So what could have been a happier eighty-first birthday present today, than attending a private recital by Yevgeny tonight in Lenox? This was serendipity at its finest!
In a recent blog I wrote about a conversation I had had with a good friend who is a fine musician and extraordinary voice teacher. We spoke about where you go, as a performer, when you are out there on that stage by yourself. When asked, she said that she sings to eternity. Rene Pape said that he enters into whatever character he is portraying, leaving himself behind.
I know without asking that Yevgeny goes to a very special place when he performs, a place no one else will ever find, but a place where he and the music become one. It is obvious watching him play that he has left the rest of us poor mortals behind and gone among the gods- eternity.
I am always reminded of hearing a mezzo-soprano singing the first aria from Honegger's King David at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. years ago. I was there to play an organ concert the next day in the Cathedral, and decided to hear the oratorio. Some radical set off a bomb in one of the high balconies while she was singing 'God shall be my shepherd kind, He protects me from the wind.' After about ten bars, the bomb exploded in that incredibly reverberant space, booming on and on. She never blinked an eye, but calmly finished singing the very quiet aria as if nothing had happened. She, too, had gone to that special place we all, as performing artists, must find.
Yevgeny finds it in every concert and stays there through the entire program. This is but one of the qualities that makes him the exceptional artist he has become.
In tonight's program at Kimble Farms, a retirement community in Lenox, MA where Yevgeny has performed every year since he was nine years old, he blew everyone away with his performance. He has at his finger tips a multitude of sounds, silky, steel-like, sensuous, aggressive: the works!
Timothy Bozarth, his long-time performance partner, produced the same kind of excitement at the piano.
The program opened with a Brahms Scherzo that set the excitement level for the whole evening. This was followed by the lovely Schumann Sonata in A minor, and the Tchaikovsky Solo and Russian Dance from Swan Lake. After the Intermission they performed Beau Soir, an arrangement of the song by Claude Debussy, the Ravel Sonate in G, and the Wieniawski Polonaise No. 1.
Yevgeny produces sparks which fly from the fingerboard with his amazing technique. It was a wonderful concert.
I drove home under the fullest full moon ever. Tonight was the night the moon was at Perigee, when it is closest to the earth once in a zillion years. With that, and the magnificent concert, I felt that both Heaven and Earth were celebrating my eighty-first birthday!
Yevgeny and the Elektra Ensemble will be performing a benefit concert for the Ferris-Burtis Music Foundation on Sunday, May 22, at 4:00 p.m. at the Sandisfield Arts Center. For more information see: