By Heidi Trautmann
An early spring evening in Bellapais, it is still fresh. For me always a special experience to come up here and enter the gardens of the Abbey with its charm and faint smell of jasmine. A crowd has gathered in front of the music hall. The informed know what is expecting them “We are in for something very special; others are eager to learn more: The St. Petersburg Virtuosen, you wonder, who they are? Fellow musicians of our Rauf Kasimov, from times back at the Moscow Conservatoire, they found each other via the internet after 30 years and decided to meet in Cyprus and make music together. Yes, that is a story life is telling.
The musical performance begins with a very young man, he comes on stage with his violin in his left hand followed by Rauf Kasimov, who accompanies him on the piano. It is Emanuel, 11 years old, the son of Pjotr Meshvinski, and Natalia Alenitsina. He is not a child, he is a musician. From where I sit in the first row I can observe his long delicate fingers dance over the fingerboard, his face is absolutely calm with the innocence of his young years but the knowledge of music as he plays for us Tschaikovsky. I can feel a gasp going through the audience.
We get to know the entire family with L. van Beethoven’s string trio c-moll op 9 and Emanuel leading with his violin, Mama playing viola and dad violoncello. Like velvet and damask, I find. Very precious.
And now: Dimitri Schostakowitsch with Rauf on the piano and Pjotr Violoncello and Natalia violin starting with the voices of an early awakening deep forest and ever growing activities in the course of its day. With the next movements something dramatic happens, perhaps a fire with many feet fleeing, chaos, fear for life. In the last movement the tentative steps of return into the forest, the return of all kind of creatures, the return to a busy day until, at the end, the sun sets, everything falls asleep and peace reigns. Wow, certainly a composer to create vivid images, but you have to see it, it is also a visual experience, and you have to hear it played by musicians with fine understanding and knowledge.
During the interval I met with a happily agitated audience, heard them discussing their feelings, met the students of Rauf, excited to be able to listen to an excellent performance, heard comments by music lovers:….it is the first time that I enjoyed listening to Schostakowtisch, I just loved it…what a precious gem this evening….Yes, this is true!
Then we were in for Johannes Brahms….Lieben Sie Brahms? Yes, I do! Brahms wrote the piano quartet op 60 in 1875. How passionate. How well and passionately played by Rauf on the piano, Natalia Alenitsina: violin, Leonid Rabinovich: viola and Pjotr Meshvinski: violoncello. There was high tension in the hall which had to be released between the movements which earned us a slightly impatient glance by the musicians. But it came from our hearts and there were standing ovations and bravo bravo and encore encore. We got our encore with another Brahms which Rauf Kasimov announced. And as we all went home through the silent village night the music still sounded in our ears and we felt richer.
There will be a second concert on March 15 at the Bedesten in Nicosia at 19.30 with the St. Petersburg Virtuosen with another fine programme: P. Tschaikowsky, Maurice Ravel,
Händel - Halvorsen and Ludwig v. Beethoven.
Do not miss it!
I would like to intruce the musicians with their CVs:
Pjotr Meshvinski is the director of the famous »St. Petersburg Virtuosen« in Hamburg, an ensemble with a wide repertoire of classical music, as soloists or pure chamber music and Yes I chamber orchestra. He was born in St. Petersburg in 1966 and started to study cello at the age of six at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatoire and had his first concert at the age of eleven. In 1984 he continued his studies at the Moscow Tschaikovsky Conservatoire. He had many highly praised performances as soloist with the Soviet American Youth Orchestra and the German Soviet Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1989 he was given an award following the last Soviet competition. In 1991 he went to Hamburg, where he won several prizes from various international Cello and chamber music competitions; he then founded the “St.Petersburg Virtuosen”. He organised many concerts worldwide as soloist and as a group, which is recognized as a high-class ensemble.
Natalia Alenitsina is co-founder of the above mentioned music ensemble. She was born in St. Petersburg in 1971 and - as a young highly talented musician – she followed the same course of education as her partner Pjotr, also starting at the tender age of six years. She started giving concerts very early in her life and at the age of ten years she performed as soloist with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Successful concerts followed in Litavia, Poland and Germany where her extraordinary talent was confirmed. She went on tour with many famous orchestras and had numberless TV and radio shows. In 1990 she was accepted in the masterclass at the Moscow Conservatoire by Prof. Andrej Korsakov. In 1991 she joined Pjotr in Hamburg,
where she continued her studies at the Hamburg Music Conservatoire. She won very important awards.
Emanuel Meshvinski is the youngest member of the ‘St.Petersburg Virtuosen’. It does not take wonder that he is also a highly talented kid with parents such as Pjotr and Natalia. He was born in Hamburg in 2002 and the violin became his first toy at the age of two; at the age of 3 he could already play simple melodies and he started to have classes at the age of four, violin and piano. At the age of six he had his first big performance with violin and piano. He is touring with his parents and has thus discovered the wide spectre of classical music.
Leonid Rabinovich is the third of the friends coming to Cyprus from far away Miami and
he sent us his CV :
He was born in 1964 in the Ukranian city of Odessa and also began his violin studies at the age of five at the Stoliarskaya School of Music. He was 15 when he gave his first concert, playing such virtuosic works as Paganini’s Capriccio, various works by Sarasate, and the Sibelius Concerto.
He continued his music career at Odessa’s Neshdanova Conservatoire of Music, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Violin. Shortly thereafter he was accepted to the Moscow’s famed Tschaikovsky State Conservatoire to study viola with Prof. Feodor Drushinin. Four years later he graduated with a master’s degree in Viola.
During his years at the conservatoire he performed numerous concerts and tours throughout the former Soviet Union, including performances at Rachmaninov Hall and Tschaikovsky Maliy Hall in Moscow. As principal violist of the conservatoire’s soloist ensemble and symphony orchestra, he performed in many European halls, in Spain at the Teatro Real de Madrid and the Teatro de Bilbao, in Germany, in Berlin, Cologne, Stuttgart and Hannover, in Paris, at the Théatre Nouvelle Opéra de la Bastille, and in Brussels at the Queen Elisabeth Concert Hall. He also performed with the Odessa Philharmonic in 1985-86 and Odessa Opera Orchestra in 1986-87.
Mr. Rabinovich arrived in the United States in 1991 to join the Miami based New World Symphony under the artistic direction of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, where he remained for four seasons. He has given recitals at Miami Dade Community College’s Contemporary Music Festival. At the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall, at the chamber concert series of the Palm Beach International Competition.
Mr. Rabinovich’s recent solo appearances include concerts with the Miami Symphony Orchestra both at Miami Beach’s Lincoln theatre and the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall. He performed the Stamnitz Concerto for Viola and Orchestra and the original score of the Sonata per Grande Viola e Orchestra by Paganini which he premiered in the United States. He also performs regularly as principal violist with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.
You learn all about Rauf Kasimov in the interview I had with him in the following link: