Opera & ballet
  • «Musica viva» will present Mozart’s opera of «Idomeneo»

    «Musica viva» will present Mozart’s opera of «Idomeneo»

    On December, 5th in the Moscow Tschaikovsky Concert hall within the limits of the philharmonic subscription «Opera masterpieces» the Moscow chamber orchestra and chorus «Musica Viva» under the direction of Alexander Rudin will present the concert version of an opera of Mozart of «Idomeneo». It already the fourth opera premiere «Musica Viva», after the past with stunning [...]

Symphony music
  • Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic

    Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic

    The Berlin Brahms Bombers victory tour came to a premature finish Tuesday night. The leader of the Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle, received a hero’s excited welcome. The Second Symphony proved smashing, as had the first night from this inimitable orchestra’s two-evening visit to Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Chamber music
  • Chamber Music Festival Features Professional Performers

    Chamber Music Festival Features Professional Performers

    The Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival is entertaining audiences in Chittenden County, with most performances at the Elley-Long Music Center in Colchester’s Fort Ethan Allen. Other shows have taken place at the Firehouse Gallery on Church Street. The festival is new this year, and features concerts as well as classes for students. Soovin Kim started the [...]

Instrumental Music
  • Finnish Composer Bursts Some of Her Own Myths

    Finnish Composer Bursts Some of Her Own Myths

    One of the perils of conducting a public interview with a composer is that you are likely to have your deeply held beliefs about your interviewee’s work shrugged off. That happened to the composer George E. Lewis during his interview with Kaija Saariaho during a Composer Portraits concert at the Miller Theater on Sunday evening. Mr. [...]

Vocal art
  • Ekaterina Shcherbachenko – «I live with sensation something new»

    Ekaterina Shcherbachenko – «I live with sensation something new»

    Ekaterina Shcherbachenko, the winner of competition BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009 in Cardiff, has arrived to Moscow at 2 o’clock in the morning. And already early in the morning the call was distributed and we have agreed about interview time, this afternoon. Ekaterina knew that Classica.FM, has first informed on its victory, therefore with [...]

  • Ingo Metzmacher – I can’t believe it!

    Ingo Metzmacher – I can’t believe it!

    The well-known maestro, active propagandist of modern music, the one, who all Europe worships – Ingo Metzmacher has visited Moscow. Despite a number of possible difficulties – some heavy days, and, in addition, Friday 13, good luck has smiled to our magazine, and we managed to meet the adherent of modern music world and ask [...]

Editor's Column
  • Stuart Lawson: «Time-proven Pursuit of Excellence»

    The hero of today’s interview is like no other. First, he is not a musician but a banker. But obviously he is not an ordinary banker as we are not a business publication and write only about things related to classical music. Stuart Lawson is CEO of HSBC Russia. The bank has won praise for [...]

Dates of classical music

Ekaterina Shcherbachenko – «I live with sensation something new»


Ekaterina Shcherbachenko, the winner of competition BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2009 in Cardiff, has arrived to Moscow at 2 o’clock in the morning. And already early in the morning the call was distributed and we have agreed about interview time, this afternoon. Ekaterina ShcherbachenkoEkaterina knew that Classica.FM, has first informed on its victory, therefore with benevolence has concerned the request for the first interview to our edition. The meeting has taken place today, at 15.00, in Atriume of the Bolshoi Theatre. In it have taken part journalist Classica. FM Svetlana Kosyatova and editor-in-chief Eugene Boyko. Interview has turned to conversation, but already in the course of preparation of a material we have decided to change a format and have cleaned all questions, having left only Ekaterina Shcherbachenko’s speech. And here that she has told.

About competition …

Competition «BBC Cardiff Singer of the World-2009» the unique. Also has put at all that is the most prestigious competition the victory on which opens at once fascinating prospects before the singer, and that it is organized by fantastic people. For participants paradise on the earth in which we, participants, have steeped has been created, having forgotten all problems of “continent”. As it was fine to think only of singing and about what the friend! For them this competition – significant and very responsible event which takes place under the aegis of Bi-Bi-Si the Wales, alternate years. And they, of course, give all the best to the full extent. The competition organizing committee pays all: flight, hotel, daily allowances give, feed with breakfasts, everywhere carry by the car. Before a part with you professional stylists, visagistes, hairdressers work. You every minute feel care of. It so is pleasant … In spite of the fact that so much experiences are interfaced to competition, excitements … All is organized so that the singer could dismiss all superfluous and on listening to show the maximum result.

