March 13, 2011

Kirill Gerstein


A Gilmore Award winner ($300,000.00 !), the Russian-born Kirill Gerstein has received much drooling critical praise. If his live recording of Bach's English Suite  BWV 807 from the 2009 Verbier Festival is representative of his musicianship and instrumental craft, the Gilmore Award jury must have been composed entirely of deaf people.  In that recording Gerstein's tone clatters like the dishes in an apartment next to the train station, his articulation is arthritic, and his melodic lines are spasmodic.  Aside from unpleasant tone, I could accept such struggling playing from the nonagenarian Horszowski, but not from a young pianist breathlessly described as an astonishing virtuoso. By the time Gersteine limped through the Sarabanda, I was simply laughing... 

Well, at least the Gilmore Foundation seems to be consistent in rewarding music making that is as memorable as a roadside motel in Kansas where you once spent a night on your way to California...

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