I like piano concerts. Last Thursday I went to Taipei to a concert of Konstantin Scherbakov – a Russian pianist who now lives in Switzerland. I got on the bus at the stop right next to my office. It is very convenient that buses to Taipei run directly from our institute. So we left around 5:10 PM and since there were no traffic jams at 6PM we were already in Taipei. I did not quite know at which stop to get off as the bus was following an unconventional route (dropping off people here and there upon their request). Finally, I asked my neighbour in the bus and she told me where to get off. Then I took MRT and at around 7PM arrived to National Concert Hall. It was my first visit to this hall. I should say it is not as big as I expected. In Russia as well as in the US (at least in New York) there are much bigger halls. But the size of the hall does not impact the quality of the concert. The latter was above any expectation.
I have attended concerts of many good piano players, including the winner of Tchaikovsky competition Vladimir Krainev. But when I heard Konstantin Scherbakov playing I realized that this is what I never heard before. He is a real virtuoso – very gifted person with an exceptional sense of rhythm and extremely precise in the way he moves his fingers – very fast and accurate. In addition, I can see that he learned everything he could from his teachers at Moscow Conservatory. His every touch of piano happens at the very moment it should happen, and in the way it should happen. But can I say that his style of playing is a bit too automatic and robotic? Certainly no. I think Scherbakov is a very emotional person but he knows how to hide his emotions. But at certain times he opens up his personality and becomes very expressive waving his hands up and down. This adds dramatism to his performance.
The concert consisted of two parts. The second part was especially impressive. Scherbakov was playing Beethoven symphony translated to piano by Listz. This piece of music is extremely complicated and requires virtoso capabilities as well as extreme attention to details. Scherbakov demonstrated all of this and he certainly deserved the standing ovation the audience gave him.
In the concert hall it was possible to buy a few CDs of Scherbakov. Each CD costs 220NTD. There was also an option to buy the entire collection for a wholesale price. I went for this option and acquired a whole bag of CDs. I am so happy now. In my room I can enjoy the music of Rachmaninov, Bach, Arensky, and many other great composers many of which I did not know before (such as Resphigi or Godowsky).
This concert is a part of series of Russian pianists visiting Taiwan. The second concert is that of Scherbakov’s pupil, Yulianna Avdeeva. I am looking forward to attending the next concert!