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Medium of Great Music

Yesterday again, like it has been for four years, in Rahmaninov music hall of the Moscow Conservatory, played his solo concert pianist Vesselin Stanev.


Vesselin Stanev enters the stage and bows to the public. There's a smile on his face, but one can see that he doesn't belong to "us" anymore, he is in his music, which already sounds inside of him.

There's something magical in this quiet man. One of his colleagues said that a player is a medium between a composer and public. Medium, the interpreter, a master of the minute's effect. Composer left the score, but the player, who reads into it, will still bring his individuality into the music, regardless of his proficiency. And the music exists only when there's a player. To our happiness, Stanev, a passionate fan of romanticism in Art, adds not so much to the process of performance but develops his favourite composers' ideas by sharing them completely.

Stanev is a Bulgarian, studied in Moscow and Paris and now giving concerts all around the world. Critics put him in the league of the best players of the world, calling him "virtuoso of the Horowitz traditions". The last summer Stanev played together with young musicians of the Russian Chamber Philharmonics of Saint-Petersburg during "Russian-German Cultural Meetings 2003/2004" in Altenburg, Germany. And three days ago he had a great success in Saint-Petersburg, giving his solo show in the Philarmonics named after D. Shostakovich. 

He gave the same show in Moscow. The pre-last sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven (As-Dur, op. 110), sad and philosophic, one of the most difficult to perform. Eight waltzes and two polonaises by Frederick Chopin – shining blaze of tempo, poetry of sounds. Two Hungarian Rhapsodies of Ferentz Liszt, which require fine performance techniques. And a full of fresh breeze, unexpected contrasts, fantasy sonata by Alexander Scriabin,       

In their life, Chopin and Liszt were not only close friends but shared an aesthetical concept and both worshipped the genius of Beethoven ("For us, musicians, Beethoven's creations are like the fire column which guided the Jews through the desert", said Liszt). Scriabin, being a virtuoso player himself, hailed Chopin. Today the performance talent of Stanev has its place in this spiritual continuity. The style of his inner life and the style of his playing became one, and it become more visible with time.

Stanev is 39, we listen him the fourth time and so can compare. And although The Pianist can be seen in careful reading of scores (he doesn't allow too much freedom to himself), one can't run from oneself: seriousness, self-closure, attention to details, virtuosity – lightness, force, beauty – all this signifies a bright personality, feeling everything and uncompromising. "Flight of the soul", "Musical pearls", "Wizard of keyboard" – this is how the world's press called Stanev for his virtuosity, and the concert proves this is deserved.

What's his enchantment in? It is unlikely that publics in the music halls understands such things as agogika, rubato and so on. And certainly none of us heard Chopin playing his own waltzes or how Liszt was interpreted by his contemporaries. Epochs change one another, successors see and feel past differently, reflecting that in words, artistic symbols and musical scores. Vesselin Stanev is in his quest for Truth. It is like he was refining and lighting a musical text with his love to the composer, with devotion to his ideals, with a passionate desire to share the found, what is being found right at our eyes, today, now…


But here the sounds of the last chords fades away, and the predicted miracle has happened: "public is charmed and thankful", as used to write the press of the beginning of the last century…

Ivan VELESOV

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