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."
Fans feiern den russischen Starpianist in der Stadthalle mit Ovationen
Für Pathos hat Denis Matsuev wenig übrig. So umstandslos der russische
Starpianist die Bühne betritt oder sie nach beendetem Spiel wieder mit knapper
Verneigung verlässt - so schnell, dass die Beleuchtung kaum nachkommt - so
direkt nimmt er sich auch die Werke dieses Abends in der Stadthalle vor.
diese Schlachtrösser der Virtuosenliteratur von dem Musiker aus dem sibirischen
Irkutsks mit beispielloser Grandezza bewältigt werden, bleibt den rund 800
Besuchern gar nichts anderes übrig, als den 39-Jährigen von Anfang an
begeistert, am Ende gar euphorisch zu feiern.
I was really happy to be able to find time during my concert tour through Germany to come to Belarus for a day. As Alexander Blok said, " And endless battle! We only dream of peace ", so I decided to use my day off to perform a recital in Minsk. I once again was absolutely amazed by this country, this public. The concert, which was held in the Palace of the Republic, with an audience of 3,000 people, became incredibly strong and vivid impression of the day. Actually, I should say that Belarus is striking in its purity, hospitality and the amazing kindness of the people who live here, and today the atmosphere at the concert, despite the enormity of the hall and the presence of 3,000 people, was quite extraordinary, fascinating. "Understanding" silence during rests (and it is very rare and very expensive experience for any performer) struck me in the heart, because the audience here is just great in all respects: dear, sensitive, intelligent and very thoughtful. Particularly poignant these “understanding pauses” are heard in the works of Mussorgsky, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, which I played this evening. I'm really happy that I came here. And once again I thought that I should visit Belarus more often and start to do interesting projects, primarily associated with the young generation of musicians.
My Concert Tour in Germany has started. I am going to visit Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Bremen, Berlin, Munich. Every time I come to this country I can’t help mentioning the fact, that almost all German cities and even small towns have very good professional concert halls. That fascinates and pleases me.
I’d like to tell you about one of small German towns in Eastern Westfalia, which I visited within my Concert Tour in Germany. It’s Gutersloh - picturesque, nice, fairytale-like, Christmas-decorated town. It’s not unusual or surprising that I came here, as we have a very long-lasting experience of fruitful relations with Forum of Russian Culture of Gutersloh, headed by Franz Kiesl.
Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 is the is closest thing to a warhorse on the London Symphony Orchestra's historic tour of Australia, and the hall was packed to hear it, alongside Shostakovich's 10th symphony. From the start soloist Denis Matsuev, known as the "Siberian bear", demonstrated tight, comprehensive mastery, blocking the tenths of the opening chords with his massive hands, and giving them shape and colour, as if they were mere triads. It set the tone for the entire performance: rather than battling to climb a pianistic mountain, with risks and slips on the way, Matsuev seemed to stride across the work. That's not to say he made it sound easy – the final movement had me on the edge of my seat, boggling at the tempo – but he appeared to be able to play it, give us his interpretation, even reflect upon it, as well as just survive.
When the London Symphony Orchestra visits Australia in November, in a tour that sees them perform in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne following a stop-off in Singapore, their trip will provide both players and audiences with a welcome return to a country they first visited back in 1966, with conductors Colin Davis and István Kertész, and then again in 1983, with Claudio Abbado – at that time the ensemble’s Principal Conductor.
Denis Matsuev plays with bravura, and the concerto provided an ideal vehicle to show off pianistic ability. He excelled in the percussive and dramatic passages, and was no less convincing in lyrical sections, and totally revelled in the glissandos. As much as he was dazzling in his control and massive dynamics, a fully satisfying performance of the concerto calls for greater regard for the splashes of irony, levity and delicacy to be found in the writing.
Two days in
a row, 12 hours each day – shooting of New Year Celebration Concert on Kultura
TV-channel, yesterday - concert in Mariinka (St.Petersburg) and recording of
Rachmaninoff’s Piano concerto #1 till 2 o’clock in the morning. Today – heading
to Singapore, flight time – 12 hours. See you soon!