There is no finer living interpreter of Debussy and Ravel than the French pianist Pascal Rogé. He is not a man who seeks limelight or trouble, preferring to focus on the infinite impressionistic possibilities of his favourite composers.
So when Pascal speaks up – and walks out – the music world needs to listen. He resigned last night after declaring that the semi-finals had been tilted in favour of Italian candidates. Pascal wrote to us this morning: ‘What happened in Monza is a shame for the musical world in general and piano competitions in particular. I cannot face young students, working so hard and playing with all their talent and energy to finally being cheated by political and fraudulent people who are just there to serve their own interest.’
I just resigned from the jury in Monza, Concours Rina Sala Gallo, after hearing the results of the semi-final.
There were 6 candidates: 1 Japanese girl, 3 Italians, 1 Korean, and 1 Japanese boy.
The 2 best candidates from the beginning of the competition were the Korean and the Japanese boy and when I say the best it is an understatement, they were both FAR ABOVE the rest of the candidates.
Today Yejin Noh (Korea) played a magnificent Schumann Sonata and a mesmerizing 3 Mouvements of Petrushka. Not only it was technically perfect but the character, the spirit, the sound, the articulation, the interpretation was of a real and genuine musician.
Yano Yuta from Japan played the most moving reddition of Rain Tree by Takemitsu, then a somptuous Rachmaninov 2d sonata, full of passion and temperament, but always controlled with a flawless technique and a very personal inspiration.
He even made me like a piece that usually I cannot take…the Bach Busoni Chaconne transcription ! He managed to make that piece sound like a masterpiece. I was thinking to myself, it is going to be difficult to decide in the final who will be the winner, very different personalities, but both incredible talents.
Now guess what….??? Neither of them were admitted in the final…..!!
They took 2 Italians and the Japanese girl who played today the most boring, tedious and dull Schubert Bb Sonata I have ever heard in my life, not to mention some poor Debussy Preludes without any “french touch”.
and do you want to know why “they” elected to take this one ?? because they are sure that she has no chance to “interfere” with the 2 italians!! Now let’s play a game ! I am betting 2 magnums of Chianti that this is going to be the final result on Saturday:
1st Prize Fiorenzo Pascalucci
2d Prize Federica Bortoluzzi
3d Prize Atsuko Kinoshita
Is there still anyone out there who wonder how this can happen…?! Does the word “Mafia” rings a bell ?!
It’s purely mathematic: you put 3 Italian jury members plus 2 more “very strongly Italian influenced” and then you have a “majority” that can manipulate the results to their whims. And should I mention also the system of votation…very amusing…! You use your iPad to send “online” your vote after each contestant, and at the end of the “prova” you are given a “result”…with absolutely no transparency, no total of the points, not any kind of information on the way the points were added or calculated. You just have to trust “Il Signore Presidente” who “juggle” with his computer, hidden in a corner and then comes to you with a big smile “here is the result”…take it or leave it ! Eh bien Signore et Signori I LEAVE ! OK I am not Martha Argerich leaving the Chopin Competition because of Ivo Pogorelich being eliminated, and it won’t have any repercussion whatsoever, but I have my ethical behaviour to respect as a musician and as a human being, and I cannot associate my name to such a shameful ridiculisation of what should be a Piano Competition.
I know that some of my collegues in the jury agree with me, one of them whom I trust completely told me “I cannot believe this” but they have their own reason to “swallow” and pass by, such ashamed disloyalty.
I am hoping and looking forward to go soon to the Hong Kong piano competition (if the actual events do not threaten the security of the competition) because there, I am SURE that such a thing would not happen because Maestro Vadimir Ashkenazy is the chairman of the jury and he would NEVER accept such fraudulence.
The jury at Monza are:
Riccardo Risaliti | Italia | Presidente
Vovka Ashkenazy | Islanda-Russia
Jeffrey Biegel | Usa
Nora Doallo | Argentina
Roberto Prosseda | Italia
Pascal Rogé | Francia
Graham Scott | GB