MESSIAEN Oiseaux exotiques – piano concerto
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26
BRAHMS: Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25 (orchestral version in an arrangement by Arnold Schönberg)
Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)
Conductor: András Keller
This concert guides the audience from the Gold-fronted Leaf Bird and Hindu rhythmic patterns to Vienna, with the most popular Prokofiev piano concerto in between. The virtuoso soloist is at least as exotic and special in his own field as the birds of the Messiaen composition played as the overture to the recital, since Andrei Korobeinikov is not only a renowned pianist but a qualified lawyer, added to which he is a committed speaker of Esperanto.
“Listen to the birds! They are the greatest masters,” Paul Dukas instructed his promising student, Olivier Messiaen, and we know that he took his master’s advice. Proof of this, amongst many other compositions, is the single-movement work Oiseaux exotiques (Exotic Birds) dating from the 1950s, in which the combination of piano, wind and percussion instruments evoke approximately forty different birdsongs from the North American Hermit Thrush to the Gold-fronted Leaf Bird native to Asia. The 34-year-old Russian pianist has already played the Piano Concerto No. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev (completed in 1921) in Budapest, as an understudy. As one concert critic put it at the time: “Korobeinikov came, he saw and he conquered.” Although on first hearing no similarity can be discerned in the music of the two composers Brahms and Schönberg, resident in Vienna at the end of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, Schönberg actually considered his older colleague to be amongst his most important musical predecessors. It comes as no surprise that he made an orchestral version from the work originally written for piano and string quartet, at the encouragement of world-famous conductor Klemperer. This rarely performed arrangement closes the concert.