling music with excellent nuances of touch, and increased the intensity of her technically precise and graceful playing as she approached the brilliant finale. Thunderous applause greeted this outstanding performer […], in whose hands sensitivity, power and grace are impressively combined.
Fortunately, Evgenia Rubinova’s artistry is never centered around athletic musical display – even when she unleashed thunderous technical aplomb on the keys in the first-movement solo cadenza as well as in the finale. Her qualities lie elsewhere: in the flexibility and elegance of her playing; in her ability to make the piano’s sonority sparkle and glow thanks to minutiose nuance.
[...] with objective, nuanced, technically flawless playing and rubati that were always in the service of the text, never overdone (thereby easy for the orchestra to follow), Rubinova’s rendition was thrilling, and likewise well-proportioned in terms of formal construction.
[…] She placed appropriate effects in the finale and played give-and-take with the orchestra after having lingered, absorbed in thought, in the lyrical Adagio movement, removing all pretension of feigned Romantic ‘proximity’. Everything sounded natural and beautiful, like a fine balance between form, expression and emotion. This rendition was practically perfect! The name Evgenia Rubinova is one we should definitely remember! [performance review of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor]
The first notes in Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody in A Minor op.43 make one’s ears perk up: Rubinova’s substantial sound effortlessly projects over the orchestra into the large auditorium. Passages frothing with virtuosity and a finely woven fabric of keyboard figures are coupled with melodious qualities in the more tranquil variations to form an impressive whole. Evgenia Rubinova’s keyboard is awash with colors, and she lets it sing – effortlessly seeming to shake off the most challenging difficulties, spanning an airtight, mellow legato over extended phrases that carry the melody forward. In short, here we have a major piano talent whose technique is more than a match for the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, itself in top form: immersed in concentration, she reacts sensitively to the orchestra’s every sound …
Like Bernd Glemser who recently played the same piece here, the Leeds 2003 prizewinner tackled Rachmaninov’s Paganini Rhapsody, despite its transcendental difficulties, in a fearless rendition that insisted on savoring every virtuoso detail, as if sculpted in stone. The haunting melody in the central slow variations was brought out by Rubinova with even greater fervor.
In Beethoven’s [cello and piano] Sonata in G Minor op. 5/2, Evgenia Rubinova impressed the audience with an utterly clear rendition: whenever the text demanded a powerful touch, she was never too harsh; whenever softness and delicacy were called for, she never sounded too muddy. [Review of a cello and piano recital with Alban Gerhardt]
Evgenia Rubinova] dissected Chopin’s piano sonata […]. Among the movements, the composer has cunningly hidden a series of seams and connections upon which she threw an astoundingly clear light, making them easy to grasp. […] In the eerie Marche funèbre, the pianist relished Chopin’s two ‘false transitions’ to the lighter middle section with evident gusto.
“A pianist as orchestra”
BÖBLINGEN. Young pianist Evgenia Rubinova has no need of an orchestra, for she is one all by herself! In her imaginative hands, the grand piano resonates in all its fullness. In Böblingen she fascinated the audience with an abundance of tone colors and a keen sense of sonority. Rubinova does not just play the piano: she immerses herself in worlds of sound, hardly ever having to glance at the keyboard.
Last Friday, she provided the 10th International Pianist Festival in Böblingen with a stunning opening. She had not made things easy for herself with her choice of repertoire: three composers, each of whom revolutionized piano technique in his day: Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninov, three figures who expanded and enriched the world of piano playing. The young lady from Frankfurt mastered her 100-minute programme without a slip.
Peter Conzelmann, from the Municipal Culture Office, was all aglow: “We’re sold out. This is a good start for this year’s season.” Never before had there been such a run for tickets. With this evening recital, the little festival had its breakthrough.
Whether in thundering passion or in brilliant scale runs full of radiant energy, Evgenia Rubinova never employs technique as more than a foundation, whereupon she builds a uniquely individual interpretation that increasingly and audibly gains in persuasive power. [a review of a performance of Rachmaninov’s 6 Moments Musicaux]
This is how the pianist saves Rachmaninov’s Moments musicaux from maudlin, sentimental Weltschmerz and callous virtuoso display. For instance, she instinctively nails the daunting shifts of rhythm in the B Minor piece. Restlessly whirling sextuplets don’t mumble around incoherently in Rubinova’s hands, but she openly and clearly traces their musical contour while unobtrusively revealing further secondary parts. Who else could unveil the frighteningly difficult, majestically thundering final piece with such a degree of distinctive radiance?
[…] In Scriabin’s Fantasy she already proved that she knows how to use her intellect to administer the exact right dosage of feeling, using clear lines to draw dazzling colors and vigorous dynamics in that rhapsodically luxuriant opus. Despite evident pleasure in delivering a substantial forte, she avoided roaring, rattling keyboard pomposity. In summary: Rubinova is a true thinker who places her intellect in the service of music.
In Scriabin, Evgenia Rubinova felt truly at home […]: here is where her playing came to full bloom. In Scriabin’s Fantasia in B Minor op.28 she applied an appropriately extroverted espressivo, with majestic weight, but always with a nuanced differentiation of touch. The ensuing 6 Moments Musicaux op.16 by Rachmaninov were the highlight of the evening: luscious colors, brilliantly pearly scales, dazzling technique, each piece individually formed. Not often heard in this combination, these works were given a thoroughly well thought-out rendition.
In recital, she reveals a cheerful, bright musical soul – exuberantly jubilating, playing almost without pedal, clear at all times. […] She is not a ‘keyboard lioness’, but an elegant musical amazon.
Evgenia Rubinova shone in Tchaikovsky’s First. [...] She entranced the audience with powerful attack, splendid technique and professional, attentive rapport with the orchestra. [Review of a performance at the Cologne Philharmonie]
Evgenia Rubinova [...] succeeded in delivering a technically impeccable, musically multifaceted, dynamically thrilling interpretation [review of a performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto at the Alte Oper Frankfurt]
With this début CD, Evgenia Rubinova proves she is a marvelous pianist, combining all the assets of a reflective artist: a calm attitude, a controlled sense of timbre, and a profound emotional attentiveness to the composer’s ideas. She naturally also possesses the technical skills required to put this all into practice.
Not only does she possess an extremely varied touch with gorgeous, pearly sound when playing scales, but she also displays a mature capacity for phrasing and forming a structure. In the cantilenas the orchestra is often on an equal footing with the piano, and her manner of joining in dialogue with them causes pure pleasure. (review of a performance of Mozart’s ‘Jeunehomme’ Piano Concerto K. 271)
“Not only does she possess an extremely varied touch with gorgeous, pearly sound when playing scales, but she also displays a mature capacity for phrasing and forming a structure. In the cantilenas the orchestra is often on an equal footing with the piano, and her manner of joining in dialogue with them causes pure pleasure.” (review of a performance of Mozart’s ‘Jeunehomme’ Piano Concerto K. 271)