Blog #119

March 21 2020

Yesterday there was a really unusual concert in all respects, because it was the first CONCERT I played in an empty hall. It can't be compared to recording: when you record CD, with all those microphones and equipment, you realize that this performance will then continue to exist on discs for a long time, and you imagine, that there is an audience in this concert hall. Here - a completely different story, and it takes courage to participate in it. I know that the Moscow Philharmonic is one of the first in the world in difficult times of quarantine, that decided to organize this type of concerts: when the performer plays in an empty hall and at the same time he understands that millions of viewers around the world are watching him. The feeling, I must say, is ambivalent, despite the fact that I played in familiar hall with the piano, on which I have already played hundreds of concerts. When I started playing "the Seasons" of P. I. Tchaikovsky, till “March", "April", I was totally out of place, because the impact of the audience, its “chemistry", energy (that inspires you and makes you to take efforts to hold it during the concert in order to feel the emotional and intellectual connection with the audience) is absent, it is like being surrounded by a blank wall. But at the same place you realize that in this moment you millions of people all around the world are listening to you. Only somewhere in the middle of the cycle I came to myself a little from this struggle with the missing energy in the hall. You need to prepare for such concerts in a completely different way and adjust for it completely differently.
As a result, I can confidently say that such concerts are important primarily for the public, which now has to stay at home and can not visit a concert hall. And it is important not just to upload an archive of recordings on web-sites, but to organize live performances online. This, of course, changes the whole picture and I am grateful to the Moscow Philharmonic for such an unusual experience. I really don't want such concerts to become traditional, given the context of their emergence. I hope that soon the concert halls will be opened and the audience will be happy to return to them, because for a musician, the absence of live concerts is tragic, it's like the lack of air to breathe. It's especially hard when you usually play up to 300 concerts a year.
To sum up, I would like to underline once again that this is a wonderful and very important social project of the Moscow Philharmonic, which will soon be joined by the Moscow Conservatoire. I congratulate all of us on the opening of this series of concerts, please, visit the website of the Moscow Philharmonic and its partners and listen to good music. For me, this experience has once again confirmed my main belief that the audience is the most important participant in the concert, it is the best conversationalist, critic and invaluable support at the same time. Thank you!

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