RUSSIA: Provincial Russian town hosts classical music festival started by renowned musicianRecord ID: 386213
- Title: RUSSIA: Provincial Russian town hosts classical music festival started by renowned musician
- Date: 10th January 2009
- Summary: TARUSA, RUSSIA (JANUARY 5, 2009) (REUTERS) CHURCH IN CENTRAL SQUARE IN THE SNOW VARIOUS OF TOWN FROZEN OKA RIVER
- Reuters ID: LVAB40LOS8LXD5RXC5G1RVIRJC0V
- Duration: 00:00:17
- Topics: Entertainment,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Story Text: Provincial Russian town hosts the Svyatoslav Richter winter classical music festival.
A popular classical music festival has its doors in the provincial town of Tarusa one hundred kilometres west of Moscow on Sunday (January 4).
The festival bears the name of the world renowned pianist Svyatoslav Richter, an almost sacred name for the classical music admirers around the world.
In the early 1960s Richter who preferred provincial tranquility to the buzz of a big city discovered this town on the high banks of the Oka river and fell in love with it.
In 1993, four years before his death, he decided to realise his long-life ambition of bringing "high culture" to provinces. He started a small classical festival in Tarusa where he invited world-class performers to come and play music. In sixteen years the festival has established itself as a highlight on the classical music calendar.
"He (Svyatoslav Richter) especially valued music traditions in provinces. There were many examples in his life when he played his major concerts not in Moscow or big European cities but in the provinces," said Novomir Pisarenko, a close friend of Richter.
Pisarenko and his wife helped Richter to start the foundation later named after the great musician and have been actively involved in organizing the festivals - activities now managed by their son, also Svyatoslav, who is no the Foundations director.
The temperatures well below - 20 decrees Celsius did not stop Tarusa residents and guests to come to the week long winter part of the festival.
British bass Christian Fellner and his Russian music partner Vyacheslav Poprugin have brought to Tarusa a challenging programme of the classical song evolution from Hendel to the modern times.
Christian Fellner, an admirer of Richter's talent, has performed in great maestro's museum in Moscow. Coming to Tarusa was his long-time dream.
"I'm very interested in the spirit of music making that exists here following in the tradition of Svyatoslav Richter who has always inspired me as a musician. And what is wonderful here is that there is such a feeling of joy in performing. It's away from the whole sort of commercial world of music making. It's very very relaxed, warm, wonderful feeling of warmth in the audience, wonderful atmosphere in the concert hall. And it is just a very special place following in Richter's tradition," said Christian Fellner.
Thanks to the natural beauty of the countryside Tarusa has been known to attract artists, poets , writers and musicians. Along with the residents they all await Richter festivals.
"This is tremendously important event in the life of such a small and provincial town as Tarusa may seem to a lot of people. But indeed artistic life here is very vibrant. And Svyatoslav Richter festivals are real pearls of this cultural life as they usually attract very interesting performers," said Nikolay Dobriyan, a loyal festival fan. Dobriyan is the head of the famous Russian academic institute of space research based in Tarusa. He said he hardly missed a concert since the festival started.
"I'm just learning to listen to music. I'm a painter. Since I started to come to these festivals I've been always anticipating with excitement what would happen. And today I enjoyed it enormously as the performer was very genuine," said Anna Fillipova, a painter from Moscow who has a second home in Tarusa.
Despite a challenging programme the audience equally enjoyed well known 18th century areas by Mozart and song written by a modern American composer Ned Rorem who is generally new to the Russian audiences.
"We are so happy that the guests have come to our little town.
I've been living in Tarusa for more than 30 years and we are always very happy to welcome guests here. I've been to many festivals and it is the first such a performance, so unexpected," said Nadezhda, Tarusa resident.
In early 1960s Richter built a house in Tarusa countryside, on a forestry bank of the Oka river. Before his first tour to the Unites States he came there to work on his six concert programmes which he performed in the U.S. After his U.S tour the pianist who had been hidden from the world by the Soviet iron curtain, became instantly famous.
Richter has become and icon for the musicians. It has become a tradition for those who come to play at his festivals to visit his old house in the forest and light a candle in his honour.
For pianist Vyacheslav Poprugin this was his seventh festival in Tarusa. He says its the unique atmosphere and the audience that keep bringing him to this little town.
"The audience is amazing here, it's extremely well educated and is ready to absorb almost any programme. You can experiment here. We have played such programmes here that one can hardly present in Moscow," said Vyacheslav, adding the programmes could be too challenging for the general public of capital cities.
The festival runs in two parts - one in winter and one in the last week of July. It finishes on the 1st of August, the day of Richter's death.
Svyatoslav Richter died in 1997.
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