Lola unwrapped, the pianist without boundaries

Lola unwrapped, the pianist without boundaries


norman lebrecht

May 27, 2019

You wanted more Lola?

You got it.

You may find some of the imagery disturbing.



  • Phillip Ayling says:

    Well, I do prefer the Steinway in this video.

    • EJArtigue says:

      I have been a piano tuner/tech for over 30 years, and found that the reputation and adoration for (an American) Steinway is totally subjective crap. Many a heart has ached to find that after (I have spent) months and months trying, they can only sell their “precious Steinway” for maybe HALF what they paid for it.

  • Karmadon says:

    “…You may find some of the imagery disturbing.” – I do find her sound disturbing as well 😛

  • Nick says:

    Well, she plays very well, nothing negative one can say. All elegantly voiced, well-conceived and perfectly executed. Imagery? yes, I would say, “modern”, not surprisingly. Message? “Everything is for sale now: instruments and artists as well. So, is imagery disturbing? – No! The REALITY IS! A great dedication to Sultanov, rather, memory of Sultanov – a great pianist, a great person, a compatriot of Lola, also from Tashkent.

    • Nijinsky says:

      It is interesting how the prelude got the following story attached to it, which Rachmaninoff said he didn’t have in mind when he wrote it:

      “There is a legend about it. In the days of the old Russian regime, so the story goes, the great bells in the Kremlin in Moscow tolled when a political prisoner was led out to be shot, or hanged, or beheaded, or whatever it was they used to do to political prisoners in Russia. The prelude is supposed to represent the tolling of the bells.”

      And in these times people are commodities, I think her ripping off the tape from her mouth in the middle was supposed to represent someone that expresses dissent having their last say before being driven off as a commodity to be sold and discarded when the fashion runs out.

      It is an interesting video.

      What an incredible need to dismiss what the video might be saying by finding fault with something not particularly to one’s liking. My goodness. And someone has a liking that differs from what your club approves of and it’s let’s see who can be the most self righteous in their criticism and who can say the most scathing things to try to hurt another person, as if that doesn’t make a statement about the one doing the ridiculing or that you’ve said anything at all.

  • John Borstlap says:

    No image could be more disturbing that this lady herself.

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    The images are not so much disturbing as crass, vulgar, self-indulgent and affected which matches the persona and pianism perfectly.
    Miss Astanova would be well advised to think less about silicone and more about solfège.

    • Robert Groen says:

      I find this comment unfounded, arrogant, misguided, incorrect, hateful, uninformed, sexist, insulting, unacceptable, utterly disgusting, unmusical, ignorant and, ultimately, a load of crap. You should act your age…or maybe that’s precisely what you’re doing.

    • Kevin says:

      it is true, she is plastic, I saw old pictures and she changed her image, she went under knife, plastic surgery.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Who could take her seriously? She herself is the embodiment of self-inflicted sexism and misogyny. Dreadful.

  • Patrick says:

    I miss the Aston Martin.

  • Dr. Dré van Rijsewijk says:

    How do you know it wasn’t dubbed?

    • Robert Groen says:

      Astanova doesn’t need dubbing, she’s perfectly capable of playing her own notes. Or Rachmaninov’s for that matter. She obviously caters for a different audience than the worthy, dinner jacketed throat-scrapers and bravo shouters that currently populate many of our concert halls. She aims at a younger public, a public that grew up in the video age, where imagery is used to enhance the musical experience. You don’t have to like the result but I see little point in old men, flaunting their dusty expertise, doing a hatchet job on a pianist (and she is a good one!) who is carving out a niche for herself, harming no-one.

  • NYMike says:

    Obviously, a robot piano-tester @ the Steinway Astoria, Queens factory.

  • M McAlpine says:

    Imagery disturbing? No. Crass stupidity of the whole thing amazing? Yes!

  • Cyril says:

    No, I actually DON’T want more of this person. I refuse to watch.

  • Robert Groen says:

    One last remark and then I’ll shut up. Lola Astanova did not submit her two clips to Slipped Disc, asking for our approval. I’d be surprised if she even knew about this blog. But Norman, our Dr.Frankenstein, knows just what levers to pull and currents to unleash in order to get our vanities out in the open. We are, overall, a sorry bunch of Pavlov dogs, ready to jump at whatever easy piece of meat he dangles in front of us. This kind of discourse is a waste of time. And if I were Lola Astanova I’d probably sue.

  • M. L. Liu says:

    I did not look, but it is easy to guess what the disturbing imagery entails. In my humble opinion, the line was crossed when a certain female pianist came on stage trussed up in spiky heels and undies that pass for costumes. Winning critics’ praises and laughing on her way to the bank, last I heard.

  • Ned Keene says:

    We’re witnessing the genesis of an entirely new genre – the Regie Recital.

  • Fliszt says:

    Frankly, it stinks. What purpose does it serve?

  • boringfileclerk says:

    Nice legs, horrible fingers.

  • M2N2K says:

    Her piano playing here is not that bad actually. Perhaps the pedaling is slightly excessive, but other than that nothing to be embarrassed about, musically speaking.

  • Mofotzky says:

    The piano-playing itself is quite fine, but the presentation really is outlandishly awful.

    What can I say, she’s trying to make it in this very competitive field

  • Nijinsky says:

    I don’t particularly like Lola’s playing, or even Rachmaninoff and what to me are his sentimental fixations, but yet it’s a very interesting video trying to make a statement about what’s already been discussed. What others associated the Rachmaninoff with. Maybe it’s about warehousing and turning people themselves into commodities, and anyone that doesn’t fit the corrupted probabilities theories of the economic system or isn’t playing game theory ends up being discarded, or if they were turned into a commodity discarded after the bubble has warn out and “fashion” changes. Much like the prisoners taken out to be executed that would hear “the bells” ring that people thought the prelude was about although Rachmaninoff didn’t have that in mind.

    It was very interesting to watch the video, despite opinions I would have had that would have made me avoid it, but all of the hype here made me wonder. It was an experience to hear the chromaticism in the Rachmaninoff sustain itself in my inner ear for a bike ride and other parts of the day. Where is it going, what does it mean, what’s beyond it?

    But this narcissistic hype here that isn’t about music at all, or art, but brazen elitism to ridicule something found inferior and glorify being able to spew nasty criticism the tone of which vies in repulsion with what you say you’re criticizing, it pretty much explains why people can be turned off to the vapors that hang around “classical” music and it’s losing the audience it once had.

    It seems like there’s such a tightly screwed idealogy of HOW-IT-SHOULD-BE that within such a matrix should anyone just wander in with the notion that it-can-be rather than HOW-IT-SHOULD-BE they run right into HOW-IT-DOESN’T-WORK-SO-WE-CAN-FIND-FAULT-ELSEWHERE and they end up wiping the dust off of their feet and moving on.

    And that’s that

  • It id true the WESTERN WORLD prefer having a concert grand at home. I happened to play it. What became was i like attending concerts involve back stage. Zealoysly guard my reasons.

  • Peter says:

    This is before the beast was transformed, at least externally, by plastic surgery.

  • Mr Clifford says:

    Well I’ve looked at her and I see exotic perfection, exquisite taste, flawless presentation ….. you say she also plays piano?

  • IDG says:

    Her legs upstage her musicianship

  • Gr8lsnr says:

    Great Pianist…as for a comment on the’s already been done..

    “Wednesday : Your work is puerile and under-dramatized. You lack any sense of structure, character, and the Aristotelian unities.”

    Who is this film-maker trying to impress?