2021 Winner – Supported by Club 32 donor Anthony and Suzanne Maple-Brown
Alexander Gadjiev began studying piano with his father, Siavush Gadjiev, making his concert debut at the age of nine and giving his first solo recital a year later. He received his Master’s Degree at the Mozarteum of Salzburg, under the guidance of Pavel Gililov. Following his Master’s Degree, Gadjiev took his Konzertexamen in Berlin under Eldar Nebolsin.
Alexander has performed at prestigious festivals, including Verbier, the Rubinstein Festival in Łódź, the Chopin Festival in Duszniki, Ravenna Musica and the Kammermusik Salzburg Festival. In demand as a soloist with orchestras, and as a recitalist, he has performed in the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Great Hall of Ljubljana’s Philharmonie, La Fenice in Venice and the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. A tour of Japan included engagements in Tokyo, Osaka and Sapporo.
Recently he was selected for the 2019 – 2021 BBC New Generation Artists Scheme, which provides opportunities for him to perform in many of the major festivals and series in the UK, both in recital and as soloist with the BBC orchestras, and to record regularly for BBC Radio 3.
SEMI FINAL PROGRAM THEME
As obvious as it may seem, my program for the semifinal round rotates around Russian piano music. But the idea that lies behind this more obvious appearance is slightly more elaborated: I wanted to show what influence European tradition has had on several composers of the past century.
I therefore started the program with one of the most celebrated Prelude and Fugues by D. Shostakovich, namely the e-minor one. It is a well known fact that Shostakovich composed this cycle of preludes and fugues after having judged in the Bach Competition in Leipzig; having heard so much music of the great Master from Eisenach has inspired him as well in pursuing a long-breath project centered on one of his favorite aspects in music: counterpoint and polyphony. It therefore felt natural to choose one of the fugues that best represents this love towards towards complex line-intertwinement, and the Double-Fugue in e minor is a great example in this sense.
I then continued with an “early” manifestation of Prokofiev’s genius, the Vision fugitives.
In this work Prokofiev clearly shows the need for new concepts: his Visions are short sketches, complete in themselves, small representations of entire universes, as it is portrayed in the celebrated poem by Balmont, who himself drew inspiration from Prokofiev’s miniatures.
In every fleeting vision I see worlds,
Filled with the fickle play of rainbows.
At the same time we do notice a certain fascination for the sonorous world of Claude Debussy: Prokofiev was a great admirer of his music and it is therefore no surprise to see such influence in these experimental works. Likewise time I find really interesting how Prokofiev is able to depict a completely different world (although using some of Debussy’s techniques), which never ceases to amaze me in terms of personality and unexpectedness. It is worth noticing the Prokofiev himself lived for some years in Paris, before moving back to Russia in 1936.
Tcherepnin is a lesser known composer that deserves though more attention. In this program I have dedicated him some space in the form of two pieces from his op.88. Tcherepnin lived and studied in Paris too, and we can hear some of that influence in his refined use of harmony and sound-effects. In these two pieces, written when he had already moved to the US and dated in the late 50’s, we also hear the influence of a culture that was opening to new horizons: Tcherepnin himself lived and travelled extensively throughout the Asian continent, and perhaps the Meditation and Invocation are affected by an increasing interest towards Eastern philosophies.
The program terminates then with the colossal Seventh Sonata by Prokofiev, one of his late works.
Written during World War II, it is an extremely daring and masterfully crafted work of art in the tradition of the Classical Sonata. Prokofiev’s genius in this case is expressed by the ability to retain an “old” form, (the Sonata-form in the first movement, the division into three movements etc.) but at the same time to adapt it to the modern times: the opening movement wanders around different key-centers but stays substantially “atonal”, although there never is the feeling of being lost in the music. On the contrary, its never-stopping motor-action intertwined by sections of intimate reflection build up a glorious monument to the Russian Nation and Spirit, which was rejecting the threats coming from Nazi Germany.
After the more lyrical second movement (in which though, I feel there is the climax of the entire piece…), the Sonata ends with the celebrated Precipitato, a toccata which leaves no doubt about the future fortunes of the Country, ending in a glorious B-flat Major chord, repeated in various registers and affirmed as the final statement.
2021 Competition Performances
2021 Competition Repertoire
I. Andante con espressione
II. Rondo. Presto
XV. Le Baiser de l’Enfant-Jésus
I. Feuillet d’Album
Semi Final Round
Semi Final Round
VII. Pittoresco (Arpa)
IX. Allegro tranquillo
XI. Con vivacità
XII. Assai Moderato
XVIII. Con una dolce lentezza
XX. Lento irrealmente
I. Allegro inquieto
II. Andante caloroso
I. Grave – Doppio movimento
II. Scherzo – Più lento
III. Marche funèbre
IV. Finale. Presto
I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace
IV. Allegro con brio
No.13 F# major