Back stage with Vladimir Feltsman

By Miles Cohen on January 13, 2009

To my PCMS Patrons: It has been a while since I last chatted with you - my apologies!  Ten Dollar Day was a rousing success and the first half of our season concluded with a Tokyo Quartet performance at the Kimmel Center - this stellar performance had people walking up to Bradford and me stating that the playing of this ensemble has never sounded better (we agree!).

All of us at PCMS went into the holiday break on a real "high" - very excited for the start of the 2009 Season.   Not to disappoint, pianist Vladimir Feltsman kicked off January with a superb recital. Not only was the concert sold-out but the audience was attentive and engaged, concluding with a rare performance (on our series) of Schumann's Carnaval.

What many in the audience were unaware of - was that all day and night Mr. Feltsman had been battling sever back pain. So bad that I was not sure the concert would continue after the first half. However, despite Mr. Feltsman's struggles to stand, he summoned all his strength and went back out on stage. 

Earlier in the day I asked Mr. Feltsman if he could explain why he thought his performance of Schumann's Carnaval was only the third time in 23 seasons that PCMS an artist perform this incredible piece - especially when all of the other large Schumann works (Fantasy in C MajorKreislerianaDavidsbí¼ndlertänze) had been performed at least twice as often. Mr. Feltsman shook his head a bit and explained how Carnaval used to be a very popular piece but may have fallen out of favor in modern times - possibly seen as a less mature work than his other larger-scale pieces. 

Backstage, after the concert, Mr. Feltsman took a deep breath and exhaled a sigh of relief - very happy to be back in Philadelphia in a hall he is quite fond of and with an audience with whom he feels a deep connection.