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  Alexei's music has reached individuals of all ages, races, nationalities, faiths, abilities, and aspirations. Thousands of people have sent e-mails and letters before and since Alexei's death, filled with prayers and support, and stories of how Alexei continues to touch the lives of people around the world.

 

 
 

03.2006  Janis Abele

Laiks! Kas ir laiks? Laiks, tas ir bezgaliiba, tas ir tuvu, tas ir taalu. Laiks skrien, laiks staav. Laiks rada prieku, skumjas, laiks meklee, laiks atrod. Laiks stabilizee, nostiprina, laiks arii grauj un posta. Laiks atbild uz daudziem jautaajumiem, laiks atstaaj muus nezinjaa, nesaprashanaa.Laiks aarstee, laiks saglabaa. Laiks saglabaa cilveeka paveikto,laiks to arii izniicina. Laiks saglabaa Lielu Cilveeku radoshaas veertiibas, laiks shiis veertiibas ar lielaako prieku un labpatiku , jau daudz nopietnaakaa un izteiksmiigaakaa veidolaa pasniedz paareejiem cilveekiem, radot tiem prieku, baudu, gariigo liidzsvaru. Mees varam tikai nonjemt cepures sho Lielo Cilveeku priekshaa, kuri atnaak kaa komeetas, noshokee parastos cilveecinjus un aiziet turpinaat veel augstaakaa pakaapee.

 

Toreiz, tajos senajos Daces Maskavas studiju laikos, kad miiljaa meitinja aizbrauca uz sveshatni turpinaat lielo muuzikas studeeshanu, atnaaca veests, ka Dacei uzradies draugs. Protams, teevam liela ruupe, kaads nu buus shis jaunais cilveeks. Un tad pienaaca diena, kad kravaaju savu somu un pirmo reizi braucu uz Maskavu. Kas gan mani tur sagaida? Stacijaa Dace jau priekshaa, ejam pa ielu, prasu - kur Aljosha? Kaut kaadaas dariishanaas, bet buushot. Taa ejam, ejam , runaajam, te pieskrien kaads sprigans, jauns cilveeks - sveiki, sveiki, esmu Aljosha! Man mute valjaa, visa ieprieksh sagatavotaa runa izkuup gaisaa. Viss notiek kaa pasakaa - atnaaca , ieraudziija un uzvareeja!

Naakoshais paarsteigums bija skolas beigshanas klavieru eksaamenaa. Seezham, klausaamies kaa speelee skolas beidzeeji, te uznaak Aljosha un visu paareejo speele atvirzaas malaa, vinjsh nospiid kaa spozha zvaigzne, visus satriecot ar savu meistariibu.

 

Tad sekoja 1995. gada 23. decembrii jauks uzaicinaajums uz Milaanu - La Skalaa speelees Aljosha !!! Priekshsveetku noskanjojums, Milaanas skaistums, un tad koncerta diena ! Teatris paarpildiits, jauka sveetku atmosfeera. Saakaas ! Pirmajaa daljaa speeleeja franchu pianists Philips Giusiano. Paartraukums. Saakas otraa dalja - raitaa solii uz skatuves uznaak Aljosha, apseezhas un saak speeleet. Kas tad tas? Jautaaju savam Bebiisham, vai tieshaam starpbriidii nomainiitas klavieres? Nee , esot taas pashas uz kuraam speeleeja ieprieksheejais maakslinieks. Izraadaas, ka vainiigs tas pats Aljosha - pavisam cita skanja, cits piesitiens, citas emocijas - juuties kaa citaa pasualee, paarnjem neaprakstaamas sajuutas ! Peec savas spozhaas uzstaashanaas,lielais maakslinieks paargjeerbjas un atkal ir tas pats vienkaarshais jaunais cilveeks, kaadu satiku pirmo reizi ierodoties Maskavaa.

 

Un tad pienaaca 1996. gada 18. augusts, diena, kad Aljosha pirmo reizi ieradaas Riigaa. Sirsniiga sagaidiishana, kas izveershas lielos sveetkos, jautriiba sit augstu vilni - anekdotes, pastaasti, izdariibas ! Un tad slavenais brauciens uz "Skujinjaam". Aljosham par godu izbruuveets maajas alus, izkurinaata pirts, sabraukushi cieminji. Iebrauc mikrinjsh, no taa, apkraavies pakaam, pacinjaam, kasteem, kastiiteem, izkaapj Aljosha. Viesiibu dveesele, kaa vienmeer, Aljosha ar savu aspraatiibu, aizrautiibu, lielisko humoru ! Vakars saulains, silts un reti jauks. Nolemjam doties ekskursijaa pa Daugmali, aizbraucam uz Daugmales pilskalnu - fantastisks skats, saule riet maakonjos, tuvojas kreesla. Kaads lielisks dabas baudiijums ! Braucam taalaak uz Daugavas krastu, no kura labi redzamas pirmaas muura bazniicas drupas Latvijaa. Aljoshu paarnjem doma izpeetiit shos muurus tuvaak un vinjsh metas uudenii. Attaalums liels - kaadi 700 metri, bet tas Aljosham liekas tiirais nieks, vinjsh un Kaspars paarliecinoshi peld paari. Tikushi otraa krastaa, abi prieciigi lozhnjaa pa drupaam, bet mees , paliceeji shajaa krastaa, satraucamies, kaa gan vinji tiks atpakalj. Skrienu mekleet tuvaakaas maajaas laivu. Kameer atrodu, atbraucu, abi peldeetaaji, staastiidami anekdotes un skalji smejoties, veiksmiigi atpeldeejushi atpakalj un tagad zobojas par muusu satraukumu. Taa beidzaas shis lieliskais vakars.Peec shiis reizes sekoja veel vairaaki citi braucieni un pikniki ar pasaulee visgarshiigaakiem Aljoshas gatavotajiem shashlikiem .Par lielu piedziivojumu izveertaas labas galjas mekleeshana. Ejam pa tirgu, mekleejam galju, Aljosha aprunaajas ar vienu, otru paardeveeju, paarbauda, kas der, kas neder, liidz atrod to pareizo, iisto gabalu. Un taa kaartiigi apkraameejushies varam doties maajup, gatavot shiis bezgala garshiigaas delikateses. Un kur nu veel pareiza kveelojoshu oglju sagatavoshana un galjas uzdurshana uz iesmiem. Neiztika arii bez plova gatavoshanas. Lai izgatavotu labu plovu, nepiecieshami ne tikai labi produkti, bet arii labs inventaars. Tika atrasts un nopirkts specials chuguna katls. Plovs bija jaaeed ar pirkstiem, Aljosha aizliedza lietot jebkaadus galda piederumus, un peec shaadaam dziireem visi bija taukainaam rokaam un muteem.Plovu "noskalot"driiksteeja ar karstu teeju vai sarkano viinu.

 

Aljosha ir ierakstiijis ljoti spilgtu, neizdzeeshamu lappusi muusu visu dziivee. Unikaalas ir vinja zinaashanas gandriiz visaas jomaas un uz jebkuru jautaajumu vinjam vienmeer bija atbilde.

 

Aljosha atnaaca kaa akmenjkalis, kursh ar savu kaltu un aamuru prata izkalt neiedomaajami skaistu teelu,kas paarsteidza visu pasauli ar milziigo talantu, vienkaarshiibu, skaistumu un vienreiziigumu

 

Janis

 

 

01.2006  Evgeny Kissin

Поистине никто не знает, что нас ждёт, и надо дорожить каждым днём , каждой минутой , отпущенной нам на этой Земле. Когда в середине 90-х годов нам с  Алёшей  Султановым  не было и  30-ти

И во время моего визита в Форт-Уорс мы вместе веселились , шумели и радовались жизни – мог ли представить себе ,что всего 10 лет спустя буду писать о нём воспоминания…?

Впервые я услышал об Алёше задолго до того ,как услышал его игру. В то время мы оба были ещё детьми ,и имя Алексея Султанова становилось всё более и более известным в музыкальных кругах бывшего Советского Союза. У меня в памяти остался такой отзыв: «Парень необычайно пианистичный , с громадной экспрессией ».

Затем был 8 – ой Международный конкурс им. Чайковского в Москве ( 1986-г. ), героем которого фактически стал Алёша ,хотя он и не получил на том конкурсе лауреатского звания.

Всего за несколько дней до его выступления на 1-туре,во время одной из репетиций крышка рояля упала прямо на палец. В результате- перелом. Сразу же по Москве поползли слухи ,что

Несмотря на тяжелейшую травму , Султанов намерен участвовать

в конкурсе . Моя учительница Анна Павловна Кантор, столкнувшись с Алёшей около Большого Зала Московской Консерватории ( где проходил конкурс) после очередной репетиции, спросила его: « Ну что, будешь играть?»- и он ответил:

« Должен !».

И вот настал день выступления. В конце Алёшиной программы 1-го тура – 2-я и 3-я части бетховенской « Аппассионаты ».После каждой пьесы Алёша уходил за сцену , где ему делали обезболивающие уколы , затем снова возвращался быстрым и стремительным шагом , садился за рояль , немедленно начинал играть и – масштабный пианизм , громадная экспрессия , сгусток энергии , темперамента , всесокрушающей воли – и ни одной неискренной ноты.

Потом в газете « Комсомольская правда » появилась статья под названием « « Аппассионата» не отменяется », из которой мы узнали о том , что действия анестезии не хватало на 2-ю и 3-ю части бетховенского шедевра : « Последние такты Алёша играл живыми, всё чувствовавшими руками ».

То был первый удар судьбы Алексея Султанова -  и он по –бетховенски  « схватил судьбу за глотку » и победил.

Через 2 года – триумфальная победа на Международном Конкурсе им. Ванна Клиберна в Форт – Уорсе ,принёсшая Султанову мировую известность. Вскоре после этого состоялась наша первая встреча. Мой приятель привёл меня в общежитие Московской консерватории , где они оба с Султановым в то время учились.

В одной из комнат собралась компания , и через какое-то время открылась дверь и вошёл  Алёша. Увидев меня , он с неподдельной

( подделываться  он вообще не умел – это может подтвердить любой , знавший Алёшу ) радостно закричал : « Женька ! Столько твоих дисков и в Нью – Йорке и в Форт – Уорсе! » ( в то время я ещё не выступал в Америке , но мои записи там уже продовались) –

и стал рассказывать о клиберновском конкурсе -  живо , горячо ,

остроумно , не упуская случая посмеяться над самим собой ( что ему вообще было свойственно – вовсе не из кокетства , а потому ,

что именно таким он был ). Помню его рассказ о том , как во время исполнения обязательного произведения современного композитора ( которое Алёша с присущей ему искренностью охарактеризовал последними словами ; как я узнал потом , он и в Америке во время конкурса говорил всем то же самое ,невзирая на 

 « высокий статус » автора того опуса ) он позабыл текст и сыграл идущий вверх пассаж как бы « с раскачки », после чего советский член жюри заявил : « Какая оригинальная трактовка ! ».

Несколько лет спустя судьба забросила нас обоих в Америку – уже на постоянное жительство . Обосновались мы в этой огромной стране  на расстоянии нескольких тысяч миль друг от друга

( Алёша – в Форт – Уорсе , я – в Нью – Йорке ) и потому увиделись за все эти годы один лишь раз - после одного из моих концертов в Форт – Уорсе . Войдя в артистическую перед концертом , я увидел

букет цветов от Алёши с пожеланиями успеха ( согласитесь, мало кто из нашей музыкальной братии способен на такой жест по отношению к коллеге! ) , а после концерта – приём в частном доме ,на котором Алёша был поистине душой общества и снова развлекал всех присутствующих своими рассказами. И снова – веселье , смех ( в том числе и над самим собой ) , доброта , искренность и настоящее кипение жизни , воплощение жизнелюбия. Кто бы тогда мог вообразить , что всего через несколько лет именно его , Алёшу , разобьёт паралич и он уже никогда не встанет на ноги…

Все те годы , что Алёша был прикован к постели , люди говорили:

« Какой  бедный парень – и какая же необыкновенная у него жена! Какая преданная , любящая , самоотверженная женщина!». Теперь, когда Алёши не стало ,Даце посвящает свою жизнь увековечиванию его памяти. В необыкновенной душевной доброте и отзывчивости  этой женщины мне довелось убедится лично.

В последний свой приезд в Форт – Уорс ( в апреле 2003-го г. ) ,

сразу по прибытии я слёг в постель с гриппом ,с высокой температурой , и не смог сыграть запланированный концерт. У меня был номер телефона Султановых , и я позвонил по нему , чтобы справится об Алёше. Мы с Даце совершенно не были знакомы , но узнав ,что я болен ,она, несмотря на то , что у неё  на руках был парализованный , нуждающийся в ежесекундном уходе

Алёша , немедленно прислала мне в гостиницу бутылку какого – то целебного сока…

 

Злая судьба всё –таки нанесла Алёше смертельный удар в самом

расцвете лет – но нет в мире силы , способной погубить его

 музыку ,  память об этом замечательном человеке и любовь к нему всех тех , кто его знал.

              

 Е. Кисин.

 

 

01.2006 Sasha Korsantya

Now, while trying to put together some episodes from the wide and deep pull of memories, which I associate with Aliosha, I realize how hard this task is. It feels like starting a book. Guess why? Because Aliosha’s huge personality. Instead of writing funny, scattered episodes from the experiences of our friendship, I want rather to express my feelings about this unique man.

 

Somehow I truly feel that his spirit is very much aware of anything that would interest him during his lifetime (like me writing now) and I would like to continue our confessions to each other like we used to as if he was sitting next to me.

 

Still, there are some episodes, which I would to share with you.

 

We are in “Six Flags of America” amusement park. I am totally petrified by only looking at the giant “swing” called “The Bomber”. Aliosha has tried it before and has an agenda to make me try it too. I am scared and stubborn, but not even close as stubborn as Aliosha. We negotiate for hours. He does win in the end but my condition is: Aliosha has to practice next day for 8 hours Rachmaninoff Third Concerto, the piece, which he soon will perform. He promised and swore that he will do it. Half dead, I am climbing in to the swing, which is pulled up about 120 feet. On the top I pull the release trigger and set us flying! I am the happiest man – I overcame my fear. Suddenly I want to repeat the experience and I do it again – without negotiation with Aliosha. Aliosha did it for me – not to make fun of me being terrified.

 

He always wanted to be first  - and he always was. He still is – listen to his recordings.

 

When Aliosha and Dace would come to our home in South Bend, IN to visit, it was clear even before they would arrive that they will be postponing their departure several – 3-5 – times. Because we all loved to be together. How can I forget New Years Eve at our house – huge party climaxing in pouring champagne and wine over each other – happiness also was pouring overboard.

 

He always wanted to astonish, amaze everyone. In the beginning of the one of my frequent visits to Sultanovs, Dace asked me to wait in the living room for Aliosha. I waited for couple of minutes and then realized that Aliosha is seating on the couch in the center of the room! He did a Ninja trick sneaking in when I wasn’t looking… or maybe it was magic!

 

01.2006  Rihards Rubins

Zvaigznes spiideejums.

Tev... man... Jums. Bet cik gan ilgi spilgta buusi? Ilgstamiiba tacu gurdina, remdina sajuusmu. Mirklja spozums, kritiens. Okeaans rada cildenuma, burviiguma iluuziju. Tuvina muus dieviskjam...

Filosofs, mediteejot refleksijaa... ir divi lieli nosleepumi - cilveeka buutiiba, suutiiba un zvaigznjota debess virs mums.

Agri vai veelu ar katru tas notiks, kaa parasti ne - Laikaa. Atveersies Muuziibaa durvis, viiteros putninjs mazs, dveesele pacelsies spaarnos, celju maajup rast...

Varbuut saciitaa lasiitaajs sajutiis Aljosa Sultanova likteni? Varbuut? Tacu vaardi, kaisiiti veejaa, maldina un mulsina. Nevar tacu aptvert neaptveramo, izjust to, kas nav lemts laiciigai buutnei. Taadaas reizees tas Kungs uzjautrinaas par savu beernu rotaljaam.

Izsenis zinaaju - Sultanovs ir muzikaals geenijs. Tuvplaanaa iepazinu Latvijaa, Liepaajaa, pilseetinaa Dzintarjuuras krastaa. Festivalaa, kuraa tiekas talantiigi pianisti no malu malaam. Taadu sniegumu dzirdeeju pirmo reizi. Liepaajnieki, celjoties kaajaas, applaudeeja - sajuusmas asaras aciis. Cuksts cuksteeja - mirkli, apstaajies, paliec ar mums - dod gariigo speeku nestundaa mums.

Dzirdeejis esmu - geenijiem esot kapriizes. Aljosa iznjeemums. Peec koncerta manas gimenes necilaa dziivoklii tikaamies pie kafijas tases. Nejausiiba, dziives karaliene, vienviet savedusi muuzikas draugus. Vinjs bija muuseejais - kaada pietaate, bijiiba pret citu domu, viedokli, maldiem. Taads pats cilveeks kaa mees visi, kopaa ar mums.

Kops taa briizja allaz intereseejos par Sultanova gaitaam, priecaajos par panaakumiem, satraucos par slimiibu. Ticeeju, ka labi buus... Druumos briizjos klausiijos Aljosa koncertu ierakstus.

Cik nezjeeliigi! Kaada netaisniiba ! Radiitaajs miil geenijus, agri njem pie sevis. Sagaadaajot milzu saapes pieluudzeejiem. Cik cildeni skaista ir kriitosa zvaigzne tumsaa naktii! Mirklis pirms Muuzjiibas. Taa buuveeta pasaule.

Vai dveesele nemirstiiga? Nezinu, domaaju, ticu un saubos. Senie miiti, seeraas tinusies veesta - vins joprojaam ir kopaa ar mums, tikai uz iisu briidi pagaajis saanis no dziives ugunskura. Netici - paklausies, ko staasta viljnju muuzika.

Old Rubin...Lapkritii

Taalu, taalu no Amerikas

 

English Translation

A Twinkling Star.

For you... For me... But how long can a star be twinkling? How long can rapture last? A twinkling,a shooting star; the ocean creates illusion of nobleness and magic; draws us nearer to the divine.

 

There are two great secrets - human mission and the starlit sky above us.

 

Sooner or later it will happen to everyone; as a rule- at the wrong Time. Eternity's Door will open, a little bird will sing, the soul will take wing - homewards...

 

Possibly the reader will sense Alexei ( Alyosha) Sultanov's fate. Possibly? Yet, the words, used lightly, lead astray and confuse. One can not grasp the matters which are beyond human understanding. At such times our Creator laughs at his childerns' imagination.

