At the press conference Denis Matsuev spoke about how it was to play Liszt's piano and why he is not running for presidency

December 17 2011

December, 15 Denis Matsuev gave a press conference in the Chamber hall of the Moscow Philharmonic concerning the release of his new album “Matsuev. Liszt”. The album is dated to the famous Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt’s 200th anniversary and consists of 2 CDs that include some of the most interesting compositions by Liszt: Piano concerto no.1 and no.2, “Totentanz” and the symphonic poems “Orpheus” and “Heroic elegy”.Denis said that the album was recorded in 2 days only. The album was recorded with the Russian National Orchestra headed by the outstanding Russian director Mikhail Pletnev. The record took place in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire in August 2011, after the renovation of the hall. The musicians failed to understand what happened with the hall: the acoustics was the same, there were no radical changes, yet a new aura appeared and the musicians had to get used to this new aura. The piano, as Denis said, “was sleeping and I had to wake it up”. In spite of this, the album was recorded easily. Matsuev and Pletnev don’t need to set an agreement – they understand each other without speaking and even without looking at each other.Earlier this year, on October, 22, Denis Matsuev became the only pianist who was invited to play Liszt at the National Concert Hall in Budapest. Before the concert Denis was honoured a chance to touch the piano in F. Liszt Museum that once belonged to the great musician, - “the instrument is tight, with an incredible mechanism”. Unfortunately, we have no records of Liszt playing, but Denis is sure that it was something unbelievable. “Liszt was the devil of the piano. Devil in a good sense, a XIX century piano superstar. He wrote a huge amount of compositions, many of which remain unknown”. Also Denis had a chance to play the piano that once belonged to another great composer, Rachmaninoff. “The sound of the pre-war time is something you can not express with words,” – speaks Denis of the Steinway piano made in 1929, which he played in terms of the project “Unknown Rachmaninoff”. By the way, right before the press conference a new piano was brought to the Philharmonic – though a new one, not with the sound of the pre-war time.When asked how many concerts he gave this year, Denis voiced the number 163 – this record can be beaten only by Valery Gergiev. The continuous concert schedule, as the musician admits, helps him keep his artistic shape. Russian tours always have a priority for Denis. He brings the “New names” programme in each town he visits, organizing auditions for young musicians, giving awards to grant holders and sending the most gifted children to study in Moscow.Is Denis going to become a conductor? There is no definite answer to this question. If he understands that he can do it, than he will. If he understands that he will repeat the mistake of the great instrumentalists who admitted defeat after relocating to the conductor’s stand – then he will not. As an example of a successful transformation from pianist to conductor Denis named Mikhail Pletnev, who conducts the orchestra as if it were a single instrument.Along with the musician, Ian Henderson, the general director of “Sony music entertainment”, also took part in the press-conference. He said that Denis Matsuev and “Sony” have been collaborating successfully for more than 5 years already and that Denis is the Russian artist with a most outstanding international appeal.The Russian release of the album takes place on December, 18, and the international – on December, 26. December, 18, on the day when the album is released in Russia, Denis Matsuev and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra headed by Yuri Simonov will perform the programme of the 1st CD: Piano concerto no.1, Piano concerto no.2 and “Totentanz” in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.

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