Sofia Gubaidulina, composer

Sofia Gubaidulina, composer
Sofia Gubaidulina

Monday, September 18, 2017

Lukas Geniušas plays Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No.2 in G major, & Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor – State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov", Alexey Bogorad – XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015, Piano / Final Round

The International Tchaikovsky Competition, first held more than 50 years ago, is not only a valuable asset of Russian musical culture but is also one of the major events in the international music community. The International Tchaikovsky Competition is held once every four years.

The first, in 1958, included two disciplines – piano and violin. Beginning with the second competition, in 1962, a cello category was added, and the vocal division was introduced during the third competition in 1966. In 1990, a fifth discipline was announced for the IX International Tchaikovsky Competition – a contest for violin makers which was held before the main competition.

The XV International Tchaikovsky Competition was held in Moscow and St Petersburg from June 15 to July 3, 2015, and was dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the great Russian composer.

In the competition participated more than 600 artists from 45 countries.

On the jury for piano was the distinguished pianists Dmitri Bashkirov, Boris Berezovsky, Michel Béroff, Peter Donohoe, Sergei Dorensky, Barry Douglas, Denis Matsuev, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Alexander Toradze, Vladimir Feltsman, Klaus Hellwig, and the founder and director of the Verbier International Festival and Academy, Martin Engström.

The pianists competing at the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition must perform one of Tchaikovsky's two first piano concertos.

In some circles, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.2 is thought to be superior to his ever-popular First, one of the most played and recorded concertos ever written. Still, defenders of the Second must concede to certain imperfections; the first two movements, for example, are rather long for their material. The latter, in fact, was heavily abridged by Rachmaninov's cousin, Alexander Siloti. The Concerto was actually published in this cut edition, which was for a time quite popular.

This mammoth three-movement work, performances of which typically exceed three-quarters of an hour begins with a proud theme first stated in the orchestra, then by the piano in big chords. A warm, romantic alternate theme, introduced partially by the clarinet, is taken up by the piano. Eventually Tchaikovsky introduces a brief cadenza, and soon afterward a massive cadenza appears, the main theme permeating it, often in subtle guises. A reprise initiated by the orchestra follows, with a brilliant coda closing the movement.

The second movement features lengthy solo appearances by the cello and violin, the former instrument introducing the main theme at the outset, soon joined by the violin, with the piano silent for the first four minutes or so. The lovely melody is at last taken up by the piano, and the mood seems to swim in serenity and beauty. Tension develops in the middle section in a long orchestral passage. The cello and violin return again, with the piano eventually reentering, but in an accompanimental role, and thereafter not really seizing center stage. While the piano has a limited role in this central panel, the music is imaginative and finely crafted.

The final begins with the piano playing an ebullient theme whose joyous ascending chords at the outset are followed by a playful descent. A busy second theme of strong Russian flavor quickly follows. The piano then delivers a lyrical variation on it that bleaches its ethnicity out and imparts a carefree, infectious joy. The whole movement bustles with energy and happiness, with brilliant piano writing and Tchaikovsky's typically imaginative orchestration.

Source: Robert Cummings (

Rachmaninov premiered the Third Concerto in New York with the New York Symphony Orchestra, led by Walter Damrosch, on November 28, 1909. The following January he played it with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gustav Mahler. For many decades, it was neglected by pianists and public alike, in favor of the more compact, more tuneful and structurally sounder Second Concerto. It is a deeper work, full of virtuosic hurdles and lengthy cadenzas. But it was undermined by cuts Rachmaninov was prevailed upon to make, which, in the short run, served to make it more programmable in concerts, but ultimately sabotaged its artistic value. Since the last quarter of the twentieth century, however, most performances of the concerto have been of the original version, which can run around 45 minutes. (Abridged renditions shaved as much as ten minutes off the score's total timing.)

