Brand new film about Vladimir Ashkenazy on TV tonight - ! BBC4TV at 7.30, posssibly also live streaming online. This film was only released on October 1st. Ashekenazy plays Rachmaninov's Corelli Variations, a late piece written in exile. Ashekenazy says this isn't the usual expansive, ebullient Rachmaninov we're used to. Rachmaninov's identity was so connected to Russia that when he was forced into exile, something in him broke. "The Corelli Variations have “idiomatic eloquence”, but the “Harmony closes in and becomes darker”, says Askenazy on the short commentary film. He then plays the main lyrical part, but even this ember of happiness is tinged with melancholy. “There is not a shred of hope”, he comments. The piece was inspired by a legend about a shepherd committing suicide because he lost the one he loved. Perhaps for Rachmaninov, exile was a kind of creative suicide. But it's a lovely piece - listen..
Fortunately exile isn't quite as traumatic for Ashkenazy, but he too feels the pull of the Russian soul. Again, watch the film and see why. Read more here :