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Text and photo: Maxim Masaltsev

Typically, pianist Alexander Melnikov is presented as the successor of Sviatoslav Richter’s piano tradition and the winner of many awards. A disciple of outstanding teachers Lev Naumov and Eliso Virsaladze, Alexander has long been a welcome guest at the biggest stages around the world.
The owner’s attention is directed towards the naked Bechstein grand piano, which in turn serves as a huge pedestal for a detailed copy of the old Moscow trolleybus.

This trolley is a symbol of my love for this city. The Moscow I used to love, unfortunately, does not exist anymore. There is no and will not be any calm in these alleys. In the morning, you cannot hear the trolley clicking its wires. All is lost in just about twenty years. This city is what I do not like. This trolley helps. It was made to order exactly the way I remembered it from childhood. When I feel bad, I sit down here in front of it and calm down.
Initially, music was more rhythm or dance. Then came the huge amount of religious music, then secular, and afterwards opera appeared. Academic music has become the source for performing arts only in the second half of the 19th century. At the same time, the relationship between the composer and the audience began to “heat up”. Serious music is becoming more and more incomprehensible to a wide audience, it has lost its entertaining aspect.

When the old music is played, one must understand that the musical language is lost at large, and we may comprehend only the surviving part that is purely aesthetic. It’s not like that with all the composers: all of Bach is so well-done that you are immersed fully into aesthetics. But aesthetics is only 10 percent of the composer in the case of the same Bach, and the rest are the religious and social aspects that we do not know. But if the music of the past is still performed, the music that is written today, lacks something very important. Therefore, a performer just has to be the advocate and take on music, say, of the 19th century.

Until the 19th century, people played only the music by their contemporaries, and then suddenly it became the music of the past. Something is lacking in the new music and this something makes us look into the past.
If you take some of Mahler’s symphonies, in order to understand it, requires serious knowledge. Knowing nothing about Vermeer we are unable to appreciate his paintings. It’s the same with music, only perhaps even more difficult.

Today, all the conservatories of the world educate hundreds of thousands of people with musical education, they are good players, but they have no chance to be in demand. I would have created also faculties for listeners without any performing education, because music is a complicated thing.


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