Ilya Poletaev

"...Tannery Pond Concerts is similarly comfortable, even familial. I was very privileged to hear two superb young Russian-born pianists there in the barn of the Darrow School in New Lebanon, Mass. It would be hard to think of two more different approaches to piano playing than was on display in these concerts. Vassily Primakov was the very model of the Russian virtuoso, although with a lyrical tinge. He tried to help us like the Schumann Sonata no. 3 in F minor, op. 14, a piece that has never been able to compete with the great Fantasie in C, and he made a passionate case for it, but I was not convinced. A listener ahead of me explained that there were just too many notes. Not really - just not the right notes in the right shape to keep us rolling along with it. Again this was no fault of Mr. Primakov's. When Mr. Primakov got to the Rachmaninoff Preludes, there was a kind of measured magnificence to his physical playing. There was no banging. His virtuosity was a several thing, not just an impressive thing. Each prelude emerged with my knowing precisely what the pianist meant. Ilya Poletaev played an entirely different program in a very different way. An expert harpsichordist, he played Bach on the piano as well as any I have heard. The Allemande in the Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828, played with all the repeats, was an apotheosis of the spiritual dance. This pianist can play with a kind of lightness that makes the piano an old instrument. All that he played was deeply considered. There was nothing there to provide a cheap thrill. His intelligence was luminous”.

Keith Kibler, Berkshire Review for the Arts
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