In the simplicity of Francks Prelude, and in his ability to reveal complex part-writing carefully and produce colour, Hayroudinoff displayed many of his virtues a sound technique, an interest in imitating the sound-worlds of other instruments and ability to think-through a melodic line.
If there was a want of anything, it was originality, and this, sadly, was to make Hayroudinoffs Schumann difficult listening. Technically, it was impressive Etude IX, with its fleet, effortlessly controlled descending chords and perfectly shaped left-hand countermelody, was superb. Almost all Schumann is difficult to bring off. He was entirely transparent in exposing his intellectual and emotional weaknesses in his music. Playing him is like being the supportive friend of a tortured artist he requires sympathetic treatment and careful advocacy. Hayroudinoff played these variations far too straight. Etude I requires wit, II poetry and III the most careful exploitation of arpeggiated filigree; under Hayroudinoffs hands it became more and more a technical exercise. Including the posthumous variations and the full version of the finale added nothing to the interpretation.
In Gaspard, Ondine was notably successful from Hayroudinoff, not least the shimmer of piano texture (in representing water) and the otherworldly strangeness of the depicted nymph. Le Gibet and Scarbo, however, did not have the level of uncanny menace and supernatural unease to match Hayroudinoffs admirable virtuosity.
In Shostakovich, the mixture of burlesque and simplicity made it impossible for Hayroudinoff to persist with too intractable or a bullish an approach; there was more contact with the audience. Rachmaninov too easily degenerated into bombast, not fancy. If only the recital had had the wit and imagination of the very last phrase Hayroudinoff played, the end of his encore (Rachmaninovs Prelude Op.32/12) trailing off into the air with a lightness that belied the overall complexity of its textures.
I have to mention Hayroudinoffs wonderfully eccentric programme notes. Some discussion of where and why he decided to interpolate Schumanns extra variations would have been welcome. The highlight was undoubtedly his reproduction of Richters comment that the Etudes-tableaux must be played emotionally naked. Here, Hayroudinoff was hoisted by his own petard. His recital was over-dressed in the performers case literally; his perspiration necessitated several visits from someone to wipe the pianos keys. Hayroudinoff relied too much on his fingers, and too little on his heart. He doesnt need to impress any more; now he can beguile. In interview, in fleeting acquaintance, in recordings and in flashes in performance, Hayroudinoff is a man of modesty and humanity, one who feels earnestly and deeply. It is these feelings that he should share in his playing.
- Rustem Hayroudinoff has recorded a CD of Shostakovichs Theatre Music CHANDOS CHAN 9907