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Sergey Antonov Has Performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory



Moscow, Russian Federation


The final concert of the Moscow Philharmonic subscription series, titled “ Stars of the 21st Century”, featured two young musicians. The performance of one of them, a Gold Medal winner of the last International Tchaikovsky Competition, cellist Sergey Antonov became a real discovery .


The title of this five concert series implies that the “Stars” are young musicians who earned competition titles and have already had considerable exposure on the classical concert stage. They are given a chance: they are selected from the overall mass of many accomplished young musicians; they are united by a musical “weight category” and are propelled to the status of a “Star”. The main objective for us is to acknowledge this new generation for whom the road is paved. At present, the technique of bringing forth a talent allows one to build a performing career but there are dangers involved. One may loose their individuality by way of education, technique, success. In today’s world it became a norm. The musical gift is cloned, but the main ingredient is lacking: “God’s Gift”. Geniuses are becoming fewer…


…Sergey Antonov, who performed first, became a persona from a different world. He has nothing from our age of cloned virtuosos whose desire is to be liked. It appears that the journey of an education at the Central Music School, Moscow Conservatory, Graduate School and victories in the competition world has not been traveled.


He is unique.


It is hard to imagine but he is a musician who has his own inner space, where he submerges himself from the very first sound. And if the composition is not something that is heard very often, and is not composed by the famous cello composer, but appears completely ingenious, there is no doubt that the reason is in a performer, who turns each phrase , every deeply felt sound into an event of his own inner monologue. The theme of this monologue is existential suffering; a change of intricately notated emotions, directly related to the unexplainable condition known as Spiritual Life. Such consciously developed nuances, sensitivity, such concentration in combination with the feeling of drama have not been heard for a long time. It is possible that the last voice of the 20th century here was an ingenious Jacqueline du Pre. She was considered an ideal interpreter of the cello concerto of Edward Elgar, which was played today by Sergey Antonov.


This concerto was played by Antonov not only as a beautiful rendition of the late post Romantic music, but as an expression on the level of the late symphonies of Mahler, where the author was tormented by two questions: the end of human life and an end of the classical culture. Mahler died in 1911 and became a prophet. First World War closed both questions. However, there were few residuals. Elgar’s cello concerto which was written when the composer was 62 (premier in 1919, London) – is an epilogue, where the desperate questions are heard again: why the world is made this way, why our lives on earth are filled with loneliness and suffering? The fact that these questions were heard today, so unexpectedly and with such bareness in a time when the society is tuned to the positive “tuning fork”, can be only attributed to Sergey Antonov. It appears that this musician has a serious artistic fate.


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