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Wednesday brought us back to earth in the shape of another two promising prize-winning students from the 2007 Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Competition, sponsored by Blüthner Pianos, from as far away as Mongolia and Georgia respectively and now studying in British music colleges.

The first, Mandakhtuya Dorj (Second Prize-winner), showed signs of initial nervousness in her otherwise workmanlike account of Beethoven's 32 Variations and proved how necessary is the experience of actual concert-giving for talented students otherwise doomed to a round of auditions, masterclasses and examinations. Notwithstanding, Miss Dorj has already performed for the President of Mongolia as well as for ex-Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev.

The second, Alissa Tavdidishvili (Audience Prize), made a brave and at times successful effort to hold Beethoven's taxing Sonata Op 111 together. Her downfall lay in speeding up when the going got difficult, with many lapses of memory in the first movement betraying some lack of preparation although this could be attributed in part to the high temperature from which she was suffering at the time. Carola Grindea thanked both pianists warmly before presenting them with gift vouchers for the purchase of music published by Schott.

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Copyright © 15 August 2007 Malcolm Troup, London UK

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