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<<  -- 4 --  Gordon Rumson    VLADISLAV KOVALSKY

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There are many super virtuosos today, who, while able to play with amazing speed and unerring accuracy, could use a good dose of this understanding of sound. They play little black dots of notes which must be crowded closer and closer together for any meaning to occur. If they listened to the sound more completely, their achievements would be even greater. And it should be noted that Vladislav Kovalsky is a pianistic technician of a very high order. This is to be expected given his background, but it is not the end in itself.

There can be no doubt that one crucial element of the St Petersburg tradition is that music is important. As Wilfrid Mellers said: 'Music matters.' Music matters to Vladislav Kovalsky. Not music as competition, or even music as merely a profession, or worse as a narcotic, but music as a necessary part of the human being, part of a balanced whole. He says:

'I understand the word "competing", but it does not make sense in Music. People bring these words from lower parts of life. In music we have to use the word "contribution". That is actually what we do: make a contribution. We try to carry on the knowledge that was contributed by the generations before us. There is only one way to keep it alive: to continue to contribute as much as each of us can. We are all equal before the face of the Music, it's equally grateful for any contribution from a Beethoven, or a Horowitz -- or from us.

'Music is very generous. It reacts right away to even our smallest effort to understand it, to search for new meaning, to defend its principles. Then Music can give so much joy. It gives you reasons for life, to enjoy your place in the world, to honour Music. That is our "contribution". We always have to measure our efforts by higher standards.'

Listen -- example 4 -- F Chopin: Polonaise Op 53 'Heroic'

(Recorded June 2002. Engineered by Gordon Rumson. Used with permission. Recorded upon a 1902 Gerhard Heintzman Grand Piano. Restored by and courtesy of Artur Gieck, Calgary Piano House.)

Copyright © 25 March 2004 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Canada

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Vladislav Kovalsky plays Brahms' Piano Concerto No 2 with the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roy Gussman, on Sunday 28 March 2004, 3pm at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey, just outside of New York City, USA. Also on the programme, Brahms' Symphony No 2.

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