Monday, November 29, 2010

Evgeni Bozhanov - Dance des Pages , Grand Pas de deux from " The Sleeping Beauty"

Recording by Jindrich Massner 2007 RSH Düsseldorf.
Photos by © 2009 Stephen Eastwood/Lynx
Uploaded by TheMasson69.

Am just beginning this blog to follow the career and music of Evgeni Bozhanov and will eventually have a biography, some news, and a preliminary concert schedule.

I created the blog space after the Cliburn Competition.  Have not had time to really set it up the way I want, due to too many other projects, but many of us feel this pianist/artist deserves more exposure than he will get as a musician with unique abilities, when confined to the blander world of piano competitions and its expectations or requirements that the 'winning' musician be the choice of a committee with widely varying tastes and even students they might favor.

This particular video has been a favorite of mine as it shows both beauty of line, a crystalline technique, and an emphasis on an attribute many of us prize -- a sense of spontaneity in the music-making of the kind the composer would have had while creating the basis for what we hear.  As Chopin Competition jurist Kevin Kenner put it recently:
' I love Bozhanovs’ playing. I think he is a great artist. There is no greater artist in this Competition... For me consistency is not the most valuable quality, but in competitions this quality is often rewarded the most. I was deeply moved by some performances of Bozhanov. Some. I have never heard the Polonaise played in such a great style. That’s the real Chopin. And that’s when I knew that he really lives that music. I don’t agree with people saying that he is playing only to make a show. '
  Many have read Michael Moran's beautifully balanced and thorough report on the entire Chopin Competition and on Bozhanov especially, whom he rates with the great pianists of the past

  I'll be including many of his thoughts, and others', on a "Reviews" page later.

  It now turns out that Bozhanov was one of two pianists who rated 90+ points for each of three solo sessions in the Chopin Competition, but because the point system did not seem to give the jurors results they could agree on or find workable as a committee, they decided to ignore the points, per jurist Harasiewicz (teacher of Wunder) and go with 'impressions' instead and voted placement for each pianist, based on those impressions over the 4 sessions that included the final, concerto event.

  As most who play at all know, a musician is most exposed when playing challenging solo works.   I'll have a section on the Chopin Competition too as well as on the wonderful Video recordings of all Competition sessions, made available to us, for viewing at any time, by the Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina and their representative Artur Szklener.

Evgeni Bozhanov plays Chopin Rondo a la Mazur op 5

This was played in the 2nd set of the Cliburn 2009.

Evgeni Bozhanov plays Schubert Sonata D 960 , B dur , 2nd mov

This movement is from the Cliburn Competition.  It never sounds as if it were played at a Competition.

For the full sonata, start with the video of the opening of the first movement, and subsequent movements are shown in the middle of the activity box that shows up when the current video is completed.

Bozhanov's facial movements seem to come from feeling the 'character' of the notes or phrases.  This appears to be very effective for his playing but it is a distraction for many who see them.  For some, it's best to close the eyes.

Evgeni Bozhanov - Chopin - Waltz op18 in E flat major

This waltz was the final work of the third and final solo set in the 2010 Chopin competition.


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