Sochi's closing ceremony referenced Russia's proud history of composition by having piano virtuoso Denis Matsuev emerge from a cloud of smoke and blast through a Rachmaninov composition like he was playing Metallica.
November became a memorable month for cultural life of Novosibirsk. Publishing House "Music"- "P.Jurgenson" with International Charity Foundation of P.I. Tchaikovsky and with participation of Bank Group ZENITH accomplished the joint project. All music schools of Novosibirsk got a considerable amount of tutorials, textbooks and sheet music from Publishing House "Music".
People’s Artist of Russia Denis Matsuev needs no introduction. RBTH correspondent met with Matsuev right after his concert at the Berliner Philharmonie, where he played Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with an orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.
The first half of the 20th century must surely be one of the most richly creative periods in history. This was a time of great social and political change, spearheaded by two most devastating wars that saw death and destruction on a new level of cold efficiency. Rising from the ashes of this massive upheaval, the arts produced a glorious outpouring of works and ideas not seen since the renaissance and never on this scale. In the world of music, the flowering of talented composers born in the last quarter of the 19th century, produced an embarrassment of riches, to such an extent that it was possible to consign a composer as talented as Szymanowski to the second rank.
Following in the footsteps of Simon Rattle and Charles Dutoit, it is all credit to Valery Gergiev that he is also championing this miraculous, if still peripheral, composer. To hear this music so luxuriously played by the London Symphony Orchestra seemed like the perfect way to experience it. This music has a surface richness and virtuosity that cries out for a first-rate orchestra and a conductor in tune with the toughness at its core – certainly delivered in spades, in this most memorable concert.
Two works by Szymanowski occupied the substantial first half of the evening. Both late works, they show the composer at his most rounded and contained, while not losing that essential wildness and rapturous quality which are unique to him. The oddly categorised Symphony no. 4, “Symphonie Concertante” of 1932 is a piano concerto in all but name and as such easily stands up to comparison with the great works by Bartók and Prokofiev of the same period. As performed by Gergiev and his powerful pianist Denis Matsuev, this was a performance that struck one as energetic and bold, but also giving time for the work to breathe and expand as needed. In the first movement, the balance between the ruminative opening subject and the more dynamic second group of ideas was nicely maintained and the overall effect was passionate but organic. Matusev found just the right level of forcefulness and melting delicacy.
This latter quality was much in evidence in the second movement with its piano part gently accompanying solos from the strings and woodwind, while always being somehow in control of the musical flow. In the great central climax the sense of elation overflows into a great string melody, which once again melts into the piano roulades, all beautifully judged by Gergiev and Matsuev. In the final movement all these positive musical qualities once again surfaced to produce and an exciting and satisfying conclusion to an excellent performance of an inspired work. The frenetic Polish highland dance that ends the work took the breath away with its controlled power.
The secret to performing Szymanowski’s music, so clearly understood by Gergiev in these performances, is to hold onto that fine line between classical restraint and total abandon and then to make it all sound completely spontaneous. This he and his soloist Leonidas Kavakos achieved even more successfully in their performance of the Violin Concerto no. 2 that followed. Perhaps a greater work that the symphony and possibly its composer’s best work, this concerto has all the ingredients that make Szymanowski so exceptional. Gergiev and Kavakos certainly got to its core.
Once again, it’s all about balance, and Kavakos took as his starting point a reasonable mid-point of restraint. The opening passage was warm but not effusive, and this mesmerising stillness once created, he was able to return to it as the music required. At other times he opened out with a lusher sound, or in tougher folk dance passages, he would dazzle with rock-solid rhythmic impetus and thrilling double-stopping. The ebb and flow of this piece was so wonderfully captured, that I’m sure many of the audience left this performance wondering why the they hadn’t heard it before and or why it wasn’t in the repertoire of most concert violinists.
And then we ended with the Brahms. Odd bedfellows, you might think, but somehow it worked. Brahms is another composer that needs a fine balancing act between restraint and passion, and the Symphony no. 4 is the most perfect example of this duality in his orchestral music. If performed as it was by the Gergiev and the LSO, it sounded strangely reminiscent of Wagner or Bruckner, but with many fewer of the former’s longueurs or the obsessive “logic” of the latter. It certainly put paid to Britten’s insistence that Brahms’ music was “dull”, “stolid”, “pretentious”. There was not, as you might be forgiven for expecting, a touch of Tchaikovsky or even a Russian accent.
The first movement tempo seemed initially to be a little leisurely, but then it became obvious that Gergiev’s overall conception was to emphasise the grand sweep, leading the inevitably to the climatic coda.
Except for regretting Kurt Masur’s unfortunate accident that prevented him from conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert last week, there was no reason for disappointment with Doron Salomon as substitute.
Russian pianist Denis Matsuev’s performance of Brahns’ Piano Concerto No. 1 was electrifying. He is a veritable bombshell of temperament, radiating passion, intensity of expression, and excitement. Powerfully convincing though his outbursts are, there is nothing exaggerated or showy about them. Not even the slightest fleeting detail is neglected, tempi are subtly flexible with no trace of rigidity, climactic highlights are significantly accentuated, nuances of dynamics are abundant, and technically demanding runs are meticulously polished.
Shostakovich Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 and Shchedrin Piano Concerto No 5 has been nominated for an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) in the Concerto category. The Award Ceremony and Gala concert will take place in Milan, 18 March 2013.
Today the decree of the President of Russia V. Putin about the composition
of the Culture and Arts Presidential Council was published.
58 cultural figures form it. The presidium consists of 15 members. Among them the adviser to the President Vladimir Tolstoy, the director of cinema concern "Mosfilm" Karen Shakhnazarov, the Hermitage Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky, the president of the Moscow Performing Arts Centre Vladimir Spivakov.
Among members of the Council are the Director of the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg Valery Gergiev, the president of the Union of Theatrical Figures of Russia Alexander Kalyagin, the artistic director of the Moscow Art Theatre Oleg Tabakov, the conductor Yury Bashmet, the editor-in-chief of "Kultura" TV-channel Sergey Shumakov and the pianist Denis Matsuev.
And traditionally all those members form the Board of trustees of "Kultura" TV-channel.
The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra performed at the music festival "Stars on Baikal" for the first time. Before the concert, Maestro Valery Gergiev met with reporters, where he thanked Denis Matsuev, the artistic director of the Festival, for the invitation. See video at "News of culture."
Our story with a unique orchestra – Chamber Orchestra “Vienna-Berlin” begins today. We start our grand international tour around Europe in a famous Musikverein. And I am pleased, that we managed to expand the geography of this tour to Russia. To my mind this is a very important and significant event in our cultural life. There are 4 concerts planned in Russia: 18th of May in the Great Hall of Conservatory in Moscow (within my original series), 19th of May in the Great Hall of Philharmonic Society in St. Petersburg, 21st of May – in Ekaterinburg, 22nd of May – in Kazan. And on 24th of May we will perform in Astana (Kazakhstan) the same program.
On the birthday of P.I.Tchaikovsky 7th of May at 13:00 (Moscow time) in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall Denis Matsuev and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under baton of Valery Gergiev perform three piano concertos of P.I.Tchaikovsky.
“It’s a great honour to perform three concerts of P.I.Tchaikovsky on his birthday. And an indescribable feeling for me because I have such an opportunity, - Denis Matsuev says, - It is my strong conviction that all his three piano concertos are jewels of equal value, not only his First Concert, as many believe.
Undoubtedly, First Concert is the most popular all over the world: even those, who have never been to a concert hall for classical music, know it. But nevertheless Second and Third concerts to my mind are not less brilliant and great pieces. We’ve just performed these three concerts in St. Petersburg in the Concert Hall of Mariinsky Theatre. We performed Second Concert a lot of times all over the world, but we performed Third Concert for the first time.
It’s a wonderful and very moving music. Despite the fact that it was written in the year of composer death, almost in a period when he was writing his Sixth Symphony, there is not a single sign of tragedy in it. And it has an original Tchaikovsky orchestration, his fantastic melancholic, ardent, lyrical melodies, arduous cadenzas for piano, including the biggest one that can be compared to the cadenza in Second Concert of Tchaikovsky and Third Concert of Rachmaninoff.
But when I play them in a row, notwithstanding their technical difficulties, I am in my element. Maestro Gergiev and I decided to present a cycle of concerts with this program in many capitals of the world in the near future”.
Live broadcast can be watched 7 of May at 13:00 (Moscow time) on three Internet channels – www.medici.tv, www.meloman.ru, www.matsuev.ru. TV Channel Kultura will broadcast the First piano concerto live, too (16:15 Moscow time). You can also watch free of charge this performance in Virtual Concert Hall all over Russia (there are more than 40 cities participating in this project). Stay tuned for the most convenient channel for you!
Bravo, Astana! Bravo the unique team, that organized with great enthusiasm the Competition this year. I’d like to thank Imangali Tasmagambetov for this idea and for his constant support for Astana Piano Passion. This Competition turns out to be a musical fairy tale for unique Kazakh hospitality, kindness and heartfulness. There are no more places in the world with such a wonderful atmosphere, healthy approach to competition and a good attitude. These facts affect people all over the world: unbelievable quantity of viewing on official web-site justifies it.
The Competition is over, yesterday I was performing three concerts of P. I. Tchaikovsky in a row with maestro Gergiev in St. Petersburg , but emotions, evoked by Astana Piano Passion, still overwhelm me. We have a new “team”, new members of our big united family, and it’s priceless. I am looking forward to the forth Competition. We invite everybody to Astana in 2017.
ASTANA – The third international classical music festival and young pianist contest directed by Denis Matsuev, a world-famous musician and People’s Artist of Russia, will take place from April 24 to May 2.
The contest will begin with the semi-finalists because the first qualifying round has already taken place via video. Participants will perform a solo programme. A concert accompanied by an orchestra will be the last segment of the event.
The prize money will total $60,000. The winners of the first three prizes will be awarded lithographs of Rene Magritte, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Georges Braque paintings from the Chinggis & Ethan publishing house (Luxembourg). Winners of the special prize from Director Matsuev will participate in the following international festivals: Crescendo (Pskov, Russia), the Annecy Classic (Annecy, France) and Stars on the Baikal (Irkutsk, Russia).
One of the most waited and favourite events for me is coming. Astana Piano Passion Festival-Competition, which became famous all around the world in these three years for its high level of participants, unique atmosphere, and wonderful Kazakh hospitality. The format we worked out with Imangali Tasmagambetov turned out to be absolutely successful. We decided to organize a contest for young musicians (younger than 18) in three groups (younger, middle and senior). And it was more festival, than a competition.
We have great news! Our friends from Medici.TV will perform live broadcast of Tchaikovsky Competition this summer. I’ve told you a lot of times how Medici.TV team works, how it treats classical music more fiction than traditional concerts. They managed to find new meaning in each of the concerts they shoot. The highest rating, outstanding quality, original style of broadcasting. Once I’ve been in the sanctum sanctorum – the trailer from which the broadcasting of Medici.TV is carried out. There were 6 men and I was astonished by the creative atmosphere, tempo and quality of the recording they make. That’s just unbelievable.
Especially great news in jubilee year of Tchaikovsky and Tchaikovsky Competition season. Recording of Denis Matsuev with V.Gergiev and Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra is ranked among Top 10 Tchaikovsky recordings by Gramophone.