The Third Concerto's first movement, marked Allegro ma non tanto, opens with the piano delivering a lively but solemn theme of Russian character, which then immediately begins to sprout new ideas. A yearning bridge passage leads to a rhythmic theme that slows and quickly takes on another melodic guise, a beautiful and typically Rachmaninovian one in its soaring and ecstatic manner. The main theme returns and a powerful development section yields to a lengthy cadenza, whose opening pages offer alternative versions for the soloist – a lighter, more athletic beginning or a darker more chordal one. A restatement of the main theme and brief coda close this generally subdued and reflective movement.

The second movement Adagio is formally rather unique, with the main theme dominating most of the movement, and a brief scherzo-like section appearing near the end. The mood ranges from the melancholy of the main theme by the oboe to the ecstatic glory of its big restatements by piano and orchestra in the middle part of the movement. After the playful scherzo-ish music, the piano is given a brief but brilliant cadenza that leads directly into the colorful finale.

This movement, marked Alla breve, offers a typical Rachmaninov fast theme on the piano right off: it is related to the first movement's alternate theme and is rhythmically buoyant and catchy in its repeated notes. A rhythmic chordal passage harkens back to the rhythm heard at the concerto's outset, and a lovely theme, related to the first movement bridge passage, is presented, hinting at triumphant resolution. Following a dramatic, suspenseful buildup near the end the theme makes one final and absolutely triumphant appearance, after which the brilliant coda closes the work. The middle section of this movement recalls both main themes from the first movement and was once the most heavily cut section of the concerto.

Today, this concerto carries the nickname of "Rach 3", and is the most popular choice among piano competition candidates wanting to perform a virtuoso display piece.

Source: Robert Cummings (

Ο 15ος Διεθνής Διαγωνισμός Τσαϊκόφσκι, ο οποίος ήταν αφιερωμένος στην 175η επέτειο από τη γέννηση του μεγάλου Ρώσου συνθέτη, πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Μόσχα και στην Αγία Πετρούπολη από τις 15 Ιουνίου έως τις 3 Ιουλίου 2015.

Στο πλαίσιο του τελικού του διαγωνισμού στην κατηγορία του πιάνου, ο Ρώσος πιανίστας Lukas Geniušas (γενν. 1990), ο οποίος μοιράστηκε τη δεύτερη θέση με τον κινεζικής καταγωγής Αμερικανό George Li, ερμήνευσε το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο αρ. 2 σε Σολ μείζονα, έργο 44, του Πιότρ Ιλίτς Τσαϊκόφσκι, και το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο αρ. 3 σε Ρε ελάσσονα, έργο 30, του Σεργκέι Ραχμάνινοφ. Τη State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov" διηύθυνε ο ταλαντούχος Ρώσος μαέστρος Alexey Bogorad.

Η συναυλία έλαβε χώρα στη Μεγάλη Αίθουσα του Ωδείου της Μόσχας, στις 29 Ιουνίου 2015.

Ο Διεθνής Διαγωνισμός Τσαϊκόφσκι, ο οποίος πραγματοποιείται κάθε τέσσερα χρόνια, είναι ίσως ο σημαντικότερος διαγωνισμός στο χώρο της κλασικής μουσικής. Ο διαγωνισμός διοργανώθηκε για πρώτη φορά το 1958, περιλαμβάνοντας μόνο δύο κατηγορίες: του βιολιού και του πιάνου. Το 1962, στη δεύτερη διοργάνωση, προστέθηκε η κατηγορία του βιολοντσέλου, ενώ στην τρίτη διοργάνωση του διαγωνισμού, το 1966, προστέθηκε ακόμη η κατηγορία της φωνής.

Στον 15ο Διαγωνισμό, το 2015, συμμετείχαν περισσότεροι από εξακόσιοι καλλιτέχνες από 45 χώρες, οι οποίοι διαγωνίστηκαν και στις τέσσερεις κατηγορίες: πιάνο, βιολί, βιολοντσέλο και φωνή.