About that is necessary for a victory …

Very difficult to argue on a theme «that it is necessary to win». When I step on the stage, always mentally I tell “thanks” the come people, as though I cover, I embrace a hall … Sometimes strange things start to occur: it seems that your personal space as though is moved apart, and you cease to feel yourself as the small little man before a huge audience, and as though incorporate a hall, can reach everyone … When I sing, I try to reproduce not simply notes, and to open the heart, to live and endure that music which you execute. And it as it seems to me, finds the response in souls of people.

And generally, the victory is a crossing of set of circumstances in one point! It is thorough training, good luck, good state of health, an arrangement of stars in the sky … In a word, all should develop. And, as it seems to me, important to observe «a general line» destinies. If you on the place also do that should do the chance is given always.

About a victory at competition…

Always I live with sensation that there is something new. Constantly I pass any boundaries, stages of a course of life. Receipt in the Moscow conservatory – a boundary. Work at Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko theatre – too a boundary. The invitation in Bolshoi theatre troupe – one more, a new bend. And now this victory has brought sensation of that something starts to occur absolutely new … interesting offers … Tremendous feeling Arrive!

From this competition I expected not a victory, namely new offers. I wished to seem there simply that me have somehow estimated and have noticed. It is very good chance which is given to the singer who cannot be missed. I knew that all rounds pass under пристальнейшим attention of the most influential impresarios, therefore in any case it was very important to sing well on the first round. The most interesting that to me offers already after the first round when it was still absolutely not clear have started to arrive: I have passed in the ending or not. For the sake of it there it was necessary to go. And the victory at competition for me became a delightful surprise!

About career …

So has developed that I have late enough understood that I wish to be engaged in opera singing. Even when I arrived right after schools in the St.-Petersburg conservatory (in which then has not arrived) did it somehow by inertia. Then I was still absolutely “crude” as musicians speak. Certainly, the graduate of dirizhersko-choral branch had many incorrect skills for the vocalist and habits. When I have passed on the second round of examination in a speciality in Peter even it was proud of it … Already after, at the Ryazan institute of culture, I have met the teacher – Galinu Nikolaevnu Razutovu who has given me the permit in the vocal world. It has trained my into place a voice, has released from any clips, has forced to believe in the forces. And in the Moscow conservatory I пoехала to arrive already cовсем with other spirit. To learn here and to sing – was my devout desire.

I knew nobody in the Moscow vocal world. Has simply come on listening behind council: it costs or is not necessary to arrive? To me have told, it is necessary what to arrive. So I also have made. When in the Rahmaninovsky Hall in the beginning of September there was a first meeting new arrived, to us have told that we, maybe, still that without realizing, have sustained the main, defining competition in the life. And even now I think that they were right! The feeling of gratitude to teachers, especially my professor on a vocal to Marine Sergeevne Alekseevoy and the professor on scenic skill to Borisu Aleksandrovichu Persiyanovu, remains with me for ever. Between the teacher and the pupil very thin matters through which takes place the process named training lie.

If this contact is not established, everyone happens, – if they do not approach each other, as a rule, it turns out nothing. Especially sharply it is felt in vocal sphere. The big good luck when the teacher hears the nature of the pupil, achieves a natural manner of singing which is put in a concrete voice. I consider that in this plan to me have very much carried, and thanks the big my teachers.

About vocal schools …
I am not strong in reasoning’s on vocal schools. There is a certain standard of an opera sound. Each musician aspires to it, but a problem that all differently hear it … And the teacher just to direct the pupil to this standard. The more close the acoustical standard of the teacher to the best world samples, the better result. The present teacher possesses not simply good hearing, and good vocal hearing. Well, and certainly should know receptions how to achieve this standard.

