“The world demonstrates a great interest in the work of the great Russian composer Sergei Rakhmaninov”. This topic was the leitmotif for a press conference in Moscow that preceded the Rakhmaninov competition. Rakhmaninov’s works are pearls in the repertoire of practically all the stars of pianistic art. Besides, they are very popular amongst the younger generation of performers. Suffice it to mention that 64 pianists applied to participate in the contest. On the results of preliminary auditions, 34 musicians from 11 countries were admitted to the first tour.
the vids showcase music from the competition programme
The Moscow Rakhmaninov competition is not the only contest in the world named for Sergei Rakhmaninov. A similar contest is held in the USA. A youth contest named after Sergei Rakhmaninov is held in Tambov (south of Moscow). ”Rakhmaninov is a great ambassador of the Russian culture. We must do all in our power to preserve his musical heritage”, said Viktor Merzhanov, the honorary president of the Rakhmaninov Society, the chairman of the competition jury, and Professor of the Moscow Conservatoire.
To confirm his words, Professor Merzhanov gave an historical example. Once, in France, the great Russian basso Fyodor Shaliapin was asked which books he would recommend so that one would be able to understand Russian culture better. He replied, “You should listen to Rakhmaninov’s music every day. There’s no other source that could provide more information about Russian culture”. “This is what the name of Rakhmaninov means for Russian culture”, Professor Merzhanov concluded.
Another member of the jury, Professor Michael Kryst from Vienna, said, “Rakhmaninov does not mean only the Russian soul. Likewise, Chopin does not mean only the Polish soul. And Brahms… means not only the German soul. For example, the wonderful Polish pianist Christian Zimmerman performs Brahms brilliantly. There are quite a number of such examples. Rakhmaninov is one of the world’s great composers; he is not merely a composer of his country and of his time”. Professor Kryst emphasised that he teaches his students to love and understand the priceless wealth of Rakhmaninov’s music, which is heard more and more in the world today.
Rakhmaninov’s music is popular amongst the new generation of Korean musicians, said Daijin Kim, Professor of the Seoul Conservatoire, stressing that the “leader of sales” in the musical shops in Korea are CDs with Rakhmaninov himself as the performer. “Rakhmaninov’s emotional music, coming from his very heart, delights Asian musicians, who praise his performance technique highly for its virtuosity, Professor Kim added. By the way, five pianists from Asia are taking part in this year’s musical competition. One more thing… at the contest last year the Japanese pianist Sadakazu was rated as the best interpreter of Rakhmaninov’s works.
10 June 2008
Voice of Russia World Service