Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alexander Paley

I've been feeling terrible about not remembering here the name of the lovely American pianist who had played the Choral Fantasy so beautifully in Vilnius a few years ago. Does not help when I typed 'American pianist vilnius' I almost only found my own writings. What I did however also find was my culture corner writings in the British Chamber of Commerce newspaper here. Since I'm no longer a member of that organisation (I'm away too often) it's nice to get to see what I wrote. I'm always surprised that they print everything I write because sometimes I go a bit close to the bone on some people....

Anyway, I then took a look at my own archive of cultural articles and found him. 'Tis Alexander Paley. He apparently is from Moldova, but I know that he studied in Moscow - a flautist I know studied there at the same time as Paley.

Paley plays the piano for fun, I think. One time I heard him and his flautist friend (and her violist husband[?]) in Druskininkai, a tiny but up and coming spa town in the south of Lithuania (see my photos). Faced by a rather elderly piano, he had to give up all ideas of Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy. Big shame! Afterwards he chatted with the many Russian-Jewish guests who had been taking the waters of Druskininkai. Though they criticised that the concert announcements were not in Russian, only in Lithuanian.

His Choral Fantasy that time in 2006 was absolutely brilliant. It was as if he was jamming with the orchestra! Beethoven has chucked in a lot of balls to be played backwards and forwards with the orchestra, and he just lightly kicked them back into touch, with a big smile on his face. Whereas Krainev was glued to his music, delegating his emoting to his page turner, Paley hung in his chair totally relaxed, every now and again reaching over to the piano and putting in his two pennies' worth. The Lithuanian audience loves him, and quite justifiably! I hope I will see and hear him again soon!