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Alex Kobrin plays
Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin,
heard by BILL NEWMAN


On 11 March 2008 at London's Wigmore Hall I had the great pleasure of listening to the concert pianist who appeared at last year's BBC Proms performing Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto under Mark Elder's direction. Fortunately, I have also heard the recording that won Alex Kobrin the Gold Medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Competition on harmonia mundi HMU 907404 -- the starting point of what has already become a concert and recital coverage that includes appearances in America, Britain, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong. He is certainly no stranger to the music scene from even younger years when he studied under Professor Tatiana Zelikman at the famous Gnessin Special School -- geared to the most promising students -- and later with Lev Naumov. He first played the piano at five and at nineteen won the Busoni International Piano Competition in Memory of the great Michelangeli. His dossier is already the size of a world-size timetable.

Kobrin's main attribute is his natural approach to the Steinway Grand, which he treats with modest respect akin to a graciousness and singing tone that stem from the chosen composers allied to their score markings. This particularly applied to Haydn's Sonata No 33 in C minor, Hob 16 No 20 -- roughly a mid-period composition from 1771, before the composer's later virtuoso tendencies had taken over. The Beethoven Sonata that followed -- No 4 in E flat Op 7 from 26 years on -- probably had Papa Haydn's keen endorsement, especially as it contains some of his most daring feats. It was notable for the interpreter's close adherance to clarity of style and articulation and made a fine impression on everyone.

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Copyright © 17 June 2008 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


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