in: Reviews

April 2, 2011

Good Kissin, Great Kissin at the BSO

by

John Nelson, conducts (Stu Rosner photo)

This weekend Evgeny Kissin returned to Boston to join the BSO in performing Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor (Opus 16) and to repeat Fryderyk Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in e minor (he played the Chopin the last time he came). Oddly enough, each of these pieces were preceded in the program by a Franz Liszt work for orchestra, the Mephisto Waltz No. 1 for Orchestra and Liszt’s symphonic poem Orpheus.  In the performance that I saw on Friday afternoon, April 1, it began well enough but ended with transcendence. (The concert repeats tonight and on Tuesday.)

The concert opened with the Liszt’s Waltz, a very imaginative and lively composition whose “Tanz in der Dorfschenke” depicts Faust’s seduction of a woman on her wedding day — a seduction facilitated by Mephisto’s performance on violin. Tamara Smirnova’s playing made Mephisto’s presence believable, but the movement really took on a delightfully demonic character at Elizabeth Ostling’s  flute solo and the closing gesture from Jessica Zhou’s harp. Now that the diabolical pact had been made, it was time to bring out the virtuoso for Chopin’s First Concerto.

Chopin wrote his first concerto in 1830 and dedicated it to his friend, Friedrich Kalkbrenner,  a piano teacher and virtuoso of his own right. Since then, the concerto has remained a vehicle for virtuosity.

Of Chopin’s three movements, Kissin’s performance in the second, “Romance-Larghetto” stood apart from the first and third. His phrasing and lyricism in the inner movement contrasted strongly with his technically masterful (but at times mechanical) interpretation in the outer movements. This is an interesting inversion of his legendary 1984 recording in which the middle movement seemed rushed but the outer movements were near perfect. Perhaps this warhorse has become a workhorse and should be put to pasture? Nevertheless, he is a virtuoso and his blistering cadenza that ended the third movement earned him his standing ovation.

After intermission came Liszt’s symphonic poem. One of his more introspective works, Liszt’s Orpheus is a formal amalgamation of a sonata and a movement-long crescendo. It is proto-Wagnerian in both its orchestration and thematic transformations. These aspects were handled wonderfully by conductor John Nelson, who crafted a well articulated dénouement from the orchestra with the perfect balance of restraint and indulgence. The harpists (Principal Jessica Zhou and the second, whose name was not in the program) deserve special mention for their warm consistency in maintaining this beautiful piece’s characteristic ambiance.

Evgeny Kissin (Stu Rossner photo)

However, Nelson’s affectionate interpretation of Liszt was quickly forgotten as the lightning flashed when Kissin played the opening bars of the Grieg concerto. Written in 1868, and no less of a warhorse than the Chopin, Grieg’s concerto is a canonic work of epic proportions. Yet there was a freshness and palpable passion in Kissin’s articulation from the opening cadenza, a passion that carried straight through the entire work. This was uniquely apparent right away as Kissin took advantage of Grieg’s formal design (which he adopted from Robert Schumann) in which the primary theme is presented by the orchestra and then immediately by the soloist, instead of forcing the soloist to wait until the entire exposition has been played by the orchestra. This form sets the soloist and orchestra in stark dialogue and allows the drama of the concerto to begin early and in earnest. In this dialogue, Kissin’s vibrant tone carried the weight of the lyrical second theme with a remarkable ease that was barely matched by the Orchestra. Indeed, when Kissen arrived at the movement’s cadenza, it felt as though he had finally shaken the orchestra loose and was running free. As the movement came to a close, the atmosphere was electric. The second movement offered a respite from the fireworks, but the tone that Kissin drew from the piano was simply marvelous. In this movement the BSO performed incredibly well as partner/accompanist, thanks to Nelson’s blending, pacing and patient lyricism.

However, the finale surpassed all that came before. With his performance of the gigantic, majestic and yet simple dance theme Kissin conveyed a joie de vivre that was both intoxicating and contagious. Appropriately, at the final cadence the audience erupted with a thunderous applause that I’ve not heard in Symphony Hall in some time — especially this season. Kissin generously repaid the compliment with encores — two of them: his own transcription of Grieg’s Ich Lieb Dich and Chopin’s “Minute Waltz.” It should be mentioned that while the encores were beautiful, the continuing rapturous applause that framed them was more due to the concerto than either of the encores. As a pianist, Kissin is at the top of his game, and when the work he plays is fresh to him, the outcome can be exhilarating.

As a final note, at the end of the second movement of the Chopin, in the quiet, as the audience and performers gathered themselves for the finale, a cellphone rang somewhere in the low-numbered seats between rows K and P. It was clearly audible to Kissin and who can tell how distracting it was for him? At intermission several of us agreed on two things: First, those who allow their cellphones to ring at a concert should be immediately marched to the scaffold, and second, the BSO is not doing enough to prevent this from happening. The audience is clearly not seeing or responding to the writing on the wall; perhaps an audible pre-concert announcement is merited.

Joseph E. Morgan is a PhD graduate of Brandeis University, where he studied early German romantic opera. He lives and teaches in the Boston area.

31 Comments

  1. I never was Kissin fan and I have no idea why the industry propaganda promotes the Kissin-like pianists. His compressed, overly- loud, hyper- prominent play, with cookie-cutter phrases and overly-rehearsed fake romanism is even more annoying then his sophomoric interviews. I was a good Pussy and sat down today to listen BSO Saturday live broadcast and it looks like Mr. Kissin refused “due to artistic reasons” to play today over air live and insisted that a recording of his Friday concern was broadcasted. This is not kosher at all!!! I wonder if he did he show up today in the Symphony Hall or he sent his hologram….

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

  2. Aw… he wasn’t *that* bad… although he sounded like a studio recording, with the heartless perfection not spliced in but produced live.

    Comment by clark johnsen — April 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

  3. I’m truly shocked that Romy doesn’t think Evgeny Kissin is “kosher.”

    BTW- Regarding the whys and wherefores, here’s a statement from WCRB’s Ben Roe:

    “The soloist (Yevgeny Kissin) did not permit a live broadcast, (this was only the second time he’s played the Grieg concerto with an orchestra) so with the consent of the artist and the BSO players committee we recorded and used the approved performances from both the Thursday night and Friday afternoon concerts we recorded.”

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

  4. First Kissin offers Scriabin, but then gives us the Chopin again. Now he refuses Boston the excitement of a live broadcast? Is he afraid his performance wont be good enough for the broadcast? This considering the whole concert was dedicated to him–even the orchestral pieces were bound up with the idea of virtuosity (Liszt’s Mephisto and Orpheus). If he feels he isn’t that good, maybe he shouldn’t be treated as such. I think I’m with Romy; Kosher or not, he should have been given ONE concerto, paid half and required by contract to allow the broadcast.

    Comment by Joseph Morgan — April 3, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  5. Oh, Lee, you are missing the whole point. Sure, an artist is perfectly within his/her rights in some cases to want his/her performances not to be broadcasted. But this is the whole concept of broadcasting of live events – we do not moderate and do not edit live broadcast. We do not play the idiotic games when GBH personal takes one movements from Thursday performances, another movements from Friday or from a rehearsal and the cadenza from some kind of festival last year in Germany. Live is live and the events unfolding in Symphony Hall need to be broadcasted live. The absence of the safe net during the live performances is what makes the live events special. We all adults and we all understand that sometimes during live play soloist or orchestras’ slip and this is perfectly fine – that come with territory. I did not see Mr. Kissin refund money to the Saturday audiences in attendance – so it was good enough for them but not enough for the listeners over radio? If Mr. Kissin so desperately want to control his message then perhaps need to worry more about the content of the message intend of the message’s medium?

    BTW, I personally incriminate BSO administration – they had to handle it. This is one extra evidenced that BSO administration puts interests of industry insiders above the interest of Boston citizens. I understand that Kissin does not care to much about the people who listed BSO broadcasts, shell somebody care and advocate our rights and demand? BSO shell not substitute live broadcasts with live-to-tape, frequently overcooked music. There is absolutely no need to look what Evgeny Kissin or what Ben Roe think or say. You play in Boston’s Symphony Hall the Saturday – it will be broadcasted LIVE. It is what it is. If you do feel to play LIVE then quit your job to go sell insurances door to door .

