A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

A new Master Performers DVD captures Marina Yakhlakova at Mechanics Hall. / Image courtesy of Master Performers

The differences between the music of Schubert and Liszt may perhaps be best encapsulated in these composers’ preferred performance venues. Schubert, the forlorn poet and storyteller, enjoyed the intimacy of the living room; on the other hand, Liszt, the quintessential showman and virtuoso, embraced the packed audiences of the concert hall.

In a new Master Performers DVD recording, Marina Yakhlakova, playing in the splendid Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts — but by herself, and in casual attire — brings together the seemingly disjoint habitats of these two composers in a beautiful and breathtaking performance.

Yakhlakova started with Schubert’s Piano Sonata in A minor D.845, an introspective late composition that adheres to a tight classical structure. Here, Yakhlakova’s playing was warm and elegant, and she never ceased to bring out the lyricism of this piece, both in the stately theme and variations movement, and in the turbulent last movement.

Yakhlakova followed with Liszt’s transcriptions of some of Schubert’s most beloved Lieder, including Ständchen (Serenade), Die Forelle (The Trout) and Der Erlkönig (The Erlking). Taking advantage of the deeply resonating empty concert hall, Yakhlakova sang boldly in her beautiful rendition of these songs, all while handling Liszt’s brilliant technical flourishes with grace and a spirit of lyricism.

Though Yakhlakova propelled herself to fame by winning the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, she has shown herself to be a versatile interpreter and true Schubertian in this new Master Performers recording.  I look forward to her explorations of the classical and romantic repertoire in future recordings.

—Hao Yuan Kueh, Culture Spot LA

For more information about the artist and the DVD, please visit www.marinayakhlakova.com.