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A new circle of the "culture circulation"… Maxim Vengerov’s debut at the Malta International Music F



In great musicians’ lives one always finds a kind of secret story, which, on the one hand, predicts their fate, and on the other confirms their closest proximity with music. The great teacher of Maxim Vengerov, his spiritual mentor, Mstislav Rostropovich, on one of his early photos seen sleeping in his father’s cello case. As for the Maxim Vengerov himself, he listened attentively to Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto performed by the legendary David Oistrakh at the age of... three months. His parents, the gifted musicians themselves, remember how their hungry baby used to be fed with the spiritual food — immediately stopped crying and looked very happy…

Maxim Vengerov performed the famous Violin Concerto for the first time when he was only thirteen. Since then, much water has flown under the bridges and, as he says, lots of changes happened in his mind, hands and body, especially after he began teaching and conducting. The violinist began to master the profession of the conductor on his teacher’s advice. Vengerov finds that except for the Maestro, he would not be a musician. They often performed together, recorded concerts (in 2004 receiving the Grammy award). Perceiving the most important requirements of his master — to always take care of the musical idea, artistic image and not the technical side — Vengerov continues his successful career as a soloist and conductor.

The Malta Festival is reminiscent of the music Biennale of masterpieces, where every evening one can enjoy great works of art and plan your further musical interests. Haydn, Vella and Schubert; Mozart, Strauss and Wieniawski; Kancheli, Khachaturian and Vivaldi; Respighi, Shor and Rachmaninov…

Here we have reached Tchaikovsky. At the Malta festival they dedicated a few evenings to his music. Tonight was a Swan Lake suite and the famous Violin Concerto in d major, op. 35. It is necessary to pay a tribute to the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the conductor Mro Sergey Smbatyan – in such a tense concert marathon they are simply impeccable! It is known that the conductor’s skills and abilities are to be judged not by the movements of his hands, but by the music the audience listen to. Sergey Smbatyan deeply and thoughtfully plunges into all the musical images and ideas; the audience is literally fascinated by the beauty of the symphonic architecture…

Let’s take the liberty to compare music to architecture. In Malta we can do so, with its architectural beauties uncounted (this small island has 360 churches). Medieval buildings, forts, castles, churches of fabulous beauty instil the musicians performing here with the new impressions and inspiration. The conductor’s way of thinking is architectural. We immediately recall the genius Goethe who once said that "architecture is frozen music." Sergey Smbatyan in conducting reminds an architect who plans a beautiful and solid construction.

The Swan Lake is a large 4-act ballet, with the libretto written presumably by the composer himself. On the one hand, this is a fabulous conflict based on the theme of fate and the ancestral curse, on the other — a drama with the typical leitmotif of the relationship of mankind and nature; the latter may punish but may also protect.

All parts of the Suite were performed powerfully, theatrically. Waltz conquered the audience with its festive mode, game of timbres and vivid dynamics. The conductor achieved a stunning tutti, provoking a storm of applause from the audience between parts of the Suite. In all dances the conductor kept an amazingly fast pace with good coherence musicians.

The Violin Concerto was performed frenzily, which always characterizes the genius of the violin art. Vengerov’s Interpretation was catchy and long to be remembered. All the main themes of the first part were filled with great enthusiasm, and the most difficult cadence once again proved the perfection of the Maestro's performance and further revealed the possibilities of the great Stradivari’s instrument in his master’s hands. The second part was a miniature canzonetta – echoes of Tchaikovsky’s Italian impressions. Here the soloist and the orchestra found the new colours of the story – light, elegant... The unexpected and effectively sounded the final attack, the sudden "storm" of the festive fun. Both the soloist and the orchestra showed a feeling of fullness of life and some special spiritual upliftment!

The brilliant violinist was in great shape as well as mood. This evening the energy was literally boiling on the stage, the dynamics were reaching the top, and the emotions were rushing out. The last chord... and the audience burst into applause, shouts of bravi, and gave Maestro a lengthy standing ovation.

For an encore, the musician has performed Alexey Shor's "Barcarolle", referring to the subtle allusions with the Italian painting and the Mediterranean landscapes. This piece with a clear, warm, cordial and simple melody has a deep inner emotional potential. It was a light romantic finale of the wonderful concert.

We still await Smetana and Pelēcis; Haydn, Schubert, Khachaturian and Shor, and Elgar, Babajanyan, Prokofiev and Penderecki… This is how the Malta festival supports the noble mission that famous artists bring to the great musical world of the planet, and, in parallel with their fantastically selfless creative activity, the Malta festival also creates a "new circle of blood circulation of culture and human relations"...


Tatiana Esaulova

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