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  6. I’m with Romy on this one.

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

  7. How completely ridiculous to criticize Kissin for this. As the man PERFORMING and presenting this music, he has the right to do whatever he wants regarding a live performance going out on the radio.

    Comment by Ben — April 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  8. FYI- My WCRB sources have told me that the broadcast versions of both concerti derived without any editing from the Thursday performance….

    and yes, it’s always up to an artist whether to release a recording or whether to perform live on radio. That most BSO soloists grant this right does not suggest that all must do so.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  9. But it wasn’t a solo recital, so he wasn’t “the” man performing and presenting the music. He was one of the people performing and presenting it. The first oboist can’t demand that a symphony in which he has a solo part not be broadcast live. Mr. Kissin came to an institution which has a practice of connecting with the community of music lovers through the medium of live radio broadcasts and web streams of its performances. If he didn’t want to be part of it, Ben is right: he had the perfect right not to come and be part of the broadcast.

    But rather than holding to their established practice, BSO management, understandably, wanted a sellout. So they made one and got another. After this fiasco, I hope they never bring him back.

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

  10. P.S. Cf. Mark DeVoto’s article, “Announcing A War on Warhorses.”

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  11. Kissin is the type of virtuoso I dislike intensely… At a previous BSO concert I felt he was interested only in being a showoff with overblown technique and little real feeling for the music which took second place to his egotistical manner. Soloists with the BSO know that the Saturday concerts are broadcast.. PERIOD! Why did Kissin feel that he should be treated differently! This display of egotistic temperment harks back to over a century ago when “artists” could easily bend management to their will. Melba, for example hated the fact that the tenor had two great arias in the last act of “Lucia” so when she sang the title role, the opera ended at her “death”! In recent years the antics of those like Kathleen Battle resulted in her being fired by the Met and other Opera Houses.

    Meglomanics damage or destroy the cooperation and interaction which can result in a uniformly artistic performance.

    There are far better pianists whose careers weren’t created in a large part by huge media hype and publicity re: bad behavior.

    Comment by Ed Burke — April 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  12. Virtuoso. Hm, I think we greatly diluted the definition of “virtuoso”. In past an individual who possesses an excellent technical ability with an instrument was call virtuoso. Nowadays advanced technical abilities in instruments are frequent and in some kind of Beijing or Moscow we have dozens of pianists who can play at technical level of Hofmann of Michelangeli. However, the techniques of play instilment are worthless if there is nothing more in person then technical skills. Music we play, alike to painting we draw, films we shoot of novels we write are just reflections of ourselves and technical expertise are just a way to bring it up. With a lightweightness of personality those advanced technical skills become very annoying burden and it is what exactly that Kissin is suffering in my view. I do not know him personally but I think he is a Moron; at least it is what he is screaming with his piano play. Approximately 2 years back I caught him in Worchester with a Russian orchestra and Rachmaninoff concerto. It was “virtuoso” play technically but it was so brainless and so empty in intention that I think it was one of the most indicative examples of the famost Cargo Cult I have heard in piano music. The fenniest is that this “bamboo airplane builder” puts himself to a position to dictate what I have to listen over air! Bring the Iron Curtain back and keep the Kissins behind the Wall.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm

  13. Guys- Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Saturday’s broadcast was of a delayed live performance.

    Maybe this was not ideal, but hardly such a betrayal as some have suggested.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm

  14. What if they had decided to put a large screen in Symphony Hall on Saturday and show a video of the Thursday performance? Hardly a significant betrayal?

    Okay, the Symphony Hall audience paid for the live performance, whereas the listeners to WCRB merely turned their radios or computers on so the listeners had only expectations of a live performance, while the audience had rights to one. But the point remains that a live broadcast is one thing, and a recording is something different, even if the performers were all alive when the recording was made. And even if they were performing before an audience who were (mostly, at least) alive too. There is certainly a value to recordings of concert performances. In fact, I think it would be wonderful if the “BSO on Record” and “Sunday Concert” segments frequently gave us recordings from BSO concerts in Symphony Hall. But Saturday evening listeners are led to expect that they will be able to hear the performance as it happens, not a recording. If I were WCRB, I’d be very unhappy with the BSO for not delivering the live performance, and I might even have been tempted to decline the recording and play something else, while making it clear to the audience that the BSO management had capitulated to the “primo don” demands of Mr. Kissin and refused to allow WCRB to broadcast the concert live but that they would not be a party to the bait-and-switch.

