August 07, 2005

悼蘇塔諾夫On Memory of Alexei Sultanov

昨天下午,米奇和我在百忙之中,抽空到某購物中心去,就因為有間CD店正在大清倉,所有CD都以5歐元或10歐元的價格拍賣,在CD平均價格17歐元的義大利,豈能錯過這麼好康的事!
Regardless of our busy work, we took the chance to go to a shopping mall in Vicenza yesterday afternoon because there’s a CD shop doing liquidizing sale. An album is sold at 5 or 10 Euro. The average price of CD in Italy is 17 Euro. Of course we couldn’t lose this great opportunity!!

進到店裡,我馬上走到古典音樂區,一塊塊地翻遍了所有CD,挑出了四塊寶貝,其中,又以蘇塔諾夫彈奏的柴可夫斯基第一號鋼琴協奏曲和拉赫曼尼諾夫第二號鋼琴協奏曲,最是讓我驚喜。我從來都不知道,他也有錄製CD…
When I walked into the shop, I went immediately to the classical music section. Looking album by album, I picked up four CDs. The most “surprising” one is the Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 and Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2, performed by Alexei Sultanov. I never knew that Sultanov also has CD recordings.

第一次看到蘇塔諾夫彈鋼琴,是在1986年柴可夫斯基大賽上。看似生澀的他,當時只有十七歲,卻能進入高手雲集的大賽,還打進的準決賽,那時正讀小學又習琴的我,對他彈奏的蕭邦簡直是崇拜到不行,只可惜他那次未能進入決賽,鍛羽而歸。
The first time I saw him playing piano is at the Tschaikovsky Piano Competition in 1986. With a young age of 17 years old he was able to enter this international competition, and even arrived the semi-final. His performance of Chopin has made a great impression on me. It’s a pity that he didn’t make it to the final round…

再次聽到他的消息,是在許多年以後。當時的我已經上了大學,雖然漸漸離開了鋼琴的世界,仍然是古典鋼琴音樂會的常客。某次在傳單上看到「蕭邦大賽銀牌獎」、「范克來本大賽金牌獎」的頭銜,二話不說馬上邀了朋友和老哥,一起去買了門票。看著節目單上的照片,我腦海中浮現了柴氏大賽裡的那個小伙子,原來是他~~~果然在鋼琴界大放異彩,也讓我深深慶幸自己沒有錯過這場音樂會。然而,當晚的音樂會卻讓人有些失望,雖然技巧絕頂讓人無話可說,不過爆裂的音色卻讓人不敢恭維,彈奏起李斯特的魔鬼圓舞曲,真的像是鬼打架,跟我印象中的他,差了十萬八千里!仔細讀了節目單,才知道他的演奏生涯,因為健康問題而被迫停擺,該此演出,是在他復出樂壇的不久之後。(註)
The next time I heard of his news was about ten years later. I was in university. Though I gradually left the piano world, I went to piano recitals very often. I remember seeing on a flyer phrases like winner of “Chopin competition silver medal” and “Van Cliburn competition gold medal”. Or course I wouldn’t miss it. So I invited a friend and my brother to come along and got the tickets. Seeing the photo in the program, it reminded me the young guy in the Tschaikovsky. It’s Him!! So he did start his career as a professional pianist! I felt lucky that I didn’t miss the recital. However, the performance of that time was a bit disappointing. Though he’s got outstanding techniques but I didn’t enjoy his somehow violent timber. His Menphisto Waltz was like “fighting with ghosts”!! That’s not the Sultanov in my memory. I spent some time reading the program, and got to know that his career was forced to stop temporarily because of “health problem”. (Note) He just re-started his musical tour not long ago…

以前從來沒有動過找蘇塔諾夫CD的念頭,也許因為從來沒有聽說,也沒看到過。這次趁著店裡出清不小心找到,讓我真是如獲至寶,今天迫不及待地打開來聽,乾淨且控制得道的音色,以及流暢的音樂,那是我印象中的蘇塔諾夫!果然,錄音是在1990年,剛得到大獎沒多久。興之所至,我上了咕狗大師,找一找這位讓我心儀的音樂家,現在到底到哪裡去了。
I’ve never thought of looking for his CD recordings, probably because I’ve never heard of it or seen it with my eyes. So I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found it in the shop. I listened to it this afternoon. The touch is clean and well-controlled and the music is fluent and flowing. That’s the Sultanov in my memory. The CD was published in 1990, not long after he won the prize. I thought of finding some other works of him and what he’s up to at the moment, so I searched his name on Google.

進了第一個跳出來的網站,寫著「紀念蘇塔諾夫生日,特別節目…」繼續往下讀,「一顆巨星的殞落…」一開始,我也許是拒絕相信自己眼睛所看到的,不過定下心來繼續讀著,我懂了,眼眶也溼熱了起來~~~他走了,就在今年六月三十日,享年三十五歲。讀著網站上紀錄的點點滴滴,聽著他在輝煌時期的錄音,我心裡頭,只有天妒英才之憾…
The first site that appeared on the net showed “in memory of Sultanov’s birthday, there’s a special program…” I kept reading and saw “a bright star has gone from this earthly plane…” At the beginning I probably refused to believe what I read, but as I kept going I came to understand… and my eyes were wet… He’s gone. On June 30. He’s only 35 years old…Reading pages and bits on the site and listening to the recording of his golden age, it reminded me what Bernard Shaw said to the great violinist Heifetz, “If you provoke a jealous God by playing with such superhuman perfection, you will die young…”

註:後來跟老哥聊起來,才知道蘇塔諾夫第一次因為所謂的健康問題暫停演出,其實是因為身為空手道黑段高手的他,在練習劈磚的時候‘不慎’傷了手…鋼琴家練空手道,這我還是第一次聽說。小道消息來源,是留學俄羅斯、跟蘇塔諾夫同門的某華裔鋼琴家。
Note: I called my brother right after I got the news. He told me that the first time Sultanov stopped his musical career was due to the fact that he broke his hand/arm during karate practice! Pianist and karate… that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of it. The news came from another Chinese pianist who has followed the same maestro as Sultanov in Russia.

1 comment:

Yusuke said...

I am a supporter of Alexei Sultanov. Today I happened to find this entry and can not help saying great thanks to you for writing a touching article. I hope you do not forget him and try to listen to his CD once in a while.

I may add that he stopped his musica career not because he broke his arm by Karate, but because he had terrible stroke(subdural hematoma) and his left side of the body had paralyzed. He worked on his rehabilitation hard and finally he could be back to the stage as a pianist even though he could use only his right hand. He gave us the message that anything can do if we try something on the "Never Give Up" spirit.