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Phenomenal Stream of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fantasy on the Theme S-H-E-A at the Hamburg Music Festival

The piano duo Shalamov had already made a video recording of their German premiere performance of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fantasy on the Theme S-H-E-A in the Small Hall of the Elbphilharmonie on 7 December 2021. However, as the event was to be broadcast for the first time as part of the Musikfest Hamburg, the recording had not yet been made public. This took place on 14 May 2021.

The Russian Alina Shalamova and Bulgarian Nikolay Shalamov succeeded in creating an exciting and well-balanced interpretation of Gubaidulina’s technically highly demanding work, composed in 2009 for the cultural patron and conservatory founder Paloma O'Shea.

On the occasion of this performance, we spoke with the performers, who, aside from their professional partnership, are a married couple. When asked why this approximately twenty-minute work is so technically demanding, they explained as follows:

“The technical difficulty of this piece is to combine the wide range of dynamics with a rhythmically complicated structure. Rapid changes of pitch and tempo also require great attention. 

Not to mention that the instruments are tuned with a difference of 1/4 tone, making it extremely uncomfortable for Alina as she has absolute pitch. Therefore, the ‘wrongly’ tuned instrument was played by Nikolay.”

DEA Sofia Gubaidulina
Fantasy on the Theme S-H-E-A for two pianos
Piano du9 Shalamov

-As part of the Hamburg Music Festival –

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