S. RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No. 2, in C minor, op. 18
M. MUSSORGSKY: Pictures at an Exhibition
Orquestra Simfònica Camera Musicae
Alexander Melnikov, piano
Tomàs Grau, conductor
Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky not only coincide in their origins and in their references to the popular music of their country but also in an extremely sensitive personality that caused them to suffer long periods of sadness. The two works that make up this programme are a wonderful example of how to face adversity through musical creation: the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2, op. 18 evokes the overcoming of depression and is dedicated to Dr. Nikolai Dahl to whom Rachmaninov recognizes his invaluable help; Pictures at an Exhibition is a posthumous tribute to the artist Viktor Hartmann whose sudden death had left his friend Mussorgsky dejected.
We can count on Alexander Melnikov to hear to the musical response that Rachmaninov gave to the hard question of Tolstoy: What is the use of the music you compose? It is a luxury that will allow us to discover how the melodies, of Russian inspiration, travel through the sound universe of emotions. Mussorgsky’s work (originally for piano but orchestrated by Maurice Ravel) represents the composer himself, visiting an exhibition of works by Hartmann. Each ‘Promenade’ symbolizes the passage from one work to another and their content is masterfully described through music.
Biography Alexander Melnikov
Alexander Melnikov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov. His most formative musical moments in Moscow include an early encounter with Svjatoslav Richter, who thereafter regularly invited him to festivals in Russia and France. He was awarded important prizes at eminent competitions such as the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau (1989) and the Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth in Brussels (1991).
Known for his often-unusual musical and programmatic decisions, Alexander Melnikov discovered a career-long interest in historically-informed performance practice at an early age. His major influences in this field include Andreas Staier and Alexei Lubimov. Melnikov performs regularly with distinguished period ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Concerto Köln, l’Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and Orchestre des Champs-Élysées.
As a soloist, Alexander Melnikov has performed with orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester, Russian National Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, and others.
Chamber music is an essential part of his career and has led him to musical collaborations with performers such as the cellist Alexander Rudin and Jean-Guihen Queyras, as well as the baritone Georg Nigl.