By Veronika Artemieva
Sergey Smirnov’s solo piano concert, organised by the La Vie En Musique — LVEM French-Belarusian musical association, was hugely successful with the French audience. Some were allured by his romantic performance of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2 while others were enchanted with Songs by a Venetian Gondolier by Mendelssohn and Barcarole from Tchaikovsky’s Seasons.
The central place in the evening programme was occupied by Reminiscences de Don Juan (Recollection of Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni) by Liszt. The scale and perfect feeling of dramaturgy helped our pianist create a powerful and fascinating performance, to the surprise of the audience.
The programme also included works by Georgy Sosnovsky, a Belarusian composer who resides in Paris and heads the French-Belarusian musical association. His Ocean was heartily greeted by the public, who noted its faithful representation of the roaring element.
Sergey Smirnov is a graduate of the Belarusian Academy of Music, specialising in the piano. He was a pupil of Prof. Vladimir Nekhaenko and now lives and works in Paris, accompanied by his family. Sergey believes that the Belarusian musical school is one of the strongest in the world. “I’m proud that I represent Belarus and try to underline this with my creative activity,” he notes. The concert was organised at the Place de la Concorde (Square of Peace) at the Residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Forces of France.
This is not the first experience of co-operation between the musical association and the French Naval Ministry, which occupies one of the most beautiful palaces in the French capital. Constructed between 1757 and 1774, it was designed by architect Gabriel to house royal property: decorations, books, tapestries and furniture. In 1789, the palace became home to the Naval Ministry. Several years ago, its interior halls received a facelift, with various architectural and finishing details restored. Gold-leaf wall-mounted decorations were restored to their former glory and certain rooms were opened to the public in their original splendour.
The palace is generally closed to public visits but often hosts receptions, organised by the Ministry or by organisations with which it co-operates. La Vie En Musique — LVEM is one such. Once a year, it organises a musical evening for the benefit of two medical foundations, and to support young musicians.