by Edward Kliszus

NEW YORK – The Cherry Orchard Festival presents Pianist Lucas Debargue at Carnegie Hall

Let’s get right to the point. Lucas Debargue’s piano recital concert at Carnegie Hall was spellbinding and spectacular. His reputation certainly preceded him as seats filled before a single, magnificent grand piano on the legendary stage.

Debargue strolled confidently to the piano to deliver an ineffable evening of enigmatic musical joy.

From the opening notes of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 852, one sensed the composer’s radiance, afflatus, and spirit traveling through time and space from Debargue’s hands to the ears and hearts of listeners. Debargue expressed the Prelude’s majestic, regal quality leading to the Fugue. The Prelude’s spiritual grandeur was tinged with a sense of sadness, while the Fugue’s introspection was interposed by intense energy and excitement.

Pianist Lucas Debargue on stage at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Edward Kliszus

Pianist Lucas Debargue on stage at Carnegie Hall. Photo by Edward Kliszus

The delectation had only begun before the first of two Chopin Ballades. Debargue began with Ballade No. 3 in A Flat Major as listeners basked in the vertiginous, chiaroscuro settings of Chopin’s sonic poetry. Debargue conveyed the work’s innate passions and ruminations to a captivated audience. His interpretation and technical mastery illuminated the composer’s musical genius, communicating the acuity of Chopin’s intentions. Debargue’s interpretation was exquisitely expressive and poignant, with broad, dramatic flourishes,

Debargue delivered the soul-wrenching pathos of the opening of Beethoven’s “Moonlight’ Sonata. The elegance of the second movement was but a respite before Debargue launched the symphonic proportions of the virtuosic final movement. Here, we held onto our seats through Debargue’s peregrination into virtuosic, swift patterns and arpeggios, the angry fury of thunderous chords, and the evocation of melodies requiring rare, precious dexterity.

Through Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Debargue led listeners on a journey through the composer’s imagination, elegantly revealing the delicate, recondite nuances of the work as he evoked a range of emotions from hauntingly melancholic to triumphant jubilance. Demonstrating a profound connection to the music, Debargue embodied Chopin’s imagination and intent while transporting his audience to another world through his art.

Medtner’s rarely performed Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5. closed the formal program. This magnificent, virtuosic work, set in a four-movement structure, reflected Medtner’s study of Western European classical music and Russian folk traditions. With its distinctive three-note motif, one sensed a nostalgia for traditional forms clasped between a forward-looking approach to composition. The final movement exemplified the apotheosis of Debargue’s virtuosity. He commanded its fast, intricate passages, technical demands, and expressive intensity. From rapid runs and arpeggios to soaring melodies, thrilling climaxes, exquisite joinings, and subtle expressive content, every measure expressed excitement and challenge. The execution of bold dynamics and contrasts between light and shade was vertiginous, a thrilling experience for both the performer and the audience.

Thunderous applause, extended ovations, and oral approbations were rewarded by two glorious, tingling, and overwhelming encores by Maestro Debargue. You will want to follow this young artist to experience for yourself the blinding radiance of his sheer melodic rapture, musical eloquence, finish, virtuosity, and continued succès d’estime.


Cherry Orchard Festival presents Pianist Lucas Debargue at Carnegie Hall

J. S. BACH: Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 852
CHOPIN: Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2, “Moonlight”
CHOPIN: Ballade No. 4 in F Minor
MEDTNER: Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5

FAURÉ: arranged by Lucas Debargue – Après un rêve, and Cantique de Jean Racine

Cherry Orchard Festival
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New York, NY 10069
Phone/Fax:800.349.0021 — Office

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of  The American Symphony Orchestra and Handel’s Judas MaccabeusPeter & the Wolf by Works & ProcessTranscendent Triumph and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2Musica Sacra at Carnegie HallThe Orchestra Now at Symphony Space, and The New Jersey Ballet at the Mayo Arts Center.