is one of Russias premier pianists having played with some of the world's
most renowned orchestras including the Moscow Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg
Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic.
off a solo performance as part of the San Francisco Chamber Music Series last
Saturday, Ovchinnikov made his one and only stop on Canadian soil a triumphant
one with a spellbinding interpretation of Rachmaninoff's Six Etudes-Tableaux Op.
33 followed by Rachmaninoff's Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 36.
the six studies that make up the Etudes-Tableaux the most musical to my ear was
the third study, E-flat Minor Non Allegro - Presto, while the fourth study, E-flat
Major Allegro Con Fuoco, took the audience on a flight of fancy as Ovchinnikovs
nibble fingers travelled up and down the keyboard.
fifth study, G Minor Moderato, was much softer but finished with a strength and
confidence that reminded you that you were in the presence of real virtuoso.
sixth and final study, C-sharp Minor Grave, provided a fitting finale to the piece
as Ovchinnikovs pedal work helped create a lavish sound that filled the
powerful a performance as the Etudes-Tableaux was, Ovchinnikov was merely setting
the table for his rendition of Rachmaninoffs Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 36
which is performed in three movements: Allegro Agitato, Non Allegro Lento and
Allegro Molto. Of the three, the Non Allegro Lento was by far my favourite piece
of the evening.
a brief intermission Ovchinnikov concluded the concert by playing the complete
version of Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition.
the concert had ended my first thought was how breathtaking it must be to hear
him play with a full orchestra backing him. Unfortunately the closest one can
get to that experience would be to purchase one of his CDs. Even so, to have been
able to hear one of the worlds great pianists in person here in Orléans
was a real treat made possible by the group of volunteers that make up Concerts
Cumberland and their primary sponsor Dust Evans Lawyers/ Avocats.
Ovchinnikov concert marks the end of yet another wonderful series that included
performances by Canadian cellist Kaori Yamagami, the Arthur Leblanc Quartet and
the Gryphon Trio.
chamber music enthusiasts will have to wait another six months before the start
of next year's series and four more superb concerts featuring some of the very
best classical musicians in the world.