Hi, guys! These two months can be marked as «endless-concerts days» for me as I’ve been at three amazing concerts of classical music in my city! I really had that «concert fever» cause I was waiting for these events for a year and I couldn’t hold back my emotions!!! So I wanna tell you today what an awesome experience I’ve got! It’s intriguing, isn’t it?:)
III International Festival «Denis Matsuev presents...»
We are lucky (I mean the residents of Chelyabinsk) that every year Denis Matsuev, a famous Russian pianist, comes to our distant city with his friends-musicians to arrange a meeting for us with great classical and not so classical music for three days! I’ve been at all his festivals before so I couldn’t miss it (I’ve made it for two days of three). I’ve counted that this year it’s been the sixth time I’ve heard Denis playing. It’s nuts!!! Our governor has promised us to make this festival an annual one!!! (It is already!:) but now it’s official)! YEAH!!!).
Day One – Classics & Jazz
Thanks to Denis, I fell in love with jazz music. He played it so great that it was impossible not to! Of course, I bought a ticket to the first concert «Classics & Jazz». Denis performed with other talented musicians such as Arkadiy Shilkloper (French horn, trumpet), Aydar Gaynullin (bayan), Andrey Ivanov (double bass), Borislav Strulev (cello) and Dmitry Sevastyanov (percussion).
They performed together and also solo. As you can guess, musicians mixed classical melodies with famous jazz standards. For example, they played an improvisation based on «Polovtsian dances» from Borodin’s «Prince Igor» and such a hit as «Take Five». This worked very well together! One of the memorable moments was also a jazz version of Grieg’s «In the Hall of the Mountain King»! This music itself is a storm that you wanna listen to forever, as a jazz piece it’s a storm with thunder which you never know when to expect! Grieg‘s famous melody sounded in a new impressive way for me! And Denis played it so fantastically, so emotionally with a huge power as he always does!!! The passages under his fingers flew at the speed of light!!!
As for solo performances, there was an amazingly unusual and bright interpretation of Piazzolla’s «Libertango» by Aydar Gaynullin. At the beginning with his «best friend» - bayan he made a very interesting effect which sounded similar to breathing or haymaking (at least these were my associations). The audience was in total silence, no one was even breathing at that moment! Everybody was looking at him! I love such minutes at concerts or operas cause we witness how magic happens!
Almost every musician performed his own works. Arkadiy Shilkloper is a multi-instrumentalist (he plays French horn, alpenhorn etc). He composed a piece called «Duet for the one». I was thinking: «What is he going to do with this title? How will he play a duet with himself?». As it turned out, Arkadiy played a trumpet and sang a little bit at the same time!!! It was mind-blowing for me!!! What lungs should you have to do that?!
There were a lot of music jokes and improvisations during the concert. I think the most hilarious person of all the performers was Borislav Strulev who could suddenly start singing or making weird sounds (or strange but difficult music passages) with his cello! We really didn’t know what he was going to do next!
The end of the concert was full of surprises too! All musicians of this jazz day began playing Duke Ellington’s «Caravan» - a wonderful jazz standard. Then they left the stage one by one, except the drummer who finally got the solo! After using the instruments which he was familiar with, Dmitry went wild!!! He drummed on the floor, on the microphones and even on strings of the double bass! This whole improvisation lasted, I guess, for half an hour! After that the rest of the musicians returned back on stage and altogether they finished this fantastic evening!!!
I brought some friends that day who had never listened to jazz music before. And I’m madly happy that they liked it as much as I did!).
Day Two – The Symphony Concert
The next day I went alone but I was not less excited about the upcoming event! This was more classical evening comparing to what had happened on the first day. The program included Prokofiev’s «Symphony No. 2 in D minor», Liszt’s «Piano Concerto No. 1» and Gershwin’s «Rhapsody in Blue». That day Denis Matsuev performed with amazing Ural Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Liss. I know about this orchestra thanks (again) to Denis. A year ago they played with him Rachmaninoff’s «Piano Concerto No. 3» in our city and it was heavenly great!!!
The first half of the recital was not so entertaining for me cause it was Prokofiev. It was my second experience of listening to Prokofiev’s pieces for orchestra and I have to conclude that his symphonies are not my cup of tea AT ALL! Shame on me, but it was hard to listen to all the parts with open eyes. From the other hand his ballet «Romeo and Juliet» is one of my favorite! Anyway, the orchestra did a great job!
The second part of the concert was ideal! I love Liszt! His music reminds me of Rachmaninoff and Chopin, so to say, the same style:). It can be very delicate and melodic and after that become very furious and strong. Denis is a wonderful pianist cause he can produce any sound you want with his hands, of any force, of any emotion! That’s why he is genius! This Piano Concerto suits his temperament very well. Anytime, it’s a big pleasure to listen to every note when he plays piano! Gershwin’s «Rhapsody in Blue» amazed me a lot! Dmitry with his musicians and Denis did their best!!! I heard this «Rhapsody» as a whole piece for the first time. It is a real combination of jazz and classical music which became a triumphal ending of the day!!! The heroes of the concert got a standing ovation from the audience and they totally deserved it!
Yuri Bashmet and the chamber ensemble «Soloists of Moscow»
I’ve made it! Now I’ve been at concerts of all famous Russian conductors such as V. Spivakov, V. Gergiev and finally Y. Bashmet! I have to say the performance was too short for me! Maybe as it was not «an actual recital» but a company party for the organization who has been sponsoring Yuri Bashmet and his ensemble for many years. Maestro chose to present two pieces: Mozart’s «Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra» and Tchaikovsky’s string sextet «Souvenir de Florence».
Mozart is Mozart! Music is just marvelous! Bashmet played his favorite viola, and they were such a beautiful duet with the violinist especially in the pianissimo moments…mmm….magic! It’d be even better if the audience didn’t clap between the parts!
I hadn’t listened to «Souvenir de Florence» before and it was a bit of shock for me cause this music didn’t sound like classic Tchaikovsky with his «all-embracing» melodies. It was more like Vivaldi. Maybe Florence had inspired him in this Italian way. But there were some moments that gave you a hint that this was totally a composer of «Eugene Onegin»:). Then Yuri Bashmet was only a conductor but his ensemble sounded so well that it looked like they could even play the same way without him! The dynamics and emotions, everything was done perfectly!!!
At the end there was a little surprise from the performers: they played a «Happy Birthday» tune as a Viennes polka and a Hungarian czardas. It was funny and very cute of them:). I hope to hear more from them in the future cause this time it hasn’t been enough for me!).
I highly, highly and again highly recommend you to get to know the musicians that I’ve mentioned here. And if you have an opportunity to go to their concert someday, do it without any doubts!!!