The concert advertised by the Israel Festival as including the “Winner of the Rubinstein Competition” turned out to be a quiz; one had to guess both the winner’s name and the works he performed. This information was nowhere to be found in the program notes, even though there had been adequate time between the awarding of the prize and the concert to include it. Only some on-the-spot investigation by those with connections to the secret services revealed the winner’s name: Antony Barislevsky.

His performed works were Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. (These were in fact marginal additions to a regular Israel Camerata subscription concert, conducted by Vakhtang Kakhidze.) Barislevsky’s rendition of the Mozart concerto was accurate, with all notes where they belonged. As this seems to be the main criteria of many music competition juries, it is no wonder that such a pianist won the competition. Neither he nor the jury seem to care about emotional expression, artistic subtleties and personal touch. Prizeworthy or not, his was comme il faut playing – just as competition juries expect. In the Mussorgsky work, Barislevsky seemed to feel more at home, storming ahead with much brutal banging on the helpless piano.

To conclude, the Israel Festival had better be more careful about hiring as-yet unknown entities.

Noteworthy in the rest of the concert was the clarinet duo Gurfinkel that performed a concerto for two clarinets by Franz Krommer with remarkable elegance and virtuosity.

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