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."
Qu’il est difficile de commencer un concert avec une pièce comme l’Adagio pour cordes de Barber ! Surtout lorsque la salle attend avec impatience la déferlante annoncée en la personne de Denis Matsuev. Cette œuvre de Barber est un véritable tube de la musique classique, ce qui rend l’exercice d’autant plus compliqué. On ne peut pas reprocher à l’Orchestre National de Lyon de ne pas jouer sur la fluidité et la continuité du discours, notamment dans le souffle et les silences qui ont une véritable importance dans cette musique. Alors que les coups d'archet sont censés favoriser l'échange entre les pupitres et permettre que la musique file sans accroc, ils ne sont pas ici uniformisés, à l'inverse de la plupart des pièces d'orchestre. Et pourtant, les accords à l’unisson sont d’une magnifique pureté. Un grand crescendo, puis le thème revient et disparaît comme il est arrivé, sans qu’on s’en aperçoive réellement.
It wasn’t the first time they’d stood on stage together and it probably won’t be the last, but this past Sunday afternoon at the Philharmonie de Paris, Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev and the London Symphony Orchestra generated a little more magic than usual. It was the kind of performance where there was a crackle of electricity in the air because everyone knew they had just heard something special that wasn’t about to be replicated anytime soon.
Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is a more intricate and technically demanding work than the oft-played First Concerto, yet it is vintage and mature Tchaikovsky, filled with melodic riches and pyrotechnical challenges. For many years, the concerto was played and recorded in a shortened, modified version by pianist-composer Alexander Siloti. Happily Gergiev and soloist Denis Matsuev offered Tchaikovsky’s complete original score.
Matsuev, a prominent winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow who will make his Fort Worth debut at Bass Hall on Tuesday night, told this story in a recent email interview with the Star-Telegram, which had to be translated from his native Russian to English before publication:
“This happened three years ago, after my recital on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Alexander Borisovich Rachmaninoff, a grandson of the composer, came to me and said that if I promised to quit smoking, he’d give me a present.
On Wednesday, after Mr. Gergiev began with Rodion Shchedrin’s short, riotously playful Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 (“Naughty Limericks”), the Russian virtuoso Denis Matsuev, 39, was the soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G. Mr. Matsuev boasts a prodigious technique and interpretive flair. He is built like a weight lifter and plays with muscularity and power. His sound can be steely and harsh, especially his crash-bang dispatching of fortissimo chords.
Medici.TV starts free live broadcast of my concert in Carnegie Hall with Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under baton of V.Gergiev. Thanks to AVC Charity Foundation live webcast will be available free of charge and without any subscription to anyone from anywhere in the world, on the home page as well as on the webcast page during 90 days.