Thursday 30 June 2011

Tchaik Comp: Giving out the gongs

As if they'd not done enough already, the organisers of the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition kindly delayed the awards ceremony until I'd got home and had my dinner.  The slightly shambolic bilingual ceremony began more than an hour late and the hall was never more than half full, but once under way, the judges rattled through the honours in a manner alien to the epic duration of the Academy Awards. 

There weren't, admittedly, as many awards on offer here, but even within the categories, there was some divergence in the format.  Representatives of the male and female vocal award judging panels went first (Renate Scotto suffering from being on first and clearly unsure of what she was supposed to be doing) and awarded (as far as I could tell) first and second prizes in the respective categories.  The instrumental prizes then built toward the piano award and in each case awarded prizes to all five finalists in each section.  That seemed a bit harsh on the last place people, with the fifth placed pianist looking monumentally unimpressed as he slunk off the stage.

A full list of the winners has yet to be uploaded to the Tchaikovsky Competition's website (the list will follow here once it appears), but in the violin category no first place was given and the second price was shared between Itamar Zorman (Isreal) and Sergey Dogadin (Russia), who struck me as the two  most interesting finalists.  I had assumed that Dogadin's relaxed demenour and outstanding technique would take the top prize, but it's good to see the panel recognising Zorman's individuality.

Finally, the competition organisers scored real points for attracting 1958 piano gold medallist Van Cliburn (pictured) back, clearly still held in great esteem and affection by the Russian audience.  In his deep Texan drawl, he reminded musicians of their responsibility to be soldiers for classical music.  Sad to say, but it does often feel like we need to fight for it.

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