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

  15. Romy the Cat points out that there was an audience on Saturday night that paid for the performance, live. So did Kissin basically scoff in the face of BSO patrons? Was he saying his performance might not be up to his standards, but that it did’nt matter because the audience would have nothing tangible at the end of the evening? I think this is a serious question that ought to make BSO management think twice (maybe they do not even need that). I go with not having him again, although I loved his performances.

    Is his problem an enlarged ego or misplaced insecurity? The BSO sure has my sympathy for events of this year.

    Our Esteemed Publisher says it was not a betrayal. Yes, it was. What’s to keep another such incident from resulting in a pastiche of past performances?

    Comment by Norton, Bettina A — April 4, 2011 at 4:12 am

  16. One more point. I sure hope the Ben who defended Kissin’s right to halt the live broadcast is not the Ben I fear it is. Second point: Kissin signed a contract that I’ll bet included the broadcast. I do hope his pay was so adjusted. If we patrons pay for super heroes, we ask that they deliver.

    Comment by Norton, Bettina A — April 4, 2011 at 4:16 am

  17. I’m also a presenter and recordist of chamber music concerts. In the past twenty years exactly one artist out of nearly three hundred refused to play for Harvard Musical Association’s microphones- the very excellent cellist, Pieter Wispelwey. In this case it was more insecurity than arrogance. He told me that the audience would not hear his best performance if the mikes were on because he would be “…playing it safe” lest future archivists gloat over his mistakes.

    He played a return engagement a few years later under the same restrictions.

    Balancing the needs of an average of 1,800 WCRB radio listeners vs the 2,600 in the live audience adds complexity to the calculus.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

  18. One assumes that if the “live broadcasts” were actually (and dependably) live, the 1800 number would increase while the 2600 is already at its limit. Further, I believe a top notch performer (of such international fame for virtuosity) would be attracted to the idea of a live broadcast and see it as a opportunity to raise the level of his/her playing (taking those chances) accordingly, while the “safe” performer will seek safety. Seeking safety is fine, but for this characteristic alone, the latter probably doesn’t merit taking up the BSO’s time to play TWO concerti for 3-4 concerts at the height of the season!

    Comment by Joseph Morgan — April 4, 2011 at 10:06 am

  19. There have been roughly 2,400 BSO concerts broadcast live by WCRB and WGBH since 1951. Over the years artists have occasionally banned their own portions from broadcast. Jessye Norman is one such artist who comes to mind.

    That last Saturday night’s was a delayed live recording has no bearing whatsoever on WCRB’s ratings for this very important broadcast tradition.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

  20. Thanks Lee and Bettina for explaining the background and history re: the couple of artists who have banned their own BSO performances from broadcast.

    This brings to mind the interesting situation when the reverse occurred…great artists who refused to make studio recordings and only their live broadcast performances were released on LP’s and cds.

    Comment by Ed Burke — April 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

  21. First, thank you Mr. Morgan, for a review that is insightful, accurate and conveys something of the excitement of having been there in Symphony Hall. I was there for both the Thursday and Saturday performances and both were stunning. As for those complaining about the broadcast, I think that their comments are particularly misplaced when they accuse Kissin of egotism as a motivation for his decision to request that the performance be delayed (unedited) rather than live. I met Kissin in John Nelson’s dressing room at the end of the long evening Saturday, and he was gracious and displayed no outsized ego. In Nelson’s words, “He is all music and not an ounce of showmanship.” I think I’ll take my cue from someone who has worked with him repeatedly and closely, rather from those who choose to judge him on the basis of one broadcasting decision, the reason for which none of us is in a position to know.

