"Music is enough for a lifetime -- but a lifetime is not enough for music," said famous Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov. His words can be applied to a renowned Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky, who devotes all his life to classical piano music. Being a gifted musician with a unique insight and great sensitivity, Berezovsky demonstrates his outstanding piano playing technique and sincere approach to his instrument every time he comes on stage.
This time, this great pianist is happy to return to Chicago. Two decades have passed since his last performance in this city. Berezovsky's greatly anticipated recital will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Orchestra Hall as part of the "Symphony Center Presents Piano" Series.
"Finally!" said Berezovksy in his interview to CSO "Sounds & Stories." "I was able to make it."
His American debut took place at Fort Worth, Texas, in 1991; the same year Berezovsky performed in France at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris. A few years before that, in 1988, he made a remarkable debut in London at Wigmore Hall and in 1990 won the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Since then, his top-level international career has been flourishing. Being a world renowned pianist, Berezovsky performs at the most prestigious international recital series in London, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Munich, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Montréal, Vienna, Bern, Budapest, Prague, and Tokyo. His recitals take place at such famous music halls as the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Paris Philharmonie, Royal Festival Hall in London, Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels, Konzerthaus in Vienna, and Megaron in Athens. Berezovsky is frequently invited to prestigious music festivals. He also performs with world-famous orchestras and conductors and plays chamber music. In 2006, BBC Music Magazine Awards gave Berezovsky "Best Instrumentalist of the Year" award.
For his recital in Chicago Berezovsky has prepared an all-Russian repertoire. It includes the music of Mily Balakirev, Anatoli Liadov, Alexander Scriabin, and Sergei Rachmaninov. The names of all of these composers are well known in Russia, but not all of them are frequently performed and studied in other countries. "Balakirev's music is very neglected, and it's very beautiful and difficult," said Berezovksy in his interview to CSO Sounds & Stories. "It's rarely played. He was influenced by Chopin."
The program opens with a selection of works by Mily Balakirev including Mazurka No. 5 in B-flat Major and Mazurka No. 4 in G-flat Major, two romantic pieces full of Slavic atmosphere and color. After that, Berezovsky will introduce Balakirev's thoughtful Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat Minor, touching and deep Nocturne No. 1 in B-flat Minor, elegant Scherzo No. 3 in F-sharp Major, and technically difficult Islamey, Oriental Fantasy, which features dazzling settings of folk music of the Caucasus region.
It will be followed by a selection of works by Anatoli Liadov, teacher to Prokofiev and Glazunov, as well as a master of programmatic Russian works. Berezovsky will present Liadov's powerful Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 44, sincere Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 57, No. 3, technically challenging Prelude in B Minor, Op. 11, No. 1, peaceful Prelude in G Major, Op. 46, No. 3, energetic Prelude in B-flat Major, Op. 13, No. 2, and lyrical Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 10, No. 1.
The program continues with a selection of Rachmaninov's Preludes from Opus 32, a collection of brief pieces in all major and minor keys. A selection of Scriabin's virtuosic etudes, three from Op. 42 and also three from Op. 65, will be complemented by his colorful Sonata No. 5, Op. 53, a brief work that is the first of the composer's many one-movement sonatas. The program will conclude with Rachmaninov's rhapsodic Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 36, long-admired for its well-matched lyricism and tensile energy.
This bright and distinctive recital program will be also presented on March 22 in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Berezovsky, a talented Russian pianist who is returning to America with a program that is "500 percent Russian," as he noted in his interview to CSO "Sounds & Stories," is hoping that these two recitals will give a new start to his performances in the United States. Probably, they will, as the beautiful world of music doesn't know borders and time limits. It is built on passion, love, talent, hard work and devotion, and Boris Berezovsky has it all.
For information, please go to cso.org or call (312) 294-3000. Enjoy Russian music performed with the best Russian piano traditions!