 

I knew long ago that Sultanov was a musical genius. I met him in Latvia, in Liepaja - at the Amber Sea at a festival for gifted pianists from everywhere. I had never heard such a performance. We stood up and applauded - with tears in our eyes. A whisper said - just a moment, stay with us, give us a stronghold for the future, for the difficult hour.

 

I have heard about the caprices of geniuses.. It was not the case with Alexei. After the concert we met in my family's modest appartment. As a matter of chance, friends of music had gathered there. He was one of us -he was completely accepting of the thoughts, opinions, falacies of each of the others there. A person like the other persons, he was truly among us. Since then, I have always taken an interest in Sultanov's life. I was worried about his serious disease and hoped that all would be well... At gloomy times I listened to records of Alexeei's concerts.

 

How cruel it is! What a travesty! The Creator likes geniuses and takes them early for Himself; creating grief for their admirers. How noble a shooting star in a dark night is ! A moment before Eternity; the world is made so. Is the soul immortal ? I dont know, I think, believe butI have doubts about it. The old myths say - he is still with us, only has he stepped aside from life`s bonfire for a moment. Don`t you believe me? Listen to what is said by music of the waves.

Old Rubin... In the fall, far away from America.

 

10.2005  Heinrcih Neuhaus

Султанов, которого мы потеряли

 

К сожалению, я не имел счастья слышать А. Султанова живьем. С 1980-го по 1991 годы я был тяжело болен, после смерти отца, С. Нейгауза, мной овладела тягчайшая депрессия, которая длилась 11 лет, и окончилась только после эмиграции. Но прекрасно помню, как Л. Н. и И. И. Наумовы говорили об очередном гении, появившемся в их «школе». После отъезда из России я занялся богословием, философией, журналистской деятельностью, параллельно давал концерты и незаметно перестал интересоваться пианистами вообще. Тем более, что сам по себе пианизм меня всегда раздражал (и продолжает раздражать). Единственное исключение я могу допустить только сейчас, прослушав записи ныне покойного Алексея.

Это не «фокусничанье», это не “эстрадное шоу”, это глубочайшее соответствие Музыки и ее адекватного исполнения. Это именно та музыкально-пианистическая одаренность, которой владели Бузони, Рахманинов, Горовиц… Пусть в моих устах этот постулат и прозвучит «ересью», но даже горовицевские вариации на тему из «Кармен», как мне кажется, Султанов исполняет лучше самого автора. (Как и обработку Второй рапсодии, впрочем). Потому что здесь мы слышим не виртуозность ради виртуозности, не «блеск и треск», а идеально отшлифованное  пианистическое мастерство, направленное на достижение подлинно музыкального содержания. Должен оговориться: мой отец как-то сказал об исполнении В. Горовицем  Второй сонаты Рахманинова: «Он играет ее лучше, чем она написана!» Не боясь преувеличений, могу сказать, что подобный афоризм приложим и к Султанову в горовицевских транскрипциях). И все же, мне особенно дорого исполнение Султановым Шопена. Не хочется противопоставлять шопенизм ныне покойного Алексея лучшему из лучших, на мой нескромный взгляд, шопенизму отца, но можно смело сказать: такое исполнение Шопена действительно имеет право на существование, более того, именно мне, 44-летнему «старичку» шопениана Султанова помогла справиться с собой и вернуться к исполнению польского гения после двадцатипятилетнего перерыва.  Такова связь ушедших из этой жизни с нами, еще живыми, таково их огромное влияние. Как жаль, что подобные озарения приходят только после смерти великих музыкантов… Но с нами – записи Алексея, и это как раз то минимальное счастье, которого мы удостоились. Я не советовал бы современным музыкантам слепо подражать Султанову, при всем его высочайшем профессионализме он – художник крайне субъективный. Но я искренне посоветовал бы всем изучать его творческое наследие, а это значит – в первую очередь мыслить (без абсурдного копирования, разумеется). Об особом очаровании Алексея в интерпретации Баха писать бессмысленно. Замечу только, что его исполнение слегка романтично, но это не романтика того же Бузони, а строгая, точно выверенная интерпретация с тем легким налетом романтизма, которая (без преувеличения!) может быть названа истинно нейгаузовской. Быть может, здесь чувствуется влияние Л. Наумова, но, да простят меня мои гениальные предшественники, я слышу в султановских записях  ту самую Личность, которая  напоминает мне записи прелюдий и фуг из ХТК в исполнении Генриха Густавовича Нейгауза. И, опять-таки – без тени копирования или подражания…

Смерть А. Султанова – огромная потеря для всех нас, и «чистых» пианистов, и музыкантов, и любителей. Быть может, его трагическая гибель и предшествующие ей мучения хотя бы убедят некоторых музыкальных критиков не быть столь завистливыми и ожесточенными, ведь, несмотря на внешний блеск, лоск и артистическую красоту, Алексей наверняка был глубоко ранимым человеком (эта ранимость души истинного Художника так слышна в его Четвертой балладе Шопена!). Ну, а по поводу решения жюри Конкурса им. Чайковского – мне не остается выразить ничего, кроме презрения. Вы-то, старички, в своем большинстве еще живы, а Султанов? И эти люди до сих пор имеют наглость именоваться «профессиональными пианистами», хотя в принципе, в наше время подобное выражение скорее  соответствует слову «цинизм». В заключение приведу отрывок из стихотворения Б. Пастернака: «Цель творчества самоотдача, А не шумиха, не успех…» Мне кажется, сегодня эти строки наиболее актуальны для Алексея Султанова, которого мы потеряли.

 

Г. Нейгауз-младший, Израиль 

 

English Translation

Sultanov, our dearly departed,

 

Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to hear A. Sultanov perform when he was still with us.  I was very ill between 1980 and 1991 after my father, S. Neihaus passed away and was only able to recover after my immigration to Israel. However I distinctly remember that Mr. and Mrs. Naumov were telling me about a new genius, who joined their “school”. After my departure from Russia I was occupied with preaching, journalism, philosophy, and concerts and gradually forgot about pianism per say. By that time the world of piano, as a whole, was getting on my nerves (and still does). The only exception I can allow was only while listening to the recordings of late Alexei Sultanov. There is no cheap show but simply the deepest combination of the Music and it’s Interpretation. That’s the virtuosity, which the greatest of the great possessed, the ones like Busoni, Rachmaninoff, and Horowitz… It may sound like heresy but I think that famous Carmen Variations sound better in Sultanov’s interpretation than the author’s (Actually, as well as the transcription of the Second Rhapsody). Why- because here (in Sultanov’s interpretation) we hear not simply virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, but a perfectly polished artistic mastery aimed to find a musical truth. Yet it is Sultanov’s Chopin that I treasure the most. I am not comparing Chopin’s interpretation of late Alexei to my not-so modest opinion of my father, but I can confidently say that it deserves to be to be up there with the great ones. Sultanov’s Chopin helped me, a 44 year “old man” to overcome myself and finally resume performing Chopin after a 20-year break. That’s the connection between the living ones and the ones who have left this world… It is sad that these kinds of revelations occur only after a great artist’s passing. However, we have his recordings and this is still something great of his, which we should treasure. I would not recommend pianists to imitate Sultanov – he is quite a subjective artist. But I sincerely wish them to carefully learn his heritage and make conclusions without copying. Everyone is captivated and charmed by his reading of Bach. It is slightly romantic but not in the same sense as even Busoni himself. It is very noble, carefully calculated interpretation with a slight scent of romanticism, which, without a doubt, can be called Neihaus’s. Possibly there is a hint of L. N. Naumov’s influence, but (my genius ancestors, please forgive me!) I hear the same lyricism found in recordings of Heinrich Neihaus’s Preludes and Fugues by Bach. Again – without any imitating or copying. The death of Alexei Sultanov is a great loss for all of us: pianists, musicians, and music lovers… Maybe his tragedy and suffering will send the message to the music critics to become more accepting and less angry towards their subjects; clearly, Alexei in spite of his exterior boldness and courage was an easily offended person (which one can hear in his great recording of Chopin’s Fourth Ballade). There is nothing left for me to say about the decision of the jury of the Tchaikovsky Competition – I am overwhelmed with disgrace. "You are still alive, but what about Sultanov?" And these people still dare call themselves “professionals”? In the end I will quote B. Pasternak: “The purpose of Art is self-fulfillment, not a show or success…” I think, today these lines are especially real for Alexei Sultanov, whom we lost…

 

G. Neihaus Junior. Israel

 

 

8.2005 from Tatjana Baskakova

Zjestokij mir, neterpjashij genijev, poterjal ne Rixtera, ne Rachmaninova a Mocarta fortepiano Aljoshu Sultanova. Konkursi kolechat talanti i ubivajut genijev. O tvorchestve muzikantov nemozjet suditj kuchka ljudei, poroi nerazbirajushajasja dazje v sobstvennix postupkax, iz-za kotorix stradajut fizicheski i moraljno talantlivije muzikanti, a istinnije tvorci ne viderzivajut nespravedlivogo suda i uxodjat v mir inoi. Sudjat slushateli, kotorije preklonjalisj, preklonjajutsja i budut preklonjatsja pered nezabivajemoi, tonkoi i neobichno jarkoi igro ivelichaishego muzikanta.

 

 

08.2005 from Anna Ferster

Jak przezylam wystep Aleksieja na Festiwalu Chopinowskim - via telewizor zreszta.
Otóz po wysluchaniu Aleksieja poszlam na póznowieczorny spacer z psem. Nie bylo mnie w domu ponad pól godziny i po powrocie Ania (córka) zapytala mnie, gdzie tyle czasu chodzilam. Chcac odpowiedziec jej na pytanie zdalam sobie sprawe, ze... nie mam pojecia, jaka trase zrobilam, jakimi uliczkami szlam... bo caly czas bylam myslami z muzyka i mlodym "magnetycznym" pianista, który mnie zachwycil. Doslownie "stracilam glowe" - bylo to piekne przezycie.

 

Bardzo, bardzo sie ucieszylam po paru latach koncertem Sultanowa w Filharmonii Krakowskiej, bo moglam zabrac ze soba Anie i z nia cieszyc sie gra "na zywo" Aleksieja.

 

Anna Ferster
Kraków, Poland

 

English Translation

How I felt Alexei’s performance on Chopin Festival – via television anyway.
So, after I had heard Alexei out, I went out for a late – evening walk with a dog. I was away of home for more than half an hour and when I came back, Ania (daughter) asked me, where I walked for such a long time. I wanted to answer the question and then I realized that...I had no idea, what route I had made, which streets I had walked...because all the time I was in my thoughts with the music and the young “magnetic” pianist, who roused my admiration.
Literally “I had lost my head” – it was beautiful experience.

 

I was very, very happy that a few years later it was Sultanov’s concert in the Philharmonic Hall in Krakow, because I could bring Ann with me and with her I could be happy about “live” playing of Alexei.

 

Anna Ferster

Krakow, Poland

 

 

08.2005 from Maria and Jerzy Kaszycki

Nasza wiedza o istnieniu tak wielkiego talentu w dziedzinie pianistyki swiatowej byla juz przed Konkursem chopinowskim bowiem docieraly juz do nas Jego nagrania.
Naprawde uslyszelismy jego gre "na zywo"dopiero w transmisjach telewizyjnych z Konkursu. Od pierwszego etapu kwalifikowalismy Jego udzial w Konkursie jako zdobywce pierwszego miejsca.
Niestety - tak jak i wiekszosc sluchaczy i sledzacych pilnie caly Konkurs - po ogloszeniu wyników doznalismy wielki zawód. Aleksiejowi nalezala sie niewatpliwie pierwsza nagroda, a na pewno - jesli juz nie przyznano tej pierwszej w ogóle - to miejsce drugie, ale bez towarzysza do podzialu! Takie sa nasze refleksje pokonkursowe, a sledzac dalsza Jego kariere, Jego zachwycajace wykonania, zawsze utrwalalismy nasza opinie o Jego ogromnym
talencie.


Jego ciezka choroba i smierc to niepowetowana strata w swiatowej piannistyce.

 

Maria i Jerzy Kaszyccy.
Kraków, Poland

 

English Translation

Our knowledge about an existence of such great talent in the sphere of world’s piano art was already before Chopin Competition, because his recordings reached Poland.

 

Indeed we heard his playing “live” not before in television broadcasting from the competition. From the first stage we qualified his participation in the competition as the winner of the first prize.
Unfortunately – as most listeners and those who diligently followed the whole contest – after the verdict had been announced, we were disappointed.

 

Alexei undoubtedly deserved the first prize and sure – as already the first prize wasn’t given to anybody at all – than the second place but without the fellow to partition. There are our after – Competition reflections and as we followed his future career, his delightful performances, we always consolidated our opinion about his enormous talent.
His serious illness and death is an irreparable loss in the world’s piano art.

 

Maria and Jerzy Kaszycki
Krakow, Poland

 


8.2005 from Thelma

The first site that appeared on the net showed in memory of Sultanov's birthday, there is a special program¨ I kept reading and saw a bright star has gone from this earthly planet¨ 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 is gone. On June 30. He is 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"

 

Thelma

Vicenza, Italy

 

 

8.2005 from Charlotte

When you look at the stars in the night sky the sky is filled with regular stars. They burn slowly and faintly and their light lasts a long time. But, if you're lucky and you're looking in the right direction at just the right moment you'll see a shooting star. You almost never see them. They're rare. To us Alexei is that shooting star amongst regular stars. A shooting star is wonderful, but passes quickly. It's only here for a moment but while it's here the other stars stop and watch.
 

"Alexei, you could never be regular . You're unique and spectacular."

His memory will always remain in our Hearts.

 

08, 2005 from Bevery Archibald

My first memory of Alexei was when he played with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, shortly after he had won the Van Cliburn competition. At that time they had the artists talk with the audience before the concerts. Alexei and John Giordano appeared before us - with John introducing Alexei, who said he didn't know much English - but he sure could communicate! Alexei's body seemed to almost have trouble containing all of his energy - he smiled and talked and kind of "bounced" as he spoke to us. At that time I realized that his superb playing came from not only his natural talent and many years of practice, but also from the incredible amount of energy he had.
Another wonderful memory was when Dace was a student of English in my class at Texas Wesleyan University. Alexei would come with her and sit in class sometimes, and (although he tried to contain it) he was hugely amused by the mistakes she made. One of the favorites was when she was reading aloud and said "Buss-e-nuss" for business (makes sense, doesn't it?). Dace and I still laugh about that sometimes. When she was in my last class of the day, they would walk me to my car and Alexei would insist on carrying my books for me! Again, his zest for life and his energy were very evident.
The most cherished memories, for me, are of their lives after Alexei's stroke. When Alexei was in the hospital for about six weeks in 2003, Dace spent every moment she could by his side - never leaving the hospital for the entire six weeks - even sleeping on the floor of the ICU waiting room. And you knew, somehow, that even though he was unconscious a lot of the time, Alexei knew she was there and drew strength from her presence.

Most of my other memories have been recorded on Alexei's website, as I was privileged to be a part of their lives and wrote some of the updates for the site. One of their first public performances after his strokes was at my church, Westside Unitarian Universalist, where they moved the congregation to tears, followed by a standing ovation. I served as the narrator, and we had many more performances together, at nursing homes, schools, the YMCA and hospitals. When Alexei died, we had many more advance "bookings" - some into the month of September. I feel his loss daily - not so much as a musician, but as a strong, courageous friend.

 

 

8.2005 from Benita Abele

1986. gada rudens nogale - ziemas saakums, vilciens " Latvija" tuvojas savam galameerkim - Maskavai.Es kaarteejo reizi braucu pie Daces. Vilciens apstaajas Riigas stacijaa Maskavaa, mani sagaida Dace un gliits, neliela auguma jauns cilveeks, ar tumshaam, apbriinojami dziiviigaam, veeriigaam aciim, kuraas lasu jautaajumu - kaadas veidosies muusu abu attieciibas? Tas ir Aljosha - Aleksejs Sultanovs, kuru jau zinu peec nostaastiem, bet klaatienee tiekamies pirmo reizi.
Turpmaak, katru reizi ierodoties Maskavaa, mani sagaida Dace un Aljosha ar izmekleeti skaistiem ziediem. Saakumaa, zinot, cik shaadi ziedi Maskavaa maksaa un kaada ir Daces un Aljosha finansialaa rociiba, meegjinu protesteet pret shaadu izshkjeerdiibu, bet veltiigi. Driiz vien, iepaziistot Aljoshu tuvaak, saprotu, ka nekad un neviens nespees Aljoshu atrunaat dariit to, ko vinjsh ir noleemis, un, ka vinjsh juutas laimiigs kaadu paarsteidzot un iepriecinot.

Veelaakos gados,kad vinji ar Daci jau dziivoja Amerikaa, paarsteigumu ir bijis ljoti daudz. Kaadaa no viesoshanaas reizeem Riigaa, vinjsh ierodas Mezhaparka maajaa ar tikko nopirktu muuzikas centru, citaa reizee ar veljas mazgaajamo mashiinu un taa joprojaam. Daasnums, labestiiba un vienkaarshiiba - taas ir shii izcilaa talanta cilveeciskaas pamatiipashiibas. Tuuliit jaapiemin arii vina lielisko humora izjuutu, beernishkjiigo prieku padziit jocinus un reizeem panerrot savus liidzcilveekus. Luuk epizode no Daces un Aljosha iestaaju eksaameniem Maskavas P.Caikovska konservatorijaa. Peec teicami nokaartotiem specialitaates eksaameniem, jaakaarto eksaamens krievu valodaa - Aljosham jaaraksta sacereejums, Dacei diktaats. Taa kaa ir vasaras briivdienas, visi audzeeknji no internata aizbraukushi, esmu dabuujusi atljauju Daces eksaamenu laikaa sheit pa dienu uztureeties. Protams, ar satraukumu arii es gaidu shii eksaamena rezultaatus.Peec vairaaku stundu saspringtas gaidiishanas ( atrados 3. staavaa) dzirdu lejaa balsis - Aljosha skaljaa balsii lamaa Daci
( protams krieviski) - ak tu stulbene taada, es tachu tev teicu, ja pati nezini, meegjini norakstiit ! Ko tu tagad dariisi, nenolikusi krievu valodu? Apmeeram shaadi, ar ne sevishkji izmekleetiem vaardiem, strosteejot Daci, abi ir jau sasniegushi 3. staavu. Ieraugot mani baalu un izmisushu, abi saak sirsniigi smieties un pazinjo, ka gribeejushi mani pamaaniit. Eksaameni nokaartoti un abi ir studenti.
Gruuti atrast vaardus, lai aprakstiitu savas izjuutas klausoties Aljosha koncertus, studiju gados Maskavaa, veelaak Varshavaa, Milaanaa un citur. Neizdzeeshamaa atminjaa palicis Aljosha speeleetais F.Lista Mefisto valsis, beidzot Maskavas CMS - netverams tehnisks vieglums, deemoniskas pasaazhas ar braazmainu speeku un dievishkji maiga, izjusta lirika ! Liidz shai dienai labaaku shii valsha izpildiijumu neesmu dzirdeejusi, un, man liekas, ka nemaz arii nevar buut.

Pateicoties Aljosham ir piepildiijies viens no maniem, kaa likaas, nekad nepiepildaamiem sapnjiem - nokljuut Milaanas " La Skala" operteaatrii. Peec uzvaras 1995.g.F. Shopeena konkursaa, Aljosham 23. decembrii bija koncerts " La Skalaa".
Dace un Aljosha uzdaavinaaja mums abiem ar Daces teeti visfantastiskaako Ziemassveetku daavanu - iespeeju nokljuut Milaanaa uz sho koncertu un naakoshaa dienaa visiem kopaa jaukaa, maajiigaa viesniicinjaa sagaidiit Ziemassveetkus. Vienreizeejs koncerts, peec koncerta iespeeja uzkaapt un pastaigaat pa sho veesturisko skatuvi, izjust vinjas iipasho auru un burviibu, pabuut aizkulishu telpaas, kur uztureejushaas tik daudzas slaveniibas ! Nekad neaizmirstamas izjuutas!!!
Paldies Aljosham!

Aljosha - ne tikai apbriinojams, fantastisks talants muuzikaa, bet arii bezgala interesants, erudiits un aspraatiigs sarunu biedrs. Taadeelj vienmeer vinjsh ir jebkuras sabiedriibas dveesele.
Cik ljoti interesanats bija muusu abu agraas brokastis pl. 4 naktii muusu Mezhaparka maajaa, Aljosha un Daces vairaakkaarteejo viesoshanaas laikaa Latvijaa. Sakaraa ar kontinentaalaam laika mainjaam, Aljosha naktiis nevareeja aizmigt. Dzirdot vinju klusi kliistot pa aizmigusho maaju, ceelos augshaa, saruupeeju kaut ko eedamu un pie teejas vai viina glaazes saakaas muusu aizraujoshaas sarunas. Ar krietnu devu humora Aljosha staastija dazhaadus vinju abu ar Daci piedziivojumus koncertturneju laikaa, jautrus atgadiijumus no skolas laikiem Tashkentaa, studiju gadiem Maskavaa, par savu pirmo skolotaaju Tamaru Afanasjevnu Popovichu - ljoti interesantu, koloriitu personiibu, ar kuru arii man laimeejaas Maskavaa iepaziities, un amizantas epizodes no vinjas viesoshanaas reizeem Amerikaa. Par savu skolotaaju Aljosha staastija ar lielu sirsniibu un miilestiibu, bet atzinaas, ka savaa dziivee vinjsh ir baidiijies no 2 lietaam - Tamaras Popovichas un ...lapseneem !

Taisniiba , ka cilveeka vislielaakaa bagaatiiba ir atminjas un taas neviens un nekad mums nevar atnjemt. Man atminjas par Aljoshu ir daudz un daargas.

Kopsh 2001. gada pavasara, kad Aljoshu skaara vairaaki smagi insulti, kuru rezultataa vinjam paralizeeta kjermenja kreisaa puse, es katru vasaru 3 ar pus meeneshus pavadu Fort Wortaa vinju abu maajaa. Redzot, kaadiem neiedomaajami smagiem paarbaudiijumiem Aljosham jaaiet cauri, es apbriinoju vinja viirishkjiibu, izturiibu, gribasspeeku un... ljoti daudz ko maacos. Kreisaa puse ir paralizeeta, bet smadzenju atminju centri nav skarti, taapeec Aljosha atceras visu, ko ir speeleejis. Un taa 2003. g.rudenii kopaa ar Daci vinji saak speeleet - Aljosha labo roku, Dace kreiso, saakumaa uz sintizatora, veelaak klaviereem. Pakaapeniski tiek apguuts diezgan plashs repertuaars un Ziemassveetkos vinji maajas draugiem speelee koncertu. Un taa saakas vinju labdariibas koncerti gan slimniicaas, kur Aljosha aarsteejies, gan veco ljauzhu pansionatos un daudz kur citur.Visur vinju uzstaashanaas tika uznjemta ar lielu sirsniibu un atsauciibu.

Speeleet shiem cilveekiem Aljosham bija ljoti svarigi, jo vinjsh redzeeja, ar kaadu uzmaniibu vinji klausaas, un saprata, ka vismaz kaadu briidi shie cilveeki ir laimiigi, aizmirstot savas slimiibas un citas dziives likstas.
Un ne mazaak svariigi, ka Aljosha paraadiija - jebkuraa situaacijaa cilveeks var kaut ko noziimiigu dariit.

Shoreiz ielidoju Fort Wortaa 28. juunijaa, kaa vienmeer, lidostaa mani sagaidiija Dace un Aljosha ar lielu lilliju pushkji, biju bezgala laimiiga vinjus atkal ieraugot.Naakoshaa vakaraa Aljosha ar Daci speeleeja man dazhus jaunapguutus skanjdarbus, jo driiz atkal bija paredzeets koncerts. Jau no pirmaam skanjaam Aljosha speelee bija juutama daudz lielaaka stabilitaate, droshiiba, briiviiba un aktivitaate kaa gadu ieprieksh.

Nekas, pilniigi nekas neliecinaaja par 30. juunija riitu kad Aljosha .....vienkaarshi nepamodaas ...
Neaizmirstama, spozha komeeta paraadijaas, iisu briidi pakaveejaas pie mums uz zemes, tad steidziigi devaas taalaak kosmosa plashumos.....

 

English Translation

The fall of 1986 comes to an end; the train "Latvia”approaches to its final destination – Moscow. I came to visit Dace. The train stops at Riga`s station; Dace and a handsome, young, not very tall man, are awaiting my arrival. I see a question in his dark, watchful eyes: will we be on the same wavelength?

 

It is Aljosha – Alexei Sultanov. Dace has told me about him, but in person we are meeting for the first time.

Henceforward, each time by my arrival in Moscow, Dace and Aljosha meet me with exquisite flowers. At first, being aware of the price of such flowers in Moscow and of Dace`s and Aljosha`s limited financial circumstances, I try to protest against such extravagance, but all in vain. Soon, getting more closely acquainted with Aljosha, I understood that nobody (and never) will be able to prevent Aljosha from doing things he has decided on, and that Aljosha is glad to surprise somebody and to cause somebody a joy.

 

There have been many surprises later on, when Aljosha and Dace already lived in America. Once visiting us in Riga, he appears in our Mezhaparks` house with a musical center (stereo system), another time- with a Laundromat , and so on. Generosity, goodness, and artlessness are main human qualities of this distinguished unique and talented man.

 

I want to mention also his fantastic sense of humor. He used to crack jokes with childlike happiness and sometimes - to friendly tease other persons. It can be seen in an episode relating Dace`s and Aljosha`s entrance examinations in Moscow P.Chaikovsky`s Conservatory. They had already perfectly passed their specialty (piano and cello) exams, but the next one is the exam in Russian – Aljosha has to write an essay, Dace – a dictation. Since it is summer and most of the students have left for home, I am permitted to stay in a school dormitory during the days of Dace`s exams. Of course, I am concerned about the results of this exam, and  have been waiting for them for a few hours on the third floor, when I finally  hear voices downstairs - Aljosha is loudly shouting in Russian:- “You thickheaded girl! What a flop! I told you that if you don`t know something you have to copy it off ! What are you going to do, having failed at this exam?”

 

Dace is forced to listen to such a scolding all the way to the third floor. Once they see my pale and desperate face, they break into a good laugh and let me know that they have been hoodwinked me. They have passed all the examinations, and they are students of the Moscow State Conservatory now.

 

I can hardly express in words what I have felt while listening to Aljosha`s concerts – in his student days in Moscow, later in Warsaw, Milan and elsewhere. It is not possible to forget F.Liszt`s “Mephisto Waltz” performed by Aljosha when graduating from Moscow CMS (Central Music School) – technical easiness, demonic passages with impetuous power and divine lyrics! Never have I heard a better performance of this waltz, and, in my opinion, there can never be a better one.

 

Thanks to Aljosha, my dream about Milan's “La Scala”, which seemed to be a mere flight of fancy, has come true. Aljosha won the F.Chopin competition in 1995; afterwards, on 23rd  December,  Aljosha performed a phenomenal  concert in the opera-house “La Scala”.

 

Dace and Aljosha gave us, Dace`s parents, the most fantastic Christmas present – the possibility to get to Milan for this concert and, the following day, to spend Christmas together.

 

A unique and fantastic concert; afterwards – the opportunity to walk a bit on this historical stage, to feel its charm and aura, to enter behind the scenes! It can not ever be forgotten!

 

Thanks to Aljosha!

 

Aljosha – not only an excellent musical talent but also very interesting to talk to.  Always he is the life and soul of a party.

 

I remember how interesting were our early breakfasts together at 4 AM in our Mezhaparks` house, when Aljosha and Dace visited Latvia. Due to continental gap of time, Aljosha could not fall asleep. I heard his quiet footsteps, got up, procured some snacks, and our fascinating chat began. Aljosha told me (with excellent humor) about various adventures during his and Dace`s concert tours, joyful incidents from school days in Tashkent and student days in Moscow, about his first piano teacher Tamara Afanasievna Popovich -a very interesting personality, with whom I got acquainted in Moscow. Aljosha told amusing episodes from her visits to America. Aljosha spoke with cordiality about his teacher, but confessed that he had always been afraid of only two things in his life – Tamara Popovich and…wasps!

 

Memories are the dearest thing to have; nobody and never can take them away. My memories about Aljosha will remain with me for ever.

 

Since spring of 2001, when Aljosha had several serious strokes having resulted in paralysis in the left side of his body, I resided each summer for three and a half months at their house in Fort Worth. Aljosha had to go through many hardships. I admire his courage, endurance, willpower and… I learned a lot. The left side of his body was paralyzed, but his memory was quite as good as earlier; therefore Aljosha remembered all he had played. And in the fall of 2003 they began to perform - Aljosha with the right hand, Dace with the left one, at first on the synthesizer, later on the piano. Step by step, they learned  many compositions; they performed for their friends a concert at Christmas. It is the beginning of their charity concerts in hospitals, where Aljosha has undergone treatments, in old people`s homes, churches and elsewhere. Their performances are always welcome with great sincerity and responsiveness everywhere.

 

Aljosha saw how  people listened to music; saw that they were all attention, how they were inspired by his performaces. He understood that the people were happy at least for a little while, having forgotten their problems, illnesses and other hardships. This was very important for Aljosha.

 

And it is not less important that Aljosha showed human ability for doing something significant in any situation.

 

This time I arrived at Fort Worth on June 28th  (2005); as always, Dace and Aljosha met me at the airport with marvelous lilies. I was very happy to see them again. Next evening Aljosha and Dace played for me a few compositions learned anew, because a concert was coming up soon. Already the first sounds of Aljosha`s performance showed a significant improvement,  greater stability, confidence, freedom and activity than it had been a year ago.

 

Nothing gave a message about the morning of  June 30th, when Aljosha … just did not wake up…

 

An unforgettable, bright comet came in sight, stayed with us for a little while, and went into outer space again…

 

 

8.2005 from Kirill Gliadkovsky

The Remembrance

We were classmates with Alexei at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. When he was entering the Conservatory he was rated as number one of all of the piano students accepted that year (about 30 or so), with his "performance GPA" around 10 points (out of 10 possible), even though he was younger than most of them. The competition to enter the school, as always, was very serious, at least 7 people per vacant place.

 

He was already a complete artist by then. I remember one of the mandatory (for all Soviet students at that time) preliminary auditions for an international competition, which was open to the public. His performance was standing out in comparison to all other participants, mainly by its artistry and musicianship. I recall, he played a Haydn sonata with such inventiveness and conviction, that grabbed the attention of listeners completely. His second (slow) movement was full of longing, played with a gorgeous sound and phrasing, rarely heard at that time even in Russia, never losing the line for a moment. Then Alexei did an incredible performance of the 7th Sonata by Prokofiev with such a sense of rhythmic energy in the Finale, that it brought everyone to their feet (an unusual thing for Russian audience).

His energy could probably power a big locomotive, but it was fully controlled. Not a missed note. Then he did some other pieces, including Chopin's Etude No.1 from Op.10 with same kind of virtuosity and energy level. This time some people disliked it, saying it was not quite in the style of Chopin, and so on -the question of style was a very serious matter in those days at the Conservatory. Yet I really liked it. I'd rather hear a performance where I can find a true artist and to be able to feel his relationship to the piece he plays, even if it is not a conventional one. I think it is boring to hear another "correct" performance (of such a virtuosic piece as the etude, anyway), especially after so many wonderful recordings made by Richter, Pollini, Argerich and others. Alexei did find his own way there and that was valuable. His overall performance already then was impeccable, CD-ready quality, and of great artistic achievement and individuality.

 

On the other side, he was quite a trouble-maker. One time he repeatedly played, with variations, a musical joke (which translates into Russian as really bad words - everyone there knows the meaning) during a break in one of the classrooms. Then a mad teacher popped up and demanded to stop it immediately. He did.... for about 10 seconds, and then played it "fff" again as that person almost walked out (I think Alexei did not see that the teacher was not completely out yet, otherwise he would not do it). The professor took it as an insult to him and raised such a fury! He took poor Alexei to the director of the Conservatory, and he was in danger of being expelled. The whole class had to sign a petition for him so the matter would be resolved peacefully.

 

I think one cannot judge a big artist by average standards anyway - these people are special, very emotional, sometimes unpredictable, touchy, and they can break down easily, too......They need to have really favorable conditions for their artistic growth, which in our competitive and often harsh lives is not achievable.

 

Alexei lived a full life. He gave himself completely to his performances. It is a huge loss for the world of music, especially piano music, that Alexei is not with us anymore. Fortunately, he leaves a legacy of wonderful recordings, where generations of music lovers to come can hear his talent shining through the wonderful sounds he creates.

 

Kirill Gliadkovsky, DMA

Concert Pianist and Organist

 

 

08.05.from Richard B. Prior

I never had the honor and pleasure of meeting Alexei Sultanov personally. My only contact with him was through his audio and video recordings. Someone sent me a DVD of a recital that Alexei had given in Japan. The works on the program were varied but included Chopin and the monumental Liszt sonata in B minor. As I watched this video, I could not believe how beautiful these works sounded. His presence at the keyboard was awesome, he played with such ease the most difficult passages, and he made the piano sing. I was so impressed with his artistry that I began to collect every recording that he ever made. Today, I play these audio and video recordings frequently. I listen to and watch them with joy and not sadness. Alexei Sultanov was truly a great pianist and artist. I am so pleased that I was able to meet him through his recordings, and I am so thankful that I have these recordings as a testament to a unique and superbly gifted human being.

 

Richard B. Prior, Ph.D.

 

 

08.05 from Alexander Thomas

"Алёша всегда был бесконечно предан Музыке.Бывало,найдёт свободный класс в ЦМШ и занимается.Как- то я случайно к нему заглянул,увидел,что класс занят Алёшей,и собирался выйти,как вдруг слышу:"Саша,не уходи..."Я возвратился.Это было в далеком 1984 году ,когда состоялась наша первая встреча,посвящённая творчеству любимого Алёшей ШОПЕНА...Мы подружились и общались практически постоянно.Посещали концерты,лекции,какие-либо другие интересные мероприятия(для этого часто пропускали уроки ,и в какой-то момент у нас накопилось 50 прогулов!), всегда вместе обсуждали услышанное.Это был один из немногих друзей,кому я мог доверять целиком и полностью.Любил он и здорово "пошкодить" за роялем:никогда не забуду,как мы играли с ним в четыре руки некоторые этюды Шопена,а также его подготовку к 8-му Международному Конкурсу им.П.И.Чайковского 1986 года(где на одной репетиции он нечяянно сломал пятый палец крышкой "Стейнвея" ) ,когда Алёша сидел в классе за роялем с гипсом на мизинце и заразительно хохотал над придуманной им аппликатурой в коде финала Бетховенской "Аппассионаты". В нём удивительно гармонично сочетались взрослый, глубокий,бескомпромиссный музыкант и очень добрый, озорной мальчишка.Он совершенно был не похож на других и уже тогда нашёл свою дорогу к Музыке.Я благодарен судьбе,что мне встретился в жизни Алёша."

 

 

08.05 from Sandra Mouttet

Manas atmiņas par Aļošu

Bet galvenais ko es visu mužu paturēšu atmiņā ir tas, cik Aļoša ir vienmēr bijis sirsnīgs un atsaucīgs pret jebkuru cilvēku un to cik viņš daudz un dažādas lietas pārzināja , ne tikai mūzikā, kur viņš bija ğēnijs, bet arī citās jomās un ar saviem padomiem nekad neskopojās.

 

Man ļoti žēl, ka man nav bijusi iespēja dzirdēt Aļošu koncertējot! Es gan bieži klausos viņa ierakstus. Neesmu mūzikas speciāluiste, bet kā vienkāršs klausītājs esmu izjutusi dziļu emocionālu pacēlumu katreiz, kad esmu dzirdējusi šos ierakstus. Viņa mūzika paņem dvēseli savā varā un tā pakļaujas lidojumam un skar prātam netveramas tāles.

 

Ņemot vērā to, cik Liels talents un ğēnijs bija Aleksejs, var tikai apbrīnot viņa, kā cilvēka vienkāršību.

 

Man ir bijusi tā laime tikties ar Aļošu personīgi. No šīm tikšanas reizēm man atmiņā ir palikušas dažas spilgtas epizodes.

 

Visdziļāk no visām tikšanās reizēm manā atmiņā ir iespiedusies tā reize, kad mēs apciemojām Daci un Aļošu Amerikā 1999. gada vasarā. Mēs pavadījām daudzas dienas viņu mājās. Jau no pirmā brīža, kad mēs tur ieradāmies, mēs jutāmies kā savās mājās, tada sajūta ir reti kur ierodoties. Viņu majās arī bieži bija ciemiņi un visi vienmēr jutās brīvi un nepiespiesti. Kad mēs gatavojāmies mūsu ceļojumam pa Ameriku , Aļoša mums deva dažādus vērtīgus padomus un vienmer lika apsolīt, ka būsim ļoti piesardzīgi, teltīs negulēsim, un vakaros apkārt nestaigāsim. Kad mēs bijām šķērsojuši Ameriku un atgriezāmies viņu mājās, viņi mūs sagaidīja divos naktī ar lielisku barbekjū - tas bija fantastiski, jo mes bijam ļoti izbadējušies. Tik sirsnīgu sagaidīšanu es vēl nekad nebiju piedzīvojusi. Mums arī bija tā laime pasēdēt ar Daci un Aļošu uz viņu mājas jumta. Ar dārznieka trepēm mēs tur uzkāpām, līdzi paņemot, vīnu. Šādiem pasākumiem piemīt liela un neatkārtojama burvība.

 

Tad vēl kāds ļoti aizkustinošs notikums, kuru pats Aļoša mums stāstīja – pirms Kleiberna konkursa (kurā mēs zinām viņš ieguva pirmo vietu), viņam pat nav bijis uzvalks ar ko uzstāties un viņi ar Daci visur meklējuši kur aizņemties 19 rubļus, lai to iegādātos. Zinot Alekseja vēlākos panākumus, man šis stāsts likās ārkārtīgi aizkustinošs.

 

Aleksejs arī ciemojās manās majās Strasbūrā. Toreiz viņām bija dažas veselības problēmas, bet viņs neraugoties uz nelāgo pašsaūtu ar lielu interesi apskatīja pilsētu un pat bija ar mieru ēst mājā gatavotas mīdijas (tomēr stingri kontrolējot kā to gatavošana notiek).

 

Mūsu kāzās skanēja Alekseja spēlētais kāzu maršs. Lai gan pats Aļoša pie mums nevarēja ierasties, ar viņa mūziku bija jūtama viņa klātbūtne un tas bija ļoti saviļņojoši. Tā bija tik skaista kāzu dāvana un vēl speciāli mums izveidotais disks, ar ko mēs ļoti lepojamies.

 

Aleksejs nebija tikai mūzikas talants, bet arī ļoti gudrs dzīves skolotājs un ar viņu varēja runāt par visdažādākajām dzīves tēmām un daudz ko jaunu uzzināt.

 

Tagad mums būs Aļoša mūzika, kas mums vienmēr atgādinās par viņa ğenialitāti un sildīs mūsu sirdis, un atmiņas, ko mēs katrs glabāsim par Aļosu mūsu sirds dziļumos.

 

Paldies Tev Aļoša !

Sandra Mouttet

 

 

8.2005 Charles and Jane Ervin

Dear Dace,

We learned today of Alexei death, July 1. Tim Page, The Washington Post Music critic had a long article on Alexei in today’s post. You may remember we met Alexei for the first time when he came to Washington, DC three days after winning the Van Cliburn, appearing on national TV talk shows, reviewed in many newspapers, and generally becoming the MAN OF THE HOUR! We met him at the airport where he arrived in his most modest way - in levis, with almost no luggage, and carrying a very small valise, perhaps including music. Alexei was not going to take his notoriety all that seriously? He came to our home, practiced on our piano. Neighbors noticed an improvement over the music I had been making. We then drove him to the concert the Van Cliburn Foundation had arranged as the first event in his two years of Van Cliburn management. His performance was splendid.

 

The next time we met was when he visited us immediately after his Carnegie Hall debut. He arrived with his father, again practiced on our piano (and the neighbors again noted an improvement in the sounds coming from our home) and went on to  play in the Kennedy Center. His English was improving and in a broad ranging conversation, we asked if he had any girl friends. Yes, he said. He had met someone at the Moscow Horowitz concert - where I presumed Horowitz had gone to bow down to those teachers in Moscow who could produce such a talent as Alexei. We remember the description of the seats you had. Way above Horowitz, in glass ceiling, where you could only see the great man with difficulty, and of course, he could only see you with difficulty too.  

 

Next in our story, Richard Rodzinky called us to tell us he had arranged for Alexei to play (with Van Cliburn) in the Kennedy Center, and the White House before the President, and in a special reception with the Secretary of State. He said that Alexei had left for Russia to be with his girl friend against his clear instructions, and further that the State Department would not now grant  him an artist reentry visa in time for the events. Would I ( Charles ) help. Richard had given me a huge compliment. He thought the United States must be my government - that the President of the United States and the Secretary of State would respond to my telephone call and reverse the bureaucratic  error - if only I could find the President’s telephone number!

 

I later asked Alexei’s view of the matter. He said he had to weigh the importance of getting you to join him in the United States against Richard Rodzinsky, the Van Cliburn Foundation, the President of the United States, and his Secretary of State, and their army of Homeland Security, protecting our nation from wandering artists. At the time, everyone thought Alexei was a fool. But they had not met you! Alexei again showed his foresight, and his wisdom, by finding, courting, and in time, marrying the true love of his life.

 

We met you first when you came to Washington. You and Alexei were both full of youth and laughter. A gorgeous couple.  We had arranged for you visit the Library of Congress to see the Rachmanioff legacy. He died in Beverly Hills, California in 1943 and left his personal papers to the Library of Congress.

 

Alexei came again to Washington to play with John Kimura Parker, winner of the Leeds Piano Competition,  at my retirement party. at the Kennedy Center We have a recording of his concert and when I hear it I remember again why I chose not to play that day!

 

I visited your home once, touched the keys of the Yamaha, played chess with Lev Naumov, saw the cats, and ate a meal with several of the Russian Competitors that year.

 

Since then we have had Christmas cards, a few phone conversations, but not visits. You regularity sent us discs of Alexie’s performances so we kept up with his progress. His Chopin Competition was in every sense magnificent, but it did forecast a problem. He was so intense waiting for the rounds, he seemed like a taught wire, about to break. Frankly, we worried about what we saw, not what we heard.  The last telephone conversation I can recall having with Alexei was at the point he had to decide whether to enter the Leeds Piano Competition or perform at the same time in Athens. He could not do both. I advised him to take the Athens gig and he did.

 

I knew from these contacts that you and he discovered that you must take over his artistic management. That, not Alexei gifts, were what needed fixing. And just as you discovered your own talents for this work, the disaster struck.

 

It has been during this terrible time you have become even more than Alexei could ever have imagined. Everyone who knows you wonders if they themselves have the character, the courage, the stamina, and the will to take on what you had did. We mortals are weak. You are not. You set an example of behavior, of love and devotion, that humble all of us. In a world full of cowardice, broken promises, dishonor, you have, through your behavior stood out like a giant.

 

We did not see Alexei after the stroke. You and he remain in our minds just as you were when we were together. Alexei’s gift of a red Tashkent tea service remains in our library, together with your gift of a book of the woods of your home country. Alexei’s gift of a small knife remains on my desk. On my piano, I still have Alexei’s notations on how he merged the two editions of the Rachmaninoff Second Sonata into one. And you and he remain in our hearts and minds. In this way your lives go on with us, together, for as long as we shall live..

 

As others will say more often than you want to hear, you have finished your greatest work. You need time now to heal, to again begin at the beginning, to find new goals. As this process enfolds, Alexei will not vanish. He will continue with you always.

 

With Love

Charles and Jane Ervin

 

 

8.2005 Diane Smiley

I first knew of Alexei when he won the Van Cliburn in 1989. Beverly Archibald and I heard him play soon after when he performed with the Fort Worth Symphony. He was so dynamic and enthusiastic! The audience was captivated.

 

The next I knew of him personally was through Beverly, who was a friend of Dace and Alexei. Dace had been in her English-as-a-Second-Language Class at Texas Wesleyan University, and she had renewed their acquaintance when she learned Alexei was in the hospital after his stroke. I had lived away for some time and moved back in the summer of 2004. I had the privilege of meeting the Sultanovs because of our mutual friendship with Beverly.

 

As a pianist, I was awed by Alexi's talent during his concert career. Knowing him over the past year, I was also awed by his determination and talent, as he and Dace performed for groups in and around Fort Worth, with his playing the piano with his right hand while she either played the left hand or accompanied on the cello. Their programs were very entertaining and uplifting.

 

He touched many people with his talent, both as he played solo concerts and as he played with his beloved wife, Dace.

 

Diane Smiley

 

 

08.2005 Gregory Hrivnak

The first time I saw Alexei was on the 1989 broadcast of the 8th Van Cliburn competition “Here to Make Music”.  I may not have much talent with respect to playing the piano, but my ear is pretty good.  And it took only a short time watching the competition to realize that Alexei was in a class by himself.  The fact that he was only a teenager made the experience even more amazing.  Alexei exhibited an amazing and formidable virtuosity with seeming ease, as well as a profound emotional connection with the music.  I have not seen anything like it since.  And of course, I was not at all surprised when Alexei won the competition.  Jury members had commented that their main goal was to choose the “right” person as the winner, not merely the person who “offended the least number of people”.  Well, Alexei was certainly the “right” winner in 1989.

 

As all his fans know, Alexei’s genius manifested beyond music.  I taught conversational English in Japan for several years, and I know how difficult English is to learn as a second language.  Yet Alexei mastered English in only a few months.  Physically, his achievement of 3 Dan in martial arts is no less amazing.

