Thursday, 22 January 2009


Director: Bill Fertik
Presenter: F. Murray Abraham (who looks much better as Salieri in Amadeus)
Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski

What happened: The most international of all editions of the competition, with more countries represented than thought possible. Jorge Bolet was a jury member.

Who won: JOSE FEGHALI (Brazil, left)
Who really won: BARRY DOUGLAS (Ireland. 3rd prize)

Also ran: Philippe Biaconi (France), Emma Tahmizian (Bulgaria), Karoly Mocsari (Hungary), Hans Christian Wille (Germany), Chia Chou (Canada), Hung Kuan Chen (USA), Rian de Waal (Holland)

Narrative techniques:
1. A chronological presentation of the competition beginning with Andrew Raeburn’s phonecall of invitation coinciding with pianists arriving at DFW Airport.
2. Relies heavily on musical montages.

1. Chopin Etude in C major Op.10 No.1 (featuring 5 pianists)
2. Brahms Piano Quintet: 3rd movement (7 pianists)
3. Schumann Piano Quintet: 3rd movement (3 pianists)
4. Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3: 3rd movement Wille & Tahmizian
5. Brahms Piano Concerto No.1: 3rd movement Douglas & Bianconi

Best quotes:
1. “I compete because I have to. I see it as a necessary evil,” said David Buechner, a serial competitor.

2. “Don’t do it if you can do something else. You’ll have to really need to do it or you’ll die,” said Barry Douglas (left) about music being life and death.

Worst quote:
“Now I have to buy the score of the Brahms quintet tomorrow,” Hans Christian Wille after finding out he’s been picked for the semi-finals.

John Giordano (left) says:
“You’re looking for someone who has the intangible ability to reach across to an audience and to grab you by the heartstrings or whatever, and make you cry and laugh, and feel with that person.”

Best moment:
Barry Douglas playing the end of Liszt’s Dante Sonata, a model of sheer concentration, artistic integrity and professionalism.

Cringeworthy moments:

Music makes one miserable. Don’t you believe it?
1. Ingrid Jacoby draws the dreaded No.1 lot to perform, and so throws her slip away.
2. An unnamed lady pianist weeping profusely after her performance, under the watchful gaze of Franz Liszt’s portrait.
3. Karoly Mocsari looking extremely displeased with himself and his performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3, and needs to be coaxed back on stage to receive his applause. In reality, the final pages were a serious mess.

Van Cliburn (left) appears for: 21 seconds, excluding the prize giving ceremony.

Extras: None

Aftermath: Barry Douglas gets his really big break, but that’s after winning 1st prize at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition. Philippe Bianconi gets to record Winterreise with Hermann Prey. Whatever happened to the rest?

No comments: