August 2011 Convention
Charlotte, NC

Headliner Recital: Maxim Rubtsov

Maxim Rubstov, Sergei, Kvitko

photo by Leonard Garrison

Maxim Rubtsov, the young and personable principal flutist of the Russian National Orchestra, gave this recital of “Russian Romance” with Russian-American pianist Sergei Kvitko, a sensitive partner. Rubtsov has an informal and disarming stage presence, at times sauntering around the stage as he plays. His tone is delicate and flexible, and he dares at times to play with a “frozen” sound, pianissimo and without vibrato. He has a habit of directing heavenly high notes to the ceiling. His program consisted of lighter salon-style works, some that he transcribed from a collection at the Library of Congress, played with sensitivity and nuance. His sense of humor emerged in an improvised cadenza for “The Nightingale” by Aliab’ev and in the fastest “Flight of the Bumblebee” ever heard. The charming Neo-classical Suite in Olden style is uncharacteristic of the usually thorny Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke. The  Divertimento in E Major by the flutist’s friend Andrey Rubtsov sounds like a movie score with pop-influenced harmonies. Most moving was the “Stalactites” by Sergei Taneyev, somewhere between Debussy and Skryabin, and the Romance, “Nostalgia,” by Rubtsov’s teacher Yuri Dolzhihov.

—Leonard Garrison