film by Christopher Nupen with the Russian master pianist who has taken the classical music world by storm. Evgeny Kissin not only has dazzling virtuosity and unmistakable star-appeal, his meteoric rise to the top of the international concert circuit has seldom been equalled. There have been few careers in music that have climbed so high, so fast.
Evgeny Igorevich Kissin was born in Moscow on the 10th of October 1971; his father an engineer and his mother a piano teacher. He started to play the piano at the age of two, as soon as he was tall enough to reach the keyboard, as he demonstrates in the film.
It soon became clear that his gift for music was exceptional and that it reached far beyond what is generally thought of as musical precocity. So his parents took him, at the age of six, to the Moscow Gnessin School of Music for Gifted Children. It was there that he met Anna Pavlovna Kantor who was to have a profound effect on his development. She remained his mentor from the age of six until he had achieved maturity and world-wide fame and remains a guiding friend to this day. For a pupil-teacher relationship to remain so close for so long is probably unprecedented at this level.
The film shows Kissin in preparation, interview, rehearsal and performance with several dazzling performances shot live on stage, in true concert conditions, where this captivating artist is undoubtedly at his best. The film also contains footage from Kissin's memorable Promenade concert at the Royal Albert Hall in August 1997. This was the first Prom in the 103-year history of the Promenade Concerts to be given by a solo recitalist and it attracted the biggest audience in all of those 103 years; very nearly six thousand people. A leading London manager described it as having generated more enthusiasm than any other London recital during the past fifty years.
The music is by Liszt, Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Kissin, Schubert and Chopin, the composer for whom Kissin feels the closest affinity.
At the end of his Albert Hall recital Evgeny Kissin played the longest succession of encores in the history of the Proms, an extraordinary and historic event which we made into a sequel film entitled EVGENY KISSIN AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL; THE ENCORES. The first is a portrait film, the second a performance film with the added element of historic occasion. On this DVD the two films are combined to keep the narrative moving.
EVGENY KISSIN AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
On the 10th of August 1997, Evgeny Kissin played the first solo recital in the 103-year history of the London Promenade Concerts. It was a Sunday afternoon in the second hottest August since records began but Kissin nevertheless drew the biggest Prom audience in all of those 103 years. As if that were not enough Kissin ended his recital with the longest succession of encores in the entire history of the Proms.
This film contains the whole of that astonishing run of encores.
Christopher Nupen and his Allegro Films team have captured several historic musical events in the past, most notably the Elgar Cello Concerto with Jacqueline du Pré, Schubert's Trout Quintet, Mussorgski's Pictures at an Exhibition with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Andrés Segovia in the Alhambra. This is another in that affectionately remembered tradition. With the piano placed in the middle of the arena, surrounded by 900 Promenaders, the images and the sounds are remarkable records of an historic occasion. Kissin plays -
- Beethoven - The Turkish March from The Ruins of Athens (arranged Anton Rubinstein)
- Chopin - Grand Waltz in A flat, Op. 34 No. 1.
- Paganini - La Campanella (Transcendental Study), arranged Franz Liszt
- Chopin - Nocturne Opus 27 No 2
- Schubert - Moment Musical No. 3 in F minor (arranged Leopold Godowsky)
- Beethoven - Rondo Capriccioso: Rage over the Lost Penny Op. 129
- Chopin - Mazurka in A minor, Op. 67 No. 4.
- Chopin - Waltz in E minor, Op. posth.