Την κριτική επιτροπή για την κατηγορία του πιάνου αποτελούσαν οι διακεκριμένοι πιανίστες Dmitri Bashkirov, Boris Berezovsky, Michel Béroff, Peter Donohoe, Sergei Dorensky, Barry Douglas, Denis Matsuev, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Alexander Toradze, Vladimir Feltsman, Klaus Hellwig, καθώς επίσης και ο Martin Engström, ιδρυτής και διευθυντής του Διεθνούς Φεστιβάλ και της Ακαδημίας του Βερμπιέρ.

Ο Πιότρ Ιλίτς Τσαϊκόφσκι ολοκλήρωσε το Κοντσέρτο για πιάνο αρ. 2 σε Σολ μείζονα, έργο 44, το 1880. Το αφιέρωσε στον Νικολάι Ρουμπινστάιν, ο οποίος επέμενε να του επιτραπεί να το εκτελέσει στην πρεμιέρα, θέλοντας με αυτόν τον τρόπο να εκφράσει τη μεταμέλειά του για τη σκληρή κριτική που είχε ασκήσει στον συνθέτη για το Πρώτο Κοντσέρτο του για πιάνο. Ωστόσο, ο Ρουμπινστάιν δεν έμελλε να το ερμηνεύσει ποτέ, καθώς πέθανε το Μάρτιο του 1881. Τελικά, η πρεμιέρα του έργου δόθηκε στη Νέα Υόρκη, στις 12 Νοεμβρίου του 1881, με σολίστ την Αγγλίδα πιανίστρια Madeline Schiller (1850-1911) και τη Φιλαρμονική της Νέας Υόρκης υπό τον Theodore Thomas. Η πρώτη παρουσίαση του Κοντσέρτου αρ. 2 στη Ρωσία πραγματοποιήθηκε στη Μόσχα το Μάιο του 1882. Την ορχήστρα διηύθυνε ο Αντόν Ρουμπινστάιν (1829-1894), ενώ στο πιάνο βρισκόταν ο μαθητής του Τσαϊκόφσκι, Σεργκέι Τανέγιεφ (1856-1915).

Ο Ραχμάνινοφ υπήρξε ένας από τους κορυφαίους πιανίστες όλων των εποχών, που οι ερμηνείες του άφησαν εποχή και προκαλούσαν ντελίριο ενθουσιασμού στις συναυλίες του. Ως συνθέτης προσέδωσε έναν βαθύ συναισθηματισμό στα έργα του και ανέπτυξε ένα εντελώς προσωπικό ύφος γραφής. Τα τέσσερα κοντσέρτα για πιάνο που έγραψε απαιτούν ιδιαίτερη δεξιοτεχνία από τον ερμηνευτή, κάτι απολύτως λογικό, αν αναλογιστούμε ότι τα έγραφε πρωτίστως για τον εαυτό του. Το τρίτο από αυτά το έγραψε το 1909 για την πρώτη του περιοδεία στις Η.Π.Α. και αποτελεί ένα από τα πλέον απαιτητικά κοντσέρτα του ρεπερτορίου. Παρουσιάζει ένα ιδιότυπο ύφος, ενώ θέτει δύσκολα τεχνικά προβλήματα στον πιανίστα, κυρίως στην cadenza του πρώτου μέρους. Έντονες είναι οι λυρικές μεταπτώσεις, ενώ αξίζει να σημειωθεί ο πρωταγωνιστικός ρόλος της ορχήστρας που είναι ισότιμος του πιάνου σε όλη τη διάρκεια του έργου. Ο πιανίστας θα πατήσει και τα 88 πλήκτρα του πιάνου στα σαράντα λεπτά μίας σκληρής αναμέτρησης με το έργο, που μπορεί να οδηγήσει ακόμη και σε ψυχοσωματική κατάπτωση, όπως συνέβη και στον Ντέιβιντ Χέλφγκοττ, στην ιστορία του οποίου βασίστηκε το φιλμ Shine (1996) του Σκοτ Χίκς.

