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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

Alexander Pushkin

A piano footnote

A fairy tale, bringing back memories of my Russian childhood, my father reading me Pushkin poems, my mother taking me to see the Nutcracker. In best narrative tradition, a resplendent march is repeated three times, each manifestation promising a kingdom of fantasy and whimsical images, a dreamland through whose gates enter only those bundlers brave enough to win noble deeds. 'A magic place: there wends his way the woodsprite, there's a mermaid sitting in branches, there on trails past knowing are tracks of beasts you never met'. Third time around, the march, imperial and burnished, glories into a happy ending. A golden cage opens, releasing a flight of magnificent firebirds whistling deliriously in celebration of life.

- Nelly Akopian on the second movement of the Schumann Fantasy Op 17, Prague Rudolfinum, October 25th 1997. Her quotation comes from Pushkin's Ruslan and Ludmila, dating from the period of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata and the Hummel B minor concerto (1817-19).


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