Our observer Marina Evreison Arshinova has been watching the third round of the piano competition with mounting excitement. In her expert view, there are now only two likely winners left in the pack. Here’s her midnight report at the end of the third round, ahead of the judges’ decision tonight.
In the smell of fire
The third round of Tchaikovsky Competiton flourished a constellation of talents. The Big Hall of Moscow Conservatory was sold out for all the three days of the final and there was hardly room to breathe.
Sergey Redkin played first. There’s not too much to add about him. His second piano concerto by Prokofiev was definitely better than Tchaikovsky’s First. He seemed to be not charismatic enough for the music he played.
The performance of the second contestant, George Li, was sensational. He played Tchaikovsky First and Prokofiev Third with astonishing intensity, clarity and rhythm. His emotions were on the edge and virtuosity was beyond the edge of the conventional highest level of world class competitions performances. The audience reception was truly ecstatic, especially after Tchaikovsky. George seemed to be three heads higher than the others.
The next day brought the main intrigue of the Competition, namely, Lucas vs Lukas. The favourite of the previous rounds, French pianist Lucas Debargue played the second concerto of Liszt and the first of Tchaikovsky. Unfortunately, it became clear very soon that it’s only the second time in Debargue’s life he played with orchestra.
The first time was a few days ago, at the second round, when he created a small miracle, delivering Mozart’s 24th concerto with inimitable grace and elegance. The audience awaited another miracle, but it was not to be. Debargue lost his grip on first prize, but will remain in the hearts of those who heard him this summer in Moscow, for ever.
Lukas Geniusas had chosen for the final the 2nd Tchaikovsky concerto and mighty Rachmaninov 3rd. Unfortunately, for all his merits, he was unable to handle the tension of the occasion and had some slips that are incompatible to competition standard. Tears were in his eyes when he bade farewell to the audience.
In accordance with Bulgakov traditions, typically for Moscow, the night before the Piano Competition climax a fire broke out in the Moscow Conservatory.. There was quite strong smell of fire in the hall when Daniil Kharitonov entered into the stage to play two Firsts Concertos – by Tchaikovsky and Liszt.
Daniil Kharitonov is 16 years old, still a schoolboy. He demonstrated some qualities as a pianist and played almost withut flaws throughout all the rounds . He is a young, vigorous, accomplished talent who is in the running for the highest prize.
Dmitry Masleev was the last participant to play. One can say only good things about him. The First Tchaikovsky was fine, but in Third’s Prokofiev he was bested by George Li.
On the final night, Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev turned out to watch the Russian candidates.
So,the die is cast. The Lucas vs Lukas contest has changed into Li vs Kharitonov. We’re anxiously waiting for results of this fantastic Piano Competition. Less than 24 hours to go.