Written by Irina Egorova, March 2001
Computer translation from the original Russian
Edited by Valour and Ivan B.
Thus was called the evening of piano music, which happened on the 25th of March in the Hall of Scientists. The people of Sarov were visited for the fifth time by the remarkable pianist and laureate of international competitions, Nikolai Lugansky.
Of course there are experts on music who can
dissect any performance for you; perceiving and grasping the subtlest nuances of
a melody, and describing what is there. But for people without special musical
training there is only one criterion: that the performance leaves an indelible
impression on the heart. “Divine music” was the phrase on the lips of almost
every audience member after Nikolai Lugansky's concert. The energy reverberating
throughout the hall is something that must be experienced once in the year,
especially at the end of the Shrove-tide week (Forgiveness Sunday, to be
precise). Hearing the music of the 28-year-old maestro, you forgive everyone and
everything; his music is cleansing, inspirational, sincere... .
"How is it possible for human fingers to do such things ?" gasped the fans of the young pianist, after the concert. "He plays so sincerely, as if there are no barriers between inner and outer worlds." others said. Actually, this degree of communion was achieved with great difficulty: accidental trauma to a finger on the pianist’s right hand meant that he suffered unspeakable pain with each impact. It was in this state of torment that he gave the concert.
It is all about him
In truth, many of us are wanting for sixty rubles to listen to classical music. But look at this - a packed hall!
Nikolai selected a program especially for the Sarov public, "One that I have never yet played here." (similar to the program planned for the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in March). The pianist kept the well-loved music of Chopin and Rachmaninoff on the program. In addition to that, the people of Sarov were introduced for the first time to his divine interpretation of the music of Medtner; in the third part of the recital, he played three works from the cycle "Forgotten Melodies".
Over the past year Nikolai visited Germany, Switzerland and America. During November he was in Germany. In the States he gave various solo recitals: Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Tschaikovsky. In December he performed for the first time the fourth concerto of Beethoven; first in Krasnoyarsk, then in Paris.
In Berlin he recorded a new disc of Rachmaninoff's Preludes and Moments Musicaux for the label Erato, with which he has an exclusive contract. In total, Nikolai now has three LP's and 10 compact discs. In April, yet another new disc will be recorded.
He considers it his great luck that he was born in Moscow since, in his opinion, Moscow Central Music School was the best that could be found, either here or abroad. Some countries tend to start teaching children music from the age of 12 or 13 ; this is late.
The teachers of the pianist were Tatiana Kestner, professor Tatiana Nikolayeva and professor Sergei Dorensky. Nikolai remembers his sacred obligation and works not only on himself; he teaches in the Moscow Conservatory. Indeed, his students are no longer kids, but young people, 18 years of age. Nikolai believes that for the appreciation of music the crucial and best age is from 10 to 15.
"Your city is special. There are several cherished places that I love, and Sarov is one of those cities where I am simply happy to be. It is because of the friends, because of the public... and the very great interest in music among the townspeople."
Only our piano to him seems too simple in sound. Nikolai delicately advises that a Steinway be acquired if the opportunity presents itself, so that the riches of the music might not be lost!
"Music is my life, but my life is not only music", Nikolai says. Life is rich, when there are also family, friends and chess. Nikolai’s two children, a five-year old daughter and a three year-old son, have not yet shown whether they have any special leanings towards music. But Nikolai says that he is not too upset by this, since he would not wish for his children the complicated life of a musician of international fame. But there is no sense in being average! What a tragedy, when a man loves music more than it loves him. Like any unrequited love, it brings much suffering! His parents, scientists (mom is a chemist, dad, a physicist), introduced him to music after discovering talent in the five-year-old child. For this, in spite of all the difficulties of this life, he is very grateful to them now.
"Inspiration with precise, determined control"
Thus the Moscow press described Nikolai. It is a rare combination, yet one cannot help but believe it, after seeing the force that is hidden within this calm, restrained young man! At the Tenth Tschaikovsky Competition, Nikolai Lugansky and his teacher Tatiana Nikolayeva were awarded a special prize - "For profound personal expression and artistic contribution to the innovative interpretation of Russian music – to the student and to the teacher". One wonders, as he pours this living, vibrant music out into the hall, is the performer making a confession for himself, or a confession for his heroes? In one of his interviews for the central media, Nikolai said that he plays music "for the composer". But last year in Sarov Nikolai admitted that in early childhood he tried his hand at writing music, until he understood that everything ingenious had already been written and all that remains is to interpret and to convey to the listener what is concealed in the score . It is a pity that his great teachers will never hear the melodies under the sensitive hands of this young master.
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