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Rachmaninov and Mahler with LPO

Robert Trevino, credits: Irene Haput

LPO/Trevino, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2 (Tarasevich-Nikolaev) and Mahler's Symphony No 5, April 25, 2018, Royal Festival Hall

A 25-year old Russian pianist ArsenyTarasevich-Nikolaev has recently debuted with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Southbank Centre with Rachmaninoff’s immortal Second Piano Concerto.

It has been played by many outstanding pianists and everyone brought different tones and accents into this work. However, it is essential to understand the dramatical prehistory of such an inspiring composition. In 1897 the premiere of Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony had been a disaster and caused serious creative blocks for the composer. “My hopes and confidence were destroyed”, he wrote. For almost three years he had been in depression, not touching the piano keys. One could give up with composing after such an emotional hell… A friends of the composer introduced him to Dr.Nikolai Dahl who suggested that he took a course of “self-persuasion”, a form of hypnotherapy. The course allowed him to release the best of his potential creative energy and craftsmanship. The composition is dedicated to Dr.Dahl.

This composition is nothing but a triumph of the strength of the spirit over depression, disappointment and lack of faith in oneself. The closest to this outlook in his interpretation of Second Piano Concerto was Richter. His approach was truly deep, accents are arranged in such a way that you almost physically enter the space of absolute divine beauty. To play like this you have to go through certain life experience: from emotional hell close to complete destruction to freedom and revival.

Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, credits: Argo Artist Management

Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev’s approach is very gentle, nice, melodic with stunning technique. He looks like an angel himself with beautiful pure eyes with mild sadness. When he was invited to play an encore he has chosen to play a romantic light piece of music which resonated well with his personality.

Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor continued to sound in the spirit of richly emotional music in the second part of the evening. It was also conducted by Robert Trevino, one of the most exciting American conductors performing today. He made his debut with LPO just in 2017, and has a burgeoning reputation in intrepreting Mahler. It felt like he enjoyed himself conducting, was immersed in the music, and built a good connection the orchestra he worked with that evening and was emotionally supportive for young Russian pianist ArsenyTarasevich-Nikolaev in his debut with LPO.

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