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The Verbier Festival Tenth Anniversary Piano Extravaganza -
reviewed by TESS CREBBIN

'... many still kick themselves for not having been there ...'

The Verbier Festival and Academy 10th Anniversary Piano Extravaganza. © 2004 BEL AIR Media and BMG Ariola Classics GmbH

In the movie Blade Runner the lead character falls in love with a beautiful female replicant, a human-like machine with an unknown but pre-set expiry date. The movie ends with lead actor Harrison Ford saying: 'We did not know how much time we still had left with each other, but who ever does?' Star cellist Boris Pergamenschikow certainly didn't when he travelled to the Swiss Verbier Festival in 2003 for its tenth anniversary, to participate on 22 July as part of the anniversary orchestra in the making of this DVD. Less than one year later, he would be dead and the next Verbier Festival was to take place without him. Born on 14 August 1948 in St Petersburg, Pergemenschikow had a world-class career as a cellist before he died of cancer on 30 April 2004 in Berlin. The resonance of his loss still rings through the music world for he was a fine human being as well as being one of the finest cellists of our time. It is already contained in his name: he was a mensch, meaning a humane human, characterized by kindness, thoughtfulness and sensitivity. The pianist Lars Vogt, who worked with him, wrote: 'We are thankful for what we were allowed to experience in the brief time that we had with him: closeness with a truly exceptional and wonderful human being who had the ability to light a spark in everyone he met. That remains with us in memory, as does the memory of the sound of his cello: unique, like a thorn in our hearts, beautiful and at the same time painful but filling us with the highest bliss.'

[Watch and listen to an excerpt from Peter Heidrich's Happy Birthday Variations, chapter 6. Needs an Apple Quicktime plugin.]

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Copyright © 1 September 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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