The Down Beat Goes On - But Not Here
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 09:19 AM
Up until a few weeks ago, you'd hear a generous amount of recordings from pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev. But now that Pletnev is under investigation for child rape in Thailand his voice has been silenced in concert halls and on the radio – in the U.S. and U.K that is. But back home in Russia, and elsewhere his beat marches on. Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra 20 years ago and its season kicked off this month as planned with Pletnev on the podium.
Over thirty years ago, Pletnev won the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition and he has since been celebrated for his recordings of piano music by Scarlatti, Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven. His specialty, however, is music by Tchaikovsky. His recordings of the six Tchaikovsky symphonies with the RNO were critically acclaimed.
Oddly enough, Pletnev is charged with the same behavior that Tchaikovsky was suspected of, and which some believe led to the great composer’s mysterious death. If found guilty Pletnev would serve up to 20 years in jail. I'd imagine concert programmers around the world are awaiting the trial and verdict and until he's exonerated, don’t expect to hear his Tchaikovsky, Beethoven or Scarlatti in a concert hall or on a radio station near you.
Do you want to hear Pletnev on the radio? In a case like this are you willing to separate the art from the artist?