Several years ago, Fedoseyev told me in an interview: «I do enjoy new avant garde. It has a particular perception of the world which passes into my interpretation experience. It is really interesting to discover this music. I’ve played Gubaidulina and Denisov, but never Schnittke, so far».

”So far ” ended on November 3. The concert in the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatory commemorated the centenary of the birth of violin genius David Oistrakh, and its program was plain and elegant. First, Violin Concerto No1 by Dmitry Shostakovich – which was played by Oistrakh on its premiere. This time, the soloist joining the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra under Maestro Fedoseyev was a leading British violinist, Daniel Hope.

The second part became a surprise. Together with Daniel Hope and one of the leading Russian cellists, Alexander Kniazev, the ensemble presented a piece which Oistrakh himself never played: Concerto Grosso No2 for violin and cello with orchestra.

The new version of the Second Concerto Grosso as interpreted by Fedoseyev, Hope and Kniazev will have to stand comparison with the classical recording of 1986 with the USSR Ministry of Culture State Symphony Orchestra under Rozhdestvensky, Kagan and Gutman. Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso dramatically contrasts the pre-classical, Baroque form of Concerto Grosso (variations on themes imitating Vivaldi, Corelli, Bach and Handel) with the modernist sound clash, from jazzy tunes rudely wrenching Handelian harmonies to rock ’n’ roll and raging marches.

Rozhdestvensky, Gutman and Kagan made the very conflict (and what is concerto by itself if not a contest?) of various musical epochs sound like a refined analytical experiment, similar to structuralists’ laboratory linguistic trials or Picasso’s disintegration of old canvases into pre-elements. The music seemed very academic, or conceptual as they would say today.

Fedoseyev and his soloists, on the contrary, have arrived at a completely different sound. No distant analysis. Absolute trust to the beauty and tenderness of lyrical Baroque themes (led naturally for the most part by violin and cello). A sound-based performance of wanderings and adventures (at times, dangerous and frightening) in search for harmony and deliverance. And the emotions themselves are ingenuous, credulous and candid, as in an old theatre. All malicious, aggressive intrusions by shabby dirty tunes, which were perceived and delivered by Rozhdestvensky as deconstruction of the classic, are here impressively associated with the sudden effects of Baroque machinery. Where Rozhdestvensky reflected on the multifaceted world existing in various musical dimensions, Fedoseyev conjures the mysterious powerful images of magic theatre, for instance, the thunderstorm device based on a simple but striking sound imitation. The exceptional mastery of the soloists with overtly romantic interpretation, coupled with the magnificent rich and grand flow of the orchestra complete the likeness of Fedoseyev’s Schnittke to a picturesque fanciful show. The kind of show perhaps akin to Terry Gilliam’s Munchausen displaying wonders of Baroque theatre and machinery to their full surreal utmost. This proves again that the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra is at the same time a brilliant actor and painter. A thing to appreciate.

Sergey Khachaturov

"Vremya novostey" N°206


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