Can Moscow’s loser cut it on record?

Can Moscow’s loser cut it on record?


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2016

My Lebrecht Album of the Week is Lucas Debargue’s debut recital on Sony:

This is a great time for piano lovers, a terrible one for young pianists. The past four years have flung up the most phenomenal range of new talent, more than listeners can take in. Daniil Trifonov, the 2011 Tchaikovsky winner, set a new benchmark. Since then, the 2015 Chopin competition has yielded Seong-jin Cho and Charles-Richard Hamelin, the Van Cliburn has brought forth the prodigious Beatrice Rana, the BBC Young Musician winner Benjamin Grosvenor has quickly made a name for himself and there are more coming through all the time.

And then there’s Lucas Debargue. Placed fourth in the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition at the age of 24, the former supermarket assistant impressed as much for his courage and naivety as for his technical ability. He had never played with an orchestra before he reached Moscow…

So can Cool Hands Lucas cut it on record? Read on here. Or here.

Or even here.




  • someone says:

    Gidon Kremer came to Korea with him about 10 days ago.
    After seeing this posting, I’ve searched for reviews and had a quick glance.
    I’ve heard Gidon Kremer in concert but haven’t heard Debargue’s playing yet though I’ve heard about him a little bit.

    People say that the concert was very nice and after that, there was 30-minute signing ‘at the request of the performers’.
    How lovely!

    The reviews, photos and video of the signing look so lovely.
    Look at the faces of the performers.
    Gidon Cremer is smiling.

    If you click on the addresses below, you can see blog reviews by the members of the audience.
    Even if you don’t understand Korean, you still can see the photos and videos.



    By the way, wasn’t Gidon Kremer supposed to come with Pletnev?
    I wonder why it was changed and what Mr Pletnev is doing these days.
    I wish he played the piano more.

  • Respect says:

    Endless stream of bitter, condescending headlines that are neither witty, nor accurate. I admire your work, but surely you can leave the nastiness for the comments thread……..

    Debargue is superb, your article reflects that. Why the click bait headline?

    • Steven Holloway says:

      This is what you turn into when the master you served for so long was the Evening Standard. Well, no. That’s not fair to the Standard. The clickbait style compounded with fuzzy sentences and patent errors is more Daily Mail.

  • la Verita says:

    Gifted, certainly. But…here to stay? It’s premature to make such an absolute pronouncement, and anyway it’s the conductors who will make that decision, not the record companies or critics. It remains to be seen if the world’s top conductors will engage & re-engage Mr. Debargue – and that’s the only way his career could happen. Let’s wait to hear how he holds up in a Brahms or Beethoven Concerto, and the large works of the core solo repertoire – prior to sentencing him to either long-term success or failure. This Sony disc is very nice, but it hardly tells the whole story, so let’s follow him and wish him well.

  • Assimilate This says:

    I suppose the omission of the Medtner F minor sonata he played so well in Moscow is a concession to mass taste and marketing considerations.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Judging from youtube clips of the Schubert and Scarlatti works that appear in this recording, Lucas Debargue is a very sensitive musician, full of ideas, who could mature into a great pianist. I don’t understand how this premature exposure helps him.

    • La Verita says:

      Well, it won’t be the first time that Sony and CAMI killed-off a fragile young talent. (Remember Cecile Licad?) The catalogues of the major CD labels are graveyards for talents that were launched too soon. Sadly, the Dubargue story has all the makings of a 7-day wonder.

  • Jay Parsons says:

    lol, seen it there