Classical Music Guide - Sunday, July 28, 2019 - Written by Donald Isler

Vladimir Rumyantsev

July 25th, 2019

Tchaikovsky-Pabst: Concert Paraphrase from "Eugene Onegin", Op. 81
Schumann: Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13
Tchaikovsky: Five Pieces from "The Seasons", Op. 37a
February: Carnival
April: Snowdrop
August: Harvest
October: Autumn Song
December: Christmas
Tchaikovsky-Feinberg: Scherzo from Symphony, No. 6

Vladimir Rumyantsev is a 32 year old Russian pianist who studied at the Moscow Conservatory as well as at Mannes College of Music. I was very impressed with his recital a couple of years ago. He is a pianist with a technique that makes just about everything sound easy, a big, beautiful tone, and a natural flair for the Romantic idiom without any eccentricity, or self-indulgence.

The Pabst Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin had a wonderful buildup to the waltz theme, which was then played with charm, fine nuances, and a variety of timbres. The contrasting section in G Major was finely portrayed, as was the beautiful F Major theme, which later returned in the left hand with a swirling right hand accompaniment.

The theme of the Symphonic Etudes was slow and dignified. The first, march-like variation was vigorous and then followed by the second, with triplets, in which Rumyantsev very effectively varied the dynamics when playing repeats. Other places which stood out for this listener included the third etude, where right hand arpeggios flew around over the left hand melody, the third variation, with the syncopations, the beautiful, soft G-Sharp Minor variation, no. 7, played after a short, meaningful pause, and the powerful conclusion.

Before commenting on the artist's performance of the Seasons I want to thank Joe Patrych for pointing out that some of the pieces performed were not the ones indicated in the program, and Mr. Rumyantsev, for later telling me exactly which ones he played. (They are the ones listed above.)

February (Carnival) plowed along strongly, though it was quieter later on, with a thoughtful last section. April (Snowdrop) was romantic, with longing and coquettishness, and a gorgeous ending. August (Harvest), seemed restless, with a quiet middle section. October (Autumn Song) featured the beautiful interplay of voices and a famous melody which returned, played in hushed manner, at the end. December (Christmas) was an understated waltz with lots of charm.

Samuil Feinberg (1890-1962) is not well-remembered today, but his accomplishments include a terrific recording of the complete Well-Tempered Clavier of Bach, numerous compositions, and this spectacular transcription of the Scherzo movement of the Tchaikovsky Sixth Symphony. I thank Rorianne Schrade for introducing me to it with a brilliant performance at her Weill Hall concert two years ago. Likewise, Mr. Rumyantsev's reading of it on Thursday evening was spectacular! He started at an incredibly fast tempo, yet played with great clarity, including at the first, soft, entrance of the main theme. Near the end, he got even a little bit faster! Both the conclusion of this work, and the audience enthusiasm afterwards were LOUD!

Mr. Rumyantsev played one encore, an elegant and sometimes highly ornamented piece, full of passion and sentimentality from Oscar Peterson's Canadian Suite.

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