Review to the Festival International de Piano La Roque d’Anthéron.
August 9, 2019. State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan conducted by Alexander Sladkovsky.
La Rock-d’Anteron International Piano Festival has invited us to a wonderful evening of classical music. Two Russian composers, a delightful young pianist from Russia, another pianist from sunny Argentina, as well as an orchestra from Tatarstan led by conductor Alexander Sladkovsky. Everyone was in anticipation.
The first part is devoted to two works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), and the second one to two works by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). Two concerts, two symphonic compositions, the perfect balance of a magnificent diptych. An evening of piano music opens with an unusually talented seventeen-year-old youth Alexander Malofeev, winner of the First Prize of the International Youth Competition named after P.I. Tchaikovsky, who at the age of fourteen received recognition for his exceptional performance. Performed by him the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 with orchestra in G-major op. 44 sounds under the arches of a fantastic La Rock scene constructed using 121 white cubes. This hall has become one of the most enviable acoustic venues for open-air festivals.
Unlike the famous Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor with its magnificent introduction to the first part and grandiose chords throughout the keyboard, with a powerful and sensual melodic line of the theme, the little-known Concerto No. 2 (Tchaikovsky composed 3 concerts) includes three parts, like most concerts composed in the form established at the end of the Baroque period. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) contributed to the formation of a three-part composition with his numerous concerts and thereby provided the soloist with greater freedom in the manner of performance, the virtuosity and technique of which will develop over the next centuries. The cadence, completing the first parts, which existed first in the form of improvisation, and then, in the 19th century, recorded in writing, is a legacy of the era of bold Baroque. The concert № 2 consists of 3 parts: Allegro brillante e molto vivace, Andante non troppo, Allegro con fuoco.
Crazy evening of Russian piano music.
Looking at the young musician-prodigy Alexandr Malofeev it seems that he plays making his fingers dance on the keys. The easiness of performing of the sophisticated parts and the mastery of brilliant passages are just amazing. From the outside you see that the musician leant over the piano becomes the integral part with the sound and at the next moment he stands up straight and rises over the music score. Besides, the musician has a very good communication with flute, violin and violoncello. As a result the most feeling part of the sonata becomes extremely turbulent and goes up to the furor in Allegro con fuoco which is the theme of hoedown with glaring accords running on the piano key board. This is the true rhapsody style. Alexandr Malofeev performed two musical compositions as an encore to consolidate the success of his performing mastery. One of them is Islamey, op. 18 of Balakirev, one of the members of The Five. For the performing of this eastern fantasy the pianist constantly crosses the hands in the crazy race along the piano keys. The second composition is the part of The Seasons, op. 37a of Tchaikovsky (Song of the Autumn: October) which shows deep melancholiness. Tremendously! The State Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan is accompanying to the young prodigy. This republic of the Russian Federation can be proud of such symphony orchestra. Conductor Alexandr Sladkovsky who became extremely popular starting from 2010 when he won the International contest of S. Prokofiev is able to express the power and the largeness of the music, making every instrument respond. He is very pretentious and impressive at the conductor’s desk…