Thursday, 29 January 2009

10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition DVD (1997)


Director: Catherine Tatge
Presenter: None really, although James Conlon picks it up midway through.
Conductor: James Conlon

What happened: An American wins the Van Cliburn for the first time since 1981. There have been no American finalists ever since.

Who won: Jon Nakamatsu (USA)
Also ran: Yakov Kasman (Russia), Aviram Reichert (Israel), Jan Jiracek (Germany), Filippo Gamba (Italy), Katia Skanavi (Russia), Naida Cole (Canada), Alex Slobodyanik (Russia), Stanislav Ioudenitch (Uzbekistan).

Narrative techniques:
Includes footage of pre-competition screening auditions worldwide.
Semi-finalists introduce themselves, lots of solo segments and interviews included.
Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3: 3rd movement
William Bolcom’s Nine Bagatelles
Schumann Piano Quintet: 1st movement

Best quotes:
“Music is not a science. Art is not a science. It’s taste, it’s emotion, it’s what touches you. You can’t really define is this better than that,” James Conlon

“And then I say to the student. Tell me, what happens God forbid if you win the competition? Can you do what you need to do?” Menahem Pressler

“To become a great artist, you either have to be a poet inside of you, the philosopher inside of you, or absolutely beautify it in such a way that it will catch the imagination of the listener.” Menahem Pressler

“I also have another job. And so during the day, I am Herr Nakamatsu, high school German teacher. And by night, I am Jon Nakamatsu concert pianist.” Jon Nakamatsu

“In a way, a competition is a game and its part of a game that maybe you don’t get further on. You never know, as I just like to be as good as I can.” Jan Jiracek

Worst quotes:
“You have a first aid point here? In case I faint?” Participant Lev Vinocur feels the pressure.

“Not always we have a great day. I don’t think that everything out there was terrible, but some of it was,” said Alex Slobodyanik. He was cut at the preliminary round while his then-wife Katia Skanavi progressed.

John Giordano said: Nothing much beyond some voting legalese.

Best moments:

Conductor James Conlon (left) steals the show in the concerto rehearsal segments. Trying to be the ultimate collaborator, he genuinely bonds with the finalists, even speaking French when he needs to. The “performance gone awry” with Aviram Reichert in Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3 is truly hilarious.

The diversity of lesser-played concertos - Mozart No.13 (K.415), Liszt No.1 and Shostakovich No.1 – provides variety, away from the usual Rach, Tchaik and Prok.

Cringeworthy moments:

The cameraman lingers long enough for the viewer to perve at Naida Cole(left), as she jiggles her comely booty on stage.

Stanislav Ioudenitch declares he didn’t need the pressure of winning the first prize. This is immediately followed by the announcement he had withdrawn from the competition after a scalding accident.

Van Cliburn appears for: 2 minutes 3 seconds
Extras: None
Aftermath: Jon Nakamatsu and Yakov Kasman make plenty of recordings for Harmonia Mundi and Calliope respectively. Naida Cole joins medical school. Stanislav Ioudenitch returns in 2001. So does Olga Pushechnikova (left). See what a name change and lots of blonde hair dye does for you?

1 comment:

A Két Sheng Szerelmese said...

Hello, thank you for the nice review! I would like to know more about the performance of Naida Cole on this DVD. What does she play on it? Is a whole piece included, or just some excerpts of some of her playing? I am a huge fan of her and I am really sorry that she did not record more and that she abandoned her carriere as concert pianist. Thank you in advance!