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The Herald, 14 February 2010 | Michael Tumelty
Then on came Polina Leschenko with some of the most poetic and devastatingly beautiful piano playing I have heard in an account of Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto that had masterpiece’ stamped all over it.
The playing by pianist and orchestra in the gorgeous slow movement stopped time; and my heart. What a night. (Chopin Piano Concerto No2, Joseph Swensen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra)
The Scotsman, 15 February 2010 | Susan Nickalls
From the opening bars, Leschenko immediately tuned into the composer’s idiosyncratic and dreamlike pulse that defies conventional timekeeping. She managed to bring a poetic quality to the music, particularly in the Larghetto, when everything seemed to move in slow motion as delicate flurries of notes appeared to hover in mid-air. This was a mesmerising yet controlled performance by Leschenko, whose understated approach made the quicksilver finale, with its lively mixture of styles, even more thrilling.
(Chopin Piano Concerto No2, Joseph Swensen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra)
The Journal, 30 November 2009 | Thomas Hall
… the wonderfully ostentatious bravura playing of soloist Polina Leschenko against the darkly ominous orchestral statements in the Piano Concerto No1 made for thrilling listening. But it was the rhapsodic and poetic elements that made Leschenko’s performance so charismatic, her eloquence echoed by the Hallé’s woodwind principals.
Manchester Evening News, 11 December 2008 | Robert Beale
…it was Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto, and Polina Leschenko’s playing of it, that was the real reward. This was the first time I’ve heard her play it, and the individuality she has shown in the Grieg and Liszt concertos on previous visits soon came to the fore.
She has no trouble at all in the virtuosity stakes – rattling off the double octaves like machine-gun fire and giving an amazing first-movement cadenza – but the best qualities were the freshness and vitality she brought, rarely heard in this piece.
In the middle movement the fast section was as fast as I imagine it could ever be played, and
simultaneously charming and delightful. And her special ability to make every phrase speak to the listener made you hear the music as if new-minted, almost from the start.
Manchester Evening News, 18 September 2008 | Robert Beale
Polina Leschenko can make the most hackneyed music sound magical, and though I wouldn't put the Liszt in that category it does require more than just cannonfire technique.
She combines power and lyrical fluency, and with Sir Mark's help the piece became a series of ever more vivid episodes held together by its melodic transformations as well as its keyboard histrionics. The Chopin, too, was dazzling and charming at the same time.
(Liszt Piano Concerto No1, Sir Mark Elder, Hallé Orchestra)
Diario Ambito Financiero, 15 September 2008
l director y la Orquesta se sumó la deslumbrante solista Polina Leschenko de una calidez expresiva y una perfección técnica, que dejan con ganas de escucharla en un recital complete. Todos fueran justicieramente ovacionados por el publico…
Joining the conductor and the orchestra was the dazzling soloist, Polina Leschenko, who played with a highly expressive quality and technical perfection, and who left us wanting to hear her in a full solo recital. The performances received much applause from the audience, deservedly so…
[Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder, Grieg Piano Concerto]
Buenos Aires Herald, 19 September 2008 | Pablo Bardin
An admirable version of Liszt´s Concerto, adroitly accompanied and played by Leschenko, who showed not only a masterful technique but an approach both subtle, elegant and full of strength, almost like a young Argerich (who has promoted her). The encore was quite unusual: music lovers know well Chopin´s "Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise", but as a piano piece; here we were offered the piano and orchestra version! The orchestra hasn´t much to do, however, so we marvelled again at Leschenko´s delicacy in the "Andante" and strong rhythm coupled with the effortless solving of the many intricate passages of one of Chopin´s great showpieces, this particularly scintillating Polonaise.
[Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder, Liszt Piano Concerto No1]
The Times, 1 February 2008 | Richard Morrison
Some evoked Hallé himself. At that 1858 concert, for instance, he played Weber's Konzertstück - though I doubt whether he played it with as much quixotic verve as the young Russian pianist Polina Leschenko did here.
The Telegraph, 1 February 2008 | David Fanning
Equally breathtaking, though in a polar opposite way, was the young Russian pianist Polina Leschenko, who produced a dazzling firework display in the Weber Konzertstück.
Manchester Evening News, 31 January 2008 | Robert Beale
‘Polina Leschenko helps the Hallé to celebrate its 150th anniversary, and brings the house down! Robert Beale wrote in the Manchester Evening News, ‘And then came what must have been for many the highlight of the whole evening: the young, brilliant and vivacious Russian pianist Polina Leschenko as soloist in Weber’s Konzertstuck in F minor. What a cracker that was…’
Hifi News, January 2008 | Christopher Breunig
Agerich protégée Polina Leschenko gives us a challengingly individual Liszt Sonata, evoking memories of Horowitz’s prewar dexterity and wider in colour range than any other I know… A ‘must have’ for pianophiles.
Amadeus, November 2007 | Lisa Gallotta
A soli ventisei anni la promettente Polina Leschenko si addentra, con lucidità e abilità tecnica, tra complesse e monumentali architetture per pianoforte in questo recital lisztiano.
[At only 26 years old, the promising Polina Leschenko leads us through the complex and monumental piano architecture of this Liszt recital, with ability and lucidity.]
Musica, November 2007 | Adolfo del Brezo
Polina Leschenko… es una pianista que destaca por sus poderosos medios y una firme mecánica en extreme brillante. Este recital, una espléndida grabación en formato SACD con obras y transcripciones de Franz Liszt, constituye un buen medio de lucimiento de la intérprete.
[Polina Leschenko is a pianist who stands out because of her strong, powerful technique which goes to brilliant extremes. This recital, a very good SACD recording of Liszt works and transcriptions, illuminates the playing of this artist.]
Irish Times, 9 July 2007 | Michael Dervan
Friday was Polina Leschenko day at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. …She has an exceptionally thorough command of piano sonority. There’s not a moment in her playing that sounds idle or humdrum.
There’s a high emotional charge, too, which is as apparent in her creation and moulding of moments of cushioned softness as in her flights of incisive virtuosity.
La Libre Belgique, 4 July 2007 | Martine Dumont-Mergeay
Mûrie sans avoir rien perdu de sa liberté, toujours plus inspirée, Leschenko met ses moyens fabuleux au service d'une lecture magistrale, et comme improvisée, du répertoire lisztien. Rendant finement leur dû à Bach, à Busoni et à Gounod dans les transcriptions de la première partie, elle offre ensuite de la Sonate une version à son image : en apesanteur, limpide et visionnaire.
(Polina Leschenko, Liszt Recital, 2007 pure music sprl)
[Polina Leschenko has matured without having lost any of her freedom. Now even more inspired, she turns her wonderful talents to a brilliant, almost improvisatory reading of the Liszt repertoire. Beautifully acknowledging Bach, Busoni and Gounod’s Liszt transcriptions in the first half of the disc, she then offers a unique and personal version of the Sonata: a visionary reading full of lucidity.]