What hold back mass-media …
All conversations that in Russia the vocal school is not present – are ridiculous. It is, and the Russian singers take the first places at the largest international competitions. For example, competition «Operalia» which spends Placido Domingo. It, by the way, in different years our mezzo-sopranos Elena Manistina won, a baritone Vassily Ladyuk, a soprano Ekaterina Lehina. But know about it only in narrow circles.

Moscow, the Bolshoi theatre, Atrium.
June, 17-th, 2009

Russian composer files a response to Charles Ives

Russian composer files a response to Charles Ives

When american composer Charles Ives (1874-1954) composed a piece he called «The Unanswered Question» in 1906, he couldn’t have dreamed that a Russian composer born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1953, would, if not quite «answer» his question, at least posit a tantalizing musical meditation on it more than a century later.

This new piece, called «Post-scriptum» by its composer, Victor Kissine, will receive its world premiere with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, in concerts scheduled for 8 p.m. March 4, 5, and 6 and 2 p.m. March 7 at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco.

Kissine — who makes his home in Belgium, where he is a professor of music at two important conservatories — writes that he was a student at the Leningrad Conservatory when he first discovered Ives’ piece. Considering it a «revelation», he assiduously studied the details of its score, noting that Ives used a trumpet to repeatedly intone his so-called «Perennial Question of Existence». The piece continues, as a series of other instruments offer comments on his question but cannot «answer» it. In his «Post-Scriptum», Kissine engages a series of five sounds, each of which evolves into either a major or minor pitch interval of a third to deal with «the question». During our recent e-mail exchange, I asked Kissine if, in his judgment, an average listener would consider his music in general, and «Post-Scriptum» in particular, to be «beautiful», «pleasing», «interesting» or «shocking» following a first hearing.

He replied, «If the listener finds my music ‘beautiful,’ I’d be overjoyed. I have nothing against ‘pleasing’ or ‘interesting,’ but if he is ‘shocked,’ I’d be disappointed, because this wasn’t my intention at all». Kissine has written a great deal of film music, as well as chamber and orchestral music. However, his approach to composition departs significantly from the assertive, agitated, often ear-grating styles issuing from the fin de siecle era at the beginning of the 20th century.

He explains that his musical language expands to include elements of classical Western-style tonality, 20th-century atonality, minimalism, aleatory sounds and 12-tone techniques, adding that he also uses micro-intervals (notes that fall «between the cracks» of notes on the piano). Further elaborating on his style, he wrote that beyond the four basic parameters of music — duration, pitch level, intensity and timbre — there is yet another: Silence, which he uses to great effect in his compositions.

«Silence», he says, «does not stop the music. It’s part of the music. It’s the flip side of music. Sound without silence wouldn’t exist». In his e-mail, Kissine asserted that he can’t imagine being anything other than a musician and composer. “I started music when I was 5,” he wrote. “So, it was the first language I learned to read. And, the first score I sight-read by myself was ‘Sonata quasi una Fantasia,’ Op. 27, No. 2 by Beethoven (the famous “Moonlight Sonata”). I remember having had enormous problems with the left-hand octaves».

Because his family lived near the Philharmonic Hall in Leningrad, he was taken to musical performances from a very early age. «I especially remember a recital by Sviatoslav Richter which made a great impression me», he wrote. «He was playing ‘my’ Beethoven sonata»! Kissine, father of two and grandfather to a 4-year-old, is a citizen of Belgium, living with his wife in Court-Saint-Etienne, a suburb of Brussels.

Other works scheduled for the S.F. Symphony’s March 4-7 program will be Ravel’s «Valses nobles et sentimentales», Liszt’s «Tasso: Lament and Triumph» and the unabashedly exultant Violin Concerto by another great Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky. Its soloist will be Christian Tetzlaff, prizewinning German violinist, who also performs the work with the symphony during its mid-March national tour.

Nobel Prize Concert Classical Music

Nobel Prize Concert Classical Music

Nobel Media, in association with the Stockholm Concert Hall, is proud to present this year’s Nobel Prize Concert – an event of world class stature. The concert is to take place on 8 December as part of the official Nobel Week programme of activities. Tickets will be released to the general public on Friday 29 May.

