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Evgeny Kissin: Gift of Music (1997)

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Evgeny Kissin


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7 December 2004 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Evgeny Kissin: The Gift of Music

A Christopher Nupen Film (1999)

One of the most prodigiously gifted pianists of his generation, Kissin can seem like a very odd young man indeed. One of the virtues of this film is that it manages to bring him down to earth and show his humanity. His English is excellent though his speech is a bit odd. In interaction with his fans he seems to exude a surprising amount of warmth and almost superhuman patience.

There is an extended interview section in which Kissin is quite voluble about his musical gifts and attitudes. A scene with him playing the Schubert "Trout" Quintet in rehearsal shows that, though Gidon Kremer the violinist tells everyone to relax in the first movement, Kissin seems unable to relax to any extent.

The major part of the DVD is devoted to Kissin's Promenade recital at London's Albert Hall (the first solo one ever.) in 1997 with brief excerpts of each selection of the main program but all of the many encores he played after. And after a while it all gets to be too much with Kissin bowing in all directions (his "playstation" is in the middle of the audience!) running up the stairs into one of the exits, running back, bowing again, running off, then the rhythmic clapping and then his encore. During this time the pianist is sweating profusely and it is apparent that his white jacket is soaked as well.

It seems rather cruel to put him through all of that despite his youth but he is unfailingly cheerful throughout. And then he is again signing autographs when it is all over.

The pianist's control and accuracy are amazing and, in his chosen repertoire, he is superb.

In short, a most revealing film and highly recommended to all fans of the classical piano.

9 of 10

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