    Comment by Floyd Larson — April 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  22. I’m appalled by some of the comments here. The suggestions that Evgeny Kissin is particularly selfish or that his playing is egotistical are silly. Kissin’s is a deeply sincere, unique – in fact, rather strange – musical personality, reflective of his odd and singular genius. It is certainly fitting to acknowledge those occasions during his performances where the emotional dimension acquires an almost eerie artificiality, as if set in thick, polished glass. This will always be an edge for the lapidary type of artist, and all the more so for one whose comportment suggests a non-ordinary (perhaps slightly autistic?) mentality.

    It cuts both ways, though: Kissin is never less than fully – indeed, preternaturally – engaged, and I have heard quite a few performances that were devastating in their emotional power. For example, his Brahms 2nd with Levine in early April, ’08 was truly exalted, and we found it incredibly moving, as did the rest of the audience. On the other hand, his Brahms 1st that weekend had that by-the-numbers, ‘as if’ feeling that Kissin’s detractors apparently love to gnaw on like an old bone. Likewise, the ‘heart meter’ hardly budged during his recent Liszt Sonata, but his Années de Pélerinage excerpts were quite wonderful, and his encores were sublimely affecting.

    So what? This kind of feast-and-famine should be familiar to any lover of the piano! Remember the time Annie Fischer absolutely butchered the first half of a Jordan Hall recital, then returned from intermission to play the giddiest, most hair-raising set of Chopin waltzes imaginable?

    One more thing: Kissin isn’t a superhero, but he is nothing less than a remarkable pianist who is often capable of great music-making. In the many interviews I’ve heard, he comes across as a gentle, serious artist of great integrity who is deeply knowledgeable about tradition. He seems a bit inhibited and self-conscious in such settings, as elsewhere, but not sophomoric in the least.

    I’m not a huge fan of Kissin, actually, and don’t go back often to his recordings, but I would never intentionally miss a local appearance. He is a true phenomenon in music, and I’ve never heard a Kissin performance that was less than fascinating, albeit sometimes in non-musical as well as musical ways. Most importantly, there’s always the possibility of a transcendent experience. It strikes me, though, that some of Kissin’s detractors come across as considerably more “heartless”, “mechanical”, and predictable than he does. At least he’s accurate!

    Comment by Nimitta — April 4, 2011 at 10:30 pm

  23. Lee, do not bring Wispelwey as some kind of reference. Many fine musicians are not particularly authorities in listening culture. Many of them need to be cultured in listening habits, this is well-know phenomena. Also, the people who were donated money to BSO, who were dying and sighed off their live-long accumulation to BSO endowment did not do it to benefit Wispelwey, or Kissin, or Levine, or whoever else. They were driven by the idea that the torch shall be passed on. Live broadcasts of Boston classical performance is one of the Touches that was lit many years back and a couple generations of Bostonian lived in the city warmed up by the fire of that torch. Wispelweys, Kissins and whoever else are too small to make any dent in this fire, it started before they were born and I hope it will continue long after they retire. Soloists need to be EDUCATED to recognize the privilege and the benefits to play live aired concerts.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 5, 2011 at 6:40 am

  24. Nimitta,

    I would agree that some comments about Kissin personality expressed here were not exactly “appropriate” particularly from me, but it was clearly announced that the concert was not broadcasted live because some artistic reasons expressed by Kissin. So, regardless his “remarkable pianist” status he did put his personality choose on a table. If you are wearing a very aggressive mini-skirt on stage then probably you would get the “coverage” about your sexual intentions. Of you are seasoned pianists who afraid to play to aired event then you get people to question your motives.

    I would also degree with you about Kissin’s remarkable pianism. Yes, he is very accurately render notes, so a computer, or a piano roll. If you feel that being accurate is all that piano playing is about then you need to think again. I can give you dozens and dozens names of contemporary pianist who do the very same thing as your Kissin does – a technically accurate homogeneous conversion of noted to sound, where notes have no character and phases have no intentions. In my view Kissin might be “deeply sincere, unique” and having the best intentions but unfortunately (or fortunately) the proof is in the pudding …

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 5, 2011 at 6:59 am

  25. I can give one more perhaps relevant HMA example of a partial refusenick: Till Fellner. That great pianist listens carefully to recordings of all of his performances and then decides what his perfectionism allows him to release. In the HMA case it was just three movements from four complete Beethoven sonatas.

    Comment by Lee Eiseman — April 5, 2011 at 7:04 am

  26. I very much doubt any of us would have heard the difference had WGBH not mentioned that it was a collection of two previous performances. I’m sure Kissin doesn’t care about the rantings of a message board, which is a good thing, but Kissin is under no obligation to EVER compromise his artistic principles, especially when what he substituted is %90 of what is normally heard. Performers have bad nights sometimes, and I absolutely(as a performer) understand Kissin’s desire to not be beholden to a performance that he might not have felt good about musically or technically.
    Bettina, I have no idea what Ben you are talking about, but it’s safe to say I’m probably not him..

    Comment by Ben W — April 5, 2011 at 8:08 am

  27. For those who feel fine with Kissin’s stiffing the radio audience —

    What would have happened if he had been less than perfectly satisfied with his performances on Thursday and Friday?

    What should have happened?

    Comment by Joe Whipple — April 5, 2011 at 10:18 am

  28. Ben W, I do not think we are talking about artistic principles but rather about stupidly used marketing principles. Kissin’s mama told him “Son, if you let them to broadcast you then they will not buy your safocated CDs and will not go to your concerts”. It is nothing to do with artistic principles; it is just a false premise that is well-recognized as a false premise for many years. Kissin next time will make a demand that women among audience shall be dressed in brown dresses and that Republicans must not be sited on first balcony. The point that I am trying to make is that if hi is an artist then not all of his demands are “artistic principles”. He might cancel a concert but if he proceeds with a concert then he has no control over BSO tradition to broadcast concerts. It would be similar of you are a writer and you insist that your novels shall not be read in trains – it is none of your business where people will read your novel. The same is with Kissin. He did not make a statement that it will be a bad day for him and that he would like to scope down the perspective listeners. He did not know what will happen next day, no one knows and this is EXACTLY WHY PEOPLE HAVE LIVE BROADCASTS – it had to be broadcasted on Friday AND on Saturday. The only reason why Kissin pulled such a thing is because BSO let him do it. This Saturday MET will be performing Rossinis’ Le Comte Ory. I wonder what would happen if Diana Damrau would ask that became her “artistic integrity” she would like the MET event was not broadcasted. Laughable!

    I do not know if the contracts that BSO sign with artists are explicitly say about live FM broadcasts. I hope it does and I have no idea why if an artist is not a Moron then he would deny the opportunity to be broadcasted live.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

  29. *** What would have happened if he had been less than perfectly satisfied with his performances on Thursday and Friday? What should have happened?

    … and why do you think that it was the recording of Thursday or Friday event? I might be a crossover between Thursday and Friday or it might be a mix from 15 years ago or the recording not by Kissin but by Joyce Hatto. The point is that if it is not LIVE than it is by definition an edited event. Pay attention that nether neither BSO, nor WCRB need it. It was done to preserve the Mr. Kissin’s artistic…. what word shall I use…. virginity, Moronity…. oops. sorry I meant to say “integrity”.

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 5, 2011 at 11:24 am

  30. Kissin is not the first performer to have done this.

    Many years ago Rostropovich (for this he does not deserve Slava) refused to allow the broadcast of his performance at Tanglewood. I was all ready for my Sunday afternoon treat when the announcer said that an earlier recorded concert would be substituted.

    As has been mentioned in another thread, the BSO archives are not open to the public, so my search for the precise date has been futile. The radio audience, to say the least, was not happy at all.

    Comment by perry — April 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

  31. Rostropovich was playing Shostakovich’s Second Cello concerto in Tanglewood during August 1975, the concert closing with Shostakovich’s Fifth. During the intermission a telegram came from Russia informing that Shostakovich just passed away and Rostropovich’s wife announced from stage the sad news. Then Rostropovich proceeded with the Fifth Symphony. I wonder – would that concert was worth to be broadcasted LIVE of Mr. Kissin’s mama would chose to broadcast instead a concert recorded during March 1952 in Uzbekistan?

    Comment by Romy The Cat — April 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

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