Reviews

And the young ones were absolutely delighted. Someone said: its twenty-first century art. Because, whether we like it or not, culture develops in the direction of the synthesis of arts. A new kind of creative activity, so to say, instead of todays computer games.
A visual sound – Ilia Reiderman. Odesskie Izvestiya

Excerpts from Newspaper la Odessa
October 5, 2008

Alexei Botvinov: Its impossible to play Bach without a blessing from above.

Last Friday a new scenic genre — a multimedia piano concert was presented at the Philharmonic Hall of Odessa for the first time in the world. One of the best world pianists Alexei Botvinov performed classical music accompanied by VJ Videomatics — videoartists (VJs) who, with the help of special equipment, chose and created under the eyes of the audience, visual effects to the music. Alexei Botvinov was born in Odessa, into a family of musicians, which determined his choice of profession. In his work he doesnt seek only musically educated audience, his task is to fill with harmony and understanding of music everyone who comes to his concert.
-Tell us about the synthesis of classical music with other trends. Besides the light and screen project you have performed with classical ballet, havent you?
-It so happens that in this country joint performances of classical musicians and ballet havent become traditional, while in Europe there is such a practice of long standing. There is a difference between our schools of classical ballet and modern European ballet. Generally the synthesis of arts is very interesting. Though such a performance is received in different ways, some people say that they want to hear music, and ballet distracts them. We toured half the world with the Zurich ballet with programmes from Bach to Schnitke. I would like to create something exciting in the synthesis of arts. To show not only the bodys movement or images on the screen, but something more.
-What made you create this project and whose idea is this? Why was the concert held at the Philharmonic Hall?
-The idea is entirely mine. The main goal of such a concert is to popularize classical music and attract a larger audience. Plus a creative interest. Ive already mentioned the synthesis of various arts. Its very interesting, some ideas belonged to Skriabin, but in his day it was technically unfeasible. And now we can implement these ideas, though it requires great expense. Everything is done at our own expense, theres no help either from the state or from the patrons of the arts. Many people think that if you have a quality product, itll take care of its own promotion. But thats not so. Everything requires means. One should put something in the young souls lest they become vandals or barbarians. And the Philharmonic Hall was chosen because it has the best piano in the city.

Nadejda Marchenko.

Excepts from The Weekly Mirror, October 5, 2008

A concerto for the piano, with thunderstorm, clouds and stars in a lake.
(A European premiere: Multimedia concert Visual Reality of Music
Alexei Botvinov (piano), vs. VJS VIDEOMATICS
Odessa, Great Philharmonic Hall, October 3, 2008

Miracles are next door

.Alexei Botvinov. A well-known pianist. Prizewinner of the international Rachmaninov competition. Honoured artist of Ukraine. According to western critics, the best performer of Rachmaninovs music in Europe, an inspired interpreter of Bach and Mozart. A musician of impeccable taste, style and moderation.

The stage is clad in black. The Pianist is dressed in black. The piano is black. The light makes out the Pianists hands, his face and the screen.
Behind the spectators there is an accumulation of equipment and two VJs. They have funny nicks- Rozumov and Spectrum. Remember them. Well hear about them yet, thats for sure. They seem ordinary DJ boys wearing T-shirts with the usual symbols young people wear, a can of pepsi at hand Their eyes are different though. Sort of deep, understanding eyes. And something amazingly grown-up and wise. An inner peace.
During the whole concert they create on the screen a world of their own, parallel to the music that is performed. A particular form that reflects the sounds, the sensitive, keen young mens particular look multiplied by the open nerve of the Pianist himself, his experience and knowledge in the field of the harmonious unity of colour and sound.
The pianist and the VJs seem to take one by the hand and invite to follow them, as if saying: see if your own thoughts, associations, feelings, or memories come alive.
All this in order to find a way, make at least a narrow path to the hearts of those who never, on no condition, used to listen to serious music before.
No one, no person whose soul is alive can stay indifferent to such impulses. The Pianist is sure of it.

. the other one, Botvinov: his sound flows in iridescence, babbles like a brook, dingles and rolls, scintillates with precious stones, rustles and winds, laughs and cries a living, three- dimensional, overwhelming sound
The Pianist called the visual track of one of Rachmaninovs preludes a requiem for the Silver Age. In fact, those visual fragments just complemented what could be guessed anyway: the shadows of great poets, of enchanting and mysterious women, the shape of Sergei Rachmaninov himself, against a colourless, dismal train station, Sergei Rachmaninov leaving Russia, in sorrow and bitterness.

The public was charmed. Half of the audience were people who had never attended a classical music concert; what matters is that they were mostly young. They didnt let the last sound fade away, they applauded every piece enthusiastically.
The main sensation was that of attending something new, something that hadnt existed before but came to be, and would stay, no doubt. And even a few missed connections (if any), inherent in any experiment, spoke only of the wonders still hidden in the previously latent possibility to combine great music with the unbelievable achievements of multimedia.

Yesterday I saw a complicated and amazing kind of reality. We were guided there by music by Bach, Skriabin, Rachmaninov, the Israeli Odessan Ian Freidlin, the deceased Crimean genius Alexandr Karamanov, performed by Alexei Botvinov and the Videomatics VJs.

Marianna Goncharova