Mira Yevtich (piano)
Abisal Gergiev (piano)
The Mariinsky Chorus and Orchestra
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Commemoration Mass for chorus a cappella (after the epitaph for Nikolai Gogol)
Piano Concerto No. 1
Piano Concerto No. 6
Rodion Shchedrin has written a vast amount of piano music. That is unsurprising: Shchedrin is a pianist-composer who graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in these two subjects which engaged him in equal measure. As a student, he composed his First Piano Concerto; a further five were to follow. For him, the genre of the piano concerto has become a testing ground, where he can try out the most interesting and unexpected formulas, where traditions are interwoven with innovation, and folklore with contemporary composition techniques. Even his first concerto with its motoric rhythm and limerick-like melodies sounds recognisably like Shchedrin. At the concert at the Mariinsky Theatre this virtuoso concerto by the young composer will be performed by the young composer Abisal Gergiev.
In the second part there will be a performance of the one-movement Sixth Concerto, written in 2003 to commemorate the 75th birthday of Bella Davidovich. This outstanding pianist, with whom Shchedrin studied in the same class under Yakov Flier, was particularly acclaimed for her performance of the Romantic repertoire, and the soulful lyricism of her interpretations influenced the music of the concerto dedicated to her. The concerto is subtitled lontano, and is remarkable for the spatial effects of its echo, which emerged as one of the most abundant symbols of retrospection and reflection in Shchedrin’s later works. The solo will be performed by Mira Yevtich; eight years ago this brilliant Serbian pianist, who has absorbed the tradition of the Russian piano school (she studied under Stanislav Neuhaus, Boris Berlin and Marina Wolf), and Valery Gergiev together established the International Piano Festival. On 29 December both founders will be appearing in the same concert.
The piano programme of the matinee concert is framed by two works connected with the name of the composer’s wife, the great Maya Plisetskaya. The choral Commemoration Mass which opens the concert is dedicated to her memory. In the conclusion there will be a performance of Shchedrin’s most popular work – Carmen-Suite for strings and forty-seven percussion instruments, written by him in 1967 for his wife in just twenty days. Statistics show that each and every day, somewhere in the world, this suite is either being performed or broadcast on the radio. Since 2010 the ballet Carmen to music by Bizet-Shchedrin has been in the Mariinsky Theatre’s repertoire.