excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 105 (192 words)

excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 105 (192 words)

part of

Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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105

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text excerpt

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I attend a masterclass given to a group of Irish students by Valentin Berlinsky, cellist of the Borodin Quartet for 55 years, on good terms with Stalin, and a friend of Shostakovich - therefore one of the few people left who can remember what Shostakovich said about his music. He speaks quietly and dogmatically, though from time to time he assures the youngsters that they 'must find their own way'. That doesn't seem like an option though.

He strictly controls their tempi and their pauses, occasionally delivering a crushing, 'Not very good'. He tells them it's hard for anyone who didn't live through that era in Russian life to interpret Shostakovich correctly. This is evident from the rather liberal, casual way they play the bitter scherzos and machine-like hammering which goes on and on, and which clearly bores rather than frightens them. In the row in front of me sits another young quartet whose turn in the masterclass will come tomorrow. as the scherzo hurtles towards its menacing end, the first violinist sitting in front of me begins to cry. Is it the music, or the thought of being exposed to criticism tomorrow?

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excerpt from 'Visiting Ireland: West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bantry, June 2001' pp. 105 (192 words)

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