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XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015, Piano / Final Round

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

♪ Piano Concerto No.2 in G major, Op.44 (1880) [

i. Allegro brillante e molto vivace
ii. Andante non troppo
iii. Allegro con fuoco

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

♪ Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor, Op.30 (1909) [46:00]

i. Allegro ma non tanto
ii. Intermezzo. Adagio
iii. Finale. Alla breve

Lukas Geniušas, piano – Second Prize**

State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov"
Conductor: Alexey Bogorad

Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, June 29, 2015

(HD 720p)

* Start time of each work
** Second place was shared by Lukas Geniušas and George Li

Born in Moscow in 1990, Lukas Geniušas started piano studies at the age of 5 at the preparatory department of Frédéric Chopin Music College in Moscow, going on to graduate with top honours in 2008.

He was born into a family of musicians which played a major role in Lukas' swift musical development, in particular the mentorship of his grandmother, Vera Gornostaeva, the prominent teacher and professor at the Moscow Conservatory. This early development helped Lukas become the laureate of several major competitions including the Gina Bachauer Piano Competition in Utah, the Silver medal at the Chopin International Piano Competition in 2010. Two years later he received the German Piano Award in Frankfurt am Main. His most recent victory, and one of the most important, is the Silver Medal at the XV Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2015.

Lukas has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Hamburg Symphony, Duisburg Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Kremerata Baltica, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Warsaw Philharmonic, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, under the batons of conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Mikhail Pletnev, Andrey Boreyko, Saulius Sondeckis, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Antoni Wit, Rafael Payare, Roman Kofman, and Dmitry Liss, to name but a few. His international career has taken Lukas to prestigious venues and festivals throughout the world, including the Rheingau, Ruhr and Lockenhaus Music Festivals, Piano aux Jacobins, the Auditorium du Louvre and Wigmore Hall, as well as to major concert halls in Russia and South America.

Highlights of the 2015/2016 season have included triumphant recitals at the Salle Gaveau in Paris and London International Piano Series, with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and Tugan Sokhiev as well as with Mikhail Pletnev and the Russian National Orchestra.  He recently performed at the La Roque d'Anthéron International Piano Festival and made his début at the Verbier Festival with solo and chamber recitals.

In the 2016/2017 season he returns to the Sala Verdi in Milan, Mariinsky-3 and the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, and performs début recitals at the Montreal Pro Musica series and Washington Phillips Collection. Important forthcoming engagements also include performances with Charles Dutoit and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra under Alexander Lazarev in Yokohama, as well as with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Lukas' musical interests are extensive and he explores a wide range of repertoire, from the Baroque to works by contemporary composers. His repertoire spans from Beethoven Piano Concerti through to Hindemith's "Ludus Tonalis" Cycle, as well as a strong interest in Russian repertoire such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Lukas is an avid chamber musician. He is an extremely inquisitive performer and enjoys working on new works by modern composers, as well as resurrecting rarely performed repertoire.

These aspects of his career are reflected in Lukas' critically acclaimed discography, which includes his most recent recordings of the complete Rachmaninov Preludes (Piano Classics), "The Emancipation of Dissonance" (works by Desyatnikov, Arzumanov and Ryuabov) and a CD of works for violin and piano with Aylen Pritchin (Melodiya) as well as earlier recordings of Chopin Études Op.10 and 25, and Brahms and Beethoven sonatas.

At the age of 15, he was awarded a "Young Talents" federal grant from the Russian Federation and two years later received the "Gifted Youth of the 21st Century" award. Lukas has since garnered much praise and many awards in recognition of his talent, also in his native Lithuania, where he gives concerts regularly and is recognized as an outstanding performer. Since 2015, Lukas has been a featured artist of "Looking at the stars" a philanthropy project based in Toronto, whose purpose is to bring classical music to institutions and organizations (prisons, hospitals and shelters) where people may not have an opportunity to experience it live in a traditional setting.


More photos

See also

Lukas Geniušas – All the posts

The winners of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, 2015

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