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Bronze Bust of the Conductor and Adaptor Rudolf Barschai in Moscow

A bronze bust of the conductor and long-time director of the legendary Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barschai (who died in 2010), was unveiled at a solemn ceremony in the foyer of the Great Hall of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory on 2 November 2017. The bust was created by the sculptor Vyacheslav Piliper and is a gift to the Conservatory from Elena Barschai, widow of Rudolf Barschai. Following the ceremonial unveiling there was a memorial concert for Rudolf Barschai in the Great Hall of the Conservatory at which the Russian State Academic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Alexei Utkin presented works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Barschai’s treatment of the original versions of his many adaptations was thoroughly subtle. Never, not with a single note, did he ever falsify the sound world of the original, but always succeeded in gaining completely new perspectives of it. Amongst other works, Barschai orchestrated Beethoven‘s String Quartet, Op. 74 in E-flat major, the String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 and an entire series of Shostakovich quartets which he entitled as chamber symphonies. These include Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a based on the String Quartet No. 8,  Op. 110,  Chamber Symphony Op. 118a based on the String Quartet No. 10, Op. 118,  Chamber Symphony Op.  73a based on the String Quartet No. 3, Op. 73 and the Chamber Symphony Op. 83a based on the String Quartet No. 4, Op. 83. Barschai also made a string orchestral version of the cycle of twenty piano pieces “Visions fugitives” of Sergei Prokofiev.

Elbphilharmonie World Premiere of Johannes Harneit’s Piano Concerto
The composer Johannes Harneit, who lives in Hamburg, has written a Piano Concerto in response to a commission from the Ensemble Resonanz which will be given its world premiere on 21 November 2017 in the Small Hall of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. The soloist will be the Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov, who is extraordinarily well-versed in contemporary music.
Johannes Harneit has supplied the following comments on the motives and inspirations of his new Piano Concerto: “When composing, I am particularly interested in aspects of sonic architecture, harmonic language and soloistic writing. The new halls of the Elbphilharmonie with their transparency stimulated me to compose a ‘seemingly acoustic’ echoing layer which (comparable to the pedal of the piano) adds new dimensions to the concert hall. I made use of the three-movement form of classical concertos as a point of departure from well-known procedures in a formal sense as well; these could then take surprising changes of course. The harmonic language confronts the tempered system with microtonality and spectral sounds (also in the subharmonic area), in order to glean new timbres from the piano – an ostensibly ‘fixed’ instrument. The soloistic aspect is gradually taken over from the pianist by each individual player in the orchestra – this is a reference to the high standards and the special possibilities of the Ensemble Resonanz.”
World Premiere: Johannes Harneit,        
Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra
(Alexander Melnikov, piano, Ensemble Resonanz, cond. Riccardo Minasi)

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