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Alan Becker
American Record Guide, May 2017

Beethoven’s Sonata 17 opens the program on a positive note by demonstrating [Rizikov’s] ability to compete in well-known territory. The opening movement is stormier than most, but it is the Adagio that captures the heart. While many performers fall down here, Rizikov holds one spellbound with her ability to sustain the nine minutes with subtle concentration while not losing the thread of musical argument. The concluding Allegretto begins gently, but gains power with each turn of phrase. I will be returning to this often.

‘Triana’ from Albeniz’s Iberia gives us but a taste of what she can do with this masterwork. It’s deliberate, exacting, strong beyond the music’s requirements, …Juan Cruz-Guevara’s (1972–) Sonado Maria Magdalena keeps its Spanish inflections in the context of a more contemporary view. …It’s played with wild splashes of color and no lack of dynamism.

Grieg’s Sonata in E minor is a welcome rarity on this program. Once again the performance is strong, and her attention to its architecture brings a new freshness to the piece. Here the tension works beautifully, and her emotionally ladened playing brings out a revelatory greatness I had not previously attributed to it. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2016

Unlike the world’s other prestigious piano competitions, Spain’s Jaén International Competition looks to add a new name to an already overcrowded scene every year. In 2015, that award was given to a gifted seventeen-year old Canadian, Anastasia Rizikov, and I guess part of the programme she offered for the competition is the basis of this recording. Her Beethoven has been carefully prepared and well proportioned, the first movement unhurried and faithfully following the composer’s dynamic markings. The central movement has due gravitas, and she avoids the frequently heard gallop through the finale. Grieg’s Piano Sonata, an early work, and atypical of the composer, had a heavy debt to Schumann, Rizikov more weighty in the outer movements than we often encounter. I am not sure how much influence of her mentors we hear in these two works, but in the short excerpt from Albeniz’s Iberia she suddenly sounds a far more relaxed performer, the account as good as any you will find on disc. Also included is the competition’s ‘test piece’, the technically challenging Sonando Maria Magdalena commissioned from the Spanish composer, Juan Cruz-Guevara. Good close-up sound. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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