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Henry M. Robert

Odesa turns into a south-Ukrainian cultural center

The first International Black Sea Music Fest will be held from June 13 to 18
17 June, 2014 - 11:29
Photo from the website MOSPAT.RU

It is dedicated to the artistic work of Sergey Rachmaninoff, whose 140th birth anniversary the cultural circles celebrated last year. On June 13 and June 15 the National Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Hobart Earle, and on the closing day, June 18, by famous Russian pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev.

“The idea to hold the Black Sea Music Fest, dedicated to Sergey Rachmaninoff’s creative work, emerged last summer,” said the chief conductor and artistic director of the National Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra Hobart EARLE. “As an invited conductor, in spring I took part in Rachmaninoff Festival in Ivanovka in Rachmaninoff’s House-Museum (Russia). There I met the museum’s director Aleksandr Yefremov, who gave us unique large-format photos with Rachmaninoff. These photos will be on display in the lobby of the Odesa Philharmonic Society. In our opinion, music is uniting, and we hope that the festival will become an annual event.”

“The festival is unique, because two world-scale musicians, Hobart Earle and Mikhail Pletnev have united the European music space in Ukraine and, in particular, in Odesa via the music of great Rachmaninoff,” People’s Deputy and benefactor Serhii HRYNEVETSKY considers, “I am sure that holding of such a music forum is one more brick in the fundament of culture and art.”

During the festival Odesa residents and guests of the city will have an opportunity to hear the most popular music of the classical composer. So, on the first day the vocal works, Vocalise and opera Aleko will be performed by the young Odesa soloists Alla Havrylina, Viktor Melnyk, Andrii Kharlamov, Ihor Tsarkov and the choir of Odesa-based National Music University named after Antonina Nezhdanova (choirmasters: Halyna Shpak and Valerii Rehrut). Incidentally, the composer dedicated Vocalise to well-known Odesa singer and teacher Antonina Nezhdanova, whose name the music academy bears with honor.

On June 15 the National Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Symphonic Dances (1940) – the last of composer’s works – and Concerto no. 2, in which the piano part will be performed by one of the winners of the Fifth International Competition of Pianists in commemoration of Emil Gilels in Odesa in 2012, Rustam Muradov (Russia). We will use the opportunity to say that Sergey Rachmaninoff performed his Concerto no. 2 during his tour in Kyiv in 1911. The festival will finish on June 18 with performance of Symphony no. 2 and Concerto no. 3 with solo participation of Konstantin Lapshin (Russia), known also for his longtime cooperation with Mikhail Pletnev. Like the latter, he is touring for the most part abroad. Not so long ago Konstantin Lapshin became the winner of the International Robert Schumann Contest for Pianists in Italy. It is symbolical that the Concerto no. 3 was performed by the author in Odesa in spring 1911. This fact is scarcely known even for Odesa music experts. That was the second performance of this work on the territory of the then Russian Empire and the first one in Ukraine.

Now, in summer period, after the May disturbances, Odesa is entering its usual peaceful course of life.

By Volodymyr KUDLACH, Odesa
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