Aram Khachaturian Cello Competition: Day 5

Today has been the kind of day I feel most at ease with.

An interview in the morning (one I pitched for on the day after I arrived, snatched conversations with today’s finalists, a podcast edit (I’ve decided to put out three/four separate Yerevan podcasts this week and next week – keep an eye out for them on Spotify), and an hour in a concert hall listening to Khachaturian’s Concerto-Rhapsody and his Cello Concerto.

It was also the day that more Media Types joined the throng. One from the UK, another from Brazil, and a third from Poland.

There’s a blog post in draft about the experience of being in the company of the jury. I’m glad I’ve struggled with it and not published it yet, because only an hour in the company of the other Media Types this afternoon confirmed that I do feel far more at ease with them than I do with elite musicians.

It’s an odd thing – you’d think it would be the other way around really. But there we are.

I went to the Philharmonic Hall for the first final this evening expecting an event. As it turned out, it felt like less of an event and more of a select gathering. Familiar faces from the first and second rounds sat in the rows behind me. A surprisingly relaxed atmosphere.

Watch the video for my thoughts on the two performances from Russian cellists and former Tchaikovsky Competition participants Fedor Amosov and Rustem Khallidullin. We’re at the stage now where I think its fair to say that whoever is chosen from the four is a reflection of personal taste, and/or the result of how a jury reaches a consensus or an agreement.

I suppose what that really means is that all four are instrumentalists worth discovering already.

Fedor has a few albums on Spotify already – the Boccherini is worth a listen.

Rustem isn’t on Spotify as yet, but there are a handful of videos of him from the past few years – the Rococo Variations is a bit of a treat and gives you an idea of why he’s such a captivating watch, not least the moment when he struggles momentarily to reach a note close to the bridge. Massively cool. 

The most surprising thing today? Meeting two people working for Medici TV. I’ve always held Medici as a better offering over say the Berlin Phil’s Digital Concert Hall offering. That its production is actually down to a lean team of producers and camerapeople is mind boggling and proof that TV doesn’t need armies of people to make it happen. When Medici releases a Connected TV app then they’ll secure their cornered market and make me a very happy chap.

Watch all of the daily reports from the Aram Khachaturian Cello Competition in this YouTube Playlist.

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