I have read with respect all the comments on this forum about Valentina Lisitsa and, as normal, I see that no pianist ever seems to please everyone in all respects which is fair enough and keeps the art form interesting. The overall take is good though - respect and admiration which I say are well deserved. I admit that I know Val personally only to reveal a few insights about this wonder of the piano. I was married to a concert-trained pianist and had more than one also in my extended family. I have messed around with piano myself (even had lessons !) sufficient to understand its challenges. I've seen live concerts by Moura Lympany, Fou T'song, Peter Katin and the lesser known Janusz Stechley all of whom had much to excite me - of all I found Moura Lympany (then I think in her 60s) very impressive - but Val created a total eclipse of them all at the Wigmore Hall last Saturday when she performed a tremendous program which included Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Schumann and Liszt. This was an unforgettable experience and the normally reserved Wigmore audience were clearly stirred, they even cheered at the end & Val had to do two encores, her Leibestraum in particular carrying pure emotion and I'd have been glad just to be there for that alone. During her Rossini-Thalberg Fantasy on Barber of Seville I actually felt transported to various places such as a summer forest at one point, a warm beach with sun and sangria at another, so glorious and evocative were the sounds she produced. Her Appassionata was an exercise in proving this great piece had not been hackneyed after all - in Val's hands it was both intellectually pleasing and exciting at the same time. Her Liszt Totentanz had my heart racing and indeed I laughed along with other members of the audience around me at the sheer wonder of it all. For the technophiles here are a few insights - only my own of course - I sat right beside Val as she rehearsed and noticed that she has at the same time incredible relaxation and intense concentration. She has developed her natural pianism to harness athleticism with great control and I notice that her rather "Beethoven-esque" clarity and integrity tends to come through when playing composers like Liszt whom some might construe as rather vulgar. I love this aspect of Val's playing and was intrigued to hear great flowing continuity in fast Appassionata passages while observing that her feet were either on the left pedal only or off both of them except a touch of the right one on particular chords. She is truly electrifying. For the extreme technophiles I quote the reaction of my friend Marek, "I was MESMERISED - I would never have thought such playing was humanly possible !". Regards to all.