Stockholm Concert HallMartha Argerich, headstrong, charismatic and technically brilliant pianist, is this year’s soloist at the Nobel Prize Concert. Yuri Temirkanov, Music Director and Principal Conductor for the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic will be leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme comprises Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and Prokoviev’s Suite from Romeo and Juliet.

Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires in 1941, and had her performing debut at the tender age of eight. Her breakthrough came in 1965, when she won the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw. She has worked with most of the world’s leading conductors, and her repertoire includes Bach, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók and Prokoviev.

Ms Argerich is passionate about supporting young talent. The year 1999 saw the first International Martha Argerich Piano Contest in Buenos Aires, a competition that she founded and of which she is now the chief judge. She has also instituted the Martha Argerich Music Festival in Japan, with concerts and masterclasses.
The Nobel Prize Concert is held to honour the year’s Nobel Laureates, who attend with their respective parties. Also present are members of the Swedish Royal Family and guests of the Nobel Foundation.

The TV broadcast of the Nobel Prize Concert will be produced by EuroArts and distributed internationally. In Sweden the concert will be broadcast by SVT. The Nobel Prize Concert is sponsored by DnB NOR and Statkraft.

For further information contact:
Camilla Hyltén-Cavallius, CEO Nobel Media +46 (0)8-663 14 83 or +46 (0)70-524 57 70
Stefan Forsberg, CEO Stockholm Concert Hall +46 (0)8-786 02 20 or +46 (0)70-786 02 50

Dallas Symphony Orchestra – «Alexander Nevsky»

Dallas Symphony Orchestra – «Alexander Nevsky»

Sounds that kept provoking smells and colors: Thursday was synesthesia night at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Prokofiev’s cantata based on his score for the film Alexander Nevsky took pride of place on conductor Jaap van Zweden’s enterprising program. Before intermission, he typically plugged gaps in the orchestra’s repertoire.

Alexander NevskyWolfgang Rihm currently bears the flag for German modernism and post-modernism. Memoria marked his Dallas Symphony debut – an American premiere and indeed only the third performance of the work anywhere. Like Stravinsky’s late Requiem Canticles, it offers shards of a formal lamentation – in this case for chorus, two soloists and an odd assortment of orchestral personnel. The chorus sometimes hummed and shouted. Offstage batteries of percussion made a furious clamor. I loved the work’s quirky solemnity, and the audience gave it a surprisingly enthusiastic welcome.

One of the orchestra’s own stars, Christopher Adkins, then got his moment in the sun with Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major. Lost until 1961, the piece is one of the few Haydn concertos that suggest his preeminence as a composer. Thank goodness van Zweden is making up for all the years the Dallas Symphony neglected his genius.

The sweet richness of Adkins’ tone, closely matched by the orchestral strings, evoked vocabulary you’d associate with tasting dessert wines: I detected overtones of honey, vanilla and tobacco. The cellist’s extended family has been active on the local early music scene, so I was surprised by the frankly romantic, though not self-indulgent, approach here.

The great filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein was fulfilling a commission to prepare the Soviet public for the approaching World War II in Alexander Nevsky. Prokofiev’s soundtrack is inseparable from the images of medieval knights – good Russians, bad Germans – who battle onscreen. The cantata the composer arranged from the score made a great pairing with Rihm’s memorial to the dead of that same war.

Van Zweden seemed to be hurling gobs of paint onto a mighty canvas as he led the piece. The winds produced pungent, saturated colors, underpinned by tubas and contrabassoon, while the pitched percussion overlaid the picture with enamel splashes. Violins shaped delicate transitions between the climaxes piled on climaxes.

The huge Dallas Symphony Chorus blazed brightly when individual sections could revel in exposed lines. All together, the sound could be muddy. Prepared by interim director Terry Price, the chorus managed a convincing attempt at the language, even if the basses lacked that sepulchral low end of their Russian counterparts. Mezzo Gigi Velasco-Mitchell proved a wonderful alternative to the beefy Slavic contraltos we usually hear in the solo. Her singing was as elegant as it was earthy, confirming the excellent impression she (and treble Bryan Leines) had made in the Rihm.

Dallas News

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