 

Listening to Alexei’s CD’s is frequently an awe-inspiring experience for me as well.   It seems virtually impossible that human fingers can execute the rapid passages of “Dance Macabre”, which Alexei played so effortlessly.  And the emotional power that Alexei demonstrates in his recordings (and in the 8th Cliburn) of Rachmaninoff’s “Etude Tableau (Opus 39 #5)” is truly incredible.  As Alexei had said, “To create something new with the music, you must let it pass through you.  You must be touched by the music”.   No one has demonstrated that statement better than Alexei himself. 

 

Regrettably, I was never able to meet Alexei in person.  But through DVD’s of his performances, interviews, newspaper articles, and e-mails from Dace & friends, it feels as though I did know him in a way.  Alexei’s great talent and courage have definitely impacted my life.  Since Alexei was the youngest person to win the Cliburn, I’ve often thought of him as the “Tiger Woods” of piano.  Personally, I think that he was one of, if not the most talented prodigy of the piano in the last half century, perhaps more.  Tiger Woods can miss a putt, or drive erratically from time to time and still maintain his supremacy.  But a classical pianist must perform flawlessly, playing the most complex music with precision and artistic expression.  One audible slip, and it’s barbecue time for the critics, and a career may be in jeopardy.  If Tiger Woods suffered an injury like Alexei’s, it would make world news.  Yet which really requires more talent and training to reach the highest levels—piano or golf?  The former, I think.  And anyone who has studied piano seriously for at least a few years knows this to be true.

 

The inherent inequities in our society with respect to talent and hard work vs. financial reward are often a source of dismay.  Even a mediocre professional golfer probably earns several times that of the best classical soloists.  And then, there is the ultimate example: the pampered multimillionaire movie actors and other sports athletes.  But these inequities became far more upsetting after reading about Alexei’s injury and subsequent medical costs.  Alexei had more musical talent in his little finger than all the pop stars combined, who each paradoxically make millions of dollars with their music.  Well, no one said life is fair, but some things are just not right.   An artist with Alexei’s talent and training should not have to struggle to pay for medical costs.   “The Alexei Sultanov Foundation” will definitely help to solve that.  Hopefully, our government will follow suit.

 

As Mme. Popovich said, “There is only one Alexei”.  And for all of Alexei’s family, friends, and fans, Alexei will never be forgotten, and his music will live forever.

 

Greg Hrivnak

Paterson, New Jersey

01 August 2005

 

08.2005 Alise Zvaigzne

Shajaa veestulee es tev uzraxtiishu savas atminjas no Aljosha!!! Un taas ir ljoti daudz manupraat!!! Galveniokaart man ir atminjas no Daugmales, kaa Aljosha taisiija shpagatu..un vienmeer arii atceros, kaa Aljosha izgriezh acu plaxtinjus otraadaak!!! Veel es atceros, kaa tu ar Aljoshu mums abaam ar Eliinu taisiijaat deju konkursu...atceros...Eliinas iesauka tajaa bija suzuki..saveejo neatceros..!  Bet atminjaa palicis, kaa juus abi to organizeejaat!!Nekad neaizmirsiishu to, ka Aljosha atri ar manu teeti paarpeldeeja paari Daugavai un kaa mees peec tam gaajaam pakalj laivai uz kaut kaadu maaju, lai dabuutu vinjus atpakalj...bet vinji abi jau paspeeja atpeldeet atpakalj pashu speekiem!! Atceros kaa juus ar Aljoshu taisiijaat supergarshiigus plovus!! Man veel joprojaam garsha ir mutee!  Ir ljoti daudz labas,
jaukas atminjas!!! Peedeejaa laikaa par sho visu naacies daudz domaat un paarrunaat!!!
miiljas bu4as visiem1!!!!!
Aliska!!

 

Translation

In this letter I will write you my memories about Aljosha! Mainly, I have a memory from Daugmale, where Alexei was doing martial arts splits ... and I always remember how Alexei turned inside out his eyelids. And then I remember how you (Dace) with Aljosha organized for me and Elina the dance competition.....and that Elina's nickname was suzuki...but I don't recall mine. And I will never forget how Aljosha, together with my dad, did a fast swim across the Daugava river, and how we went to the neighbors house to lend the boat in order to get them back.....but they already managed not only to swim back with ease , but telling jokes and laughing on the way back. I remember how Aljosha was cooking numerous times the super delicious plov (the Uzbekish rice, vegetable, lamb dish). I still feel that delicious taste in my mouth! So many great memories! Lately, I think and discuss a lot about all of this. Kisses to you! Aliska

 

 

07.2005  Rano Хакимбаевa

Мои воспоминания об Алеше Султанове.

Мне посчастливилось узнать  этого Гения еще ребёнком. Тогда я, сама будучи 12 летней девочкой, пришла со своей подругой Наргис к её дяде Ф.А. Султанову домой. Так как Наргисе нужно было готовиться к академконцерту в школе, а программа у неё не была готова. Вот по этой причине мама Наргис и отправила нас к её дяде, который был педагогом по классу виолончели, а супруга его – Н.М.Погорелова, педагогом по классу скрипки. Таким образом, я впервые оказалась в доме Султановых. Тогда Алеше было где-то около двух лет.

 

Для Наргис занятия на фортепиано были настоящей китайской пыткой, и играла она через силу - кое- как. В какой-то фразе  Баха она жутко соврала, и тогда, Алешка, сидевший на горшке, сказал, чтобы она не фальшивила и очень чистенько, тоненьким детским голосочком пропел эту фразу. Для меня тогда это было просто потрясением! Чтобы двух летний ребеночек, знал - как это должно звучать, и так чисто пропеть!!!

 

Конечно, с возрастом я поняла силу гения Леши, но именно тот первый день знакомства стал для меня открытием.

 

Позже об Алеше стали слагать легенды, его часто показывали по телевидению на всевозможных правительственных концертах и он - такой маленький, с копной длинных волнистых волос, почти стоя из-за маленького росточка, так как ему было всего-то 8-9 лет - блестяще играл Бетховена, Моцарта. Позже были Шопен, Прокофьев, Клементи.

 

Следующая моя встреча состоялась опять таки через Наргис уже в 1987 году в Москве, где я уже жила. Она приехала на практику, а Алеша учился на первом курсе Московской консерватории и жил в общяге на Малой Грузинской. Это был уже пылкий юноша со всей страстностью своих 18 лет.

 

Мы с Наргис опоздали на концерт Алеши в школе искусств Балакирева и прошли за сцену, чтобы послушать его. А Алеша, как он нам потом объяснил, увидев на крышке рояля отражение Наргис, сыграл «Аппассионату» в совершенно бешенном темпе. Эта была потрясающая встреча брата и сестры! Мне тогда открылся совершенно иной – живой, то есть не ходячая легенда, а очень весёлый, жизнерадостный, добрый и великодушный Алеша Султанов.

 

Как-то Наргис меня пригласила на концерт Алеши, в какой-то (сейчас я уже не помню) музыкальной школе. Я пришла со своим сыном, которому шел 4-й год. На первом отделении Алеша играл Шопена, а во – втором Сонату Прокофьева. Мой сын, к сожалению, из-за своего возраста, не выдержал напора Прокофьева, и мне пришлось слушать Лешу за дверью зала. Но зато, в финале концерта во время аплодисментов, мой сын Джаватик с гордостью, как олимпийский факел пронес через весь зал  Алеше букет алых тюльпанов. И Алеша, не смотря на то, что ему нельзя было поднимать тяжести, из-за перенесенной не так давно желтухи, поднял моего довольно-таки упитанного сына высоко на руки вместе с цветами. Для него никогда не существовали рамки запрета. Он всегда их ломал. Так как был человеком свободного полета, не принимающего условностей.

 

Прошло много лет, и вот в ноябре 1999 года мы были в Ташкенте и опять по приглашению Наргис, нам удалось попасть на концерты Алеши в Ташкенте. На концерте 19 ноября были мой сын с племянником, а на следующий день мы с сестрой и племянниками пошли в киноконцертный зал Туркестан, где Алеша давал сольный концерт в память своей бабушки – народной артистки Узбекистана Замиры Хидоятовой. Это было неизгладимое впечатление! Буря, натиск, ураган сменялись тихим, нежным, ласкающим слух чарующими звуками музыки – льющихся из под его пальцев.

 

Мой сын с гордостью говорил своим кузинам и кузену, что лично знаком с «дядь Лёшей», так он его с детства называл. А племянник Акмаль, юноша никогда не признававший классическую музыку, был потрясен исполнением Второго концерта Рахманинова, и стал ярым поклонником Алеши. На всю жизнь сохранили программку этого концерта с автографом Алёши.

 

Алеша остался навсегда с нами, не только со мной и моим сыном, но и со всеми, кто хоть один раз соприкоснулся с его Гением, с теми, кто его знает и любит!

 

Огромное спасибо его брату Сереже и Саше Томасу, за то, что они подарили всем Алешу Султанова – через сайт «Форума» живого, яркого, блестящего Пианиста! Чем больше нас соберется вокруг Алеши, тем ярче будет гореть его звезда!

 

Рано и Джаватик Хакимбаевы.

28.07.05 г.

 

English Translation

I was lucky to get to know this Genius when he was a little child. Then, as a 12 year old girl, together with my girlfriend Nargis, I came to visit her uncle Faizul Sultanov at his home. Since Nargis had to prepare for her school concert, the program she has to perform there ,was not ready. And this is why Nargisa's Mom send us to see her uncle, who was a cello teacher, and his wife Natalia Pogorelova was a violin teacher. This is the way, how I visited Sultanov's residence for the first time. At that time Aljosha was 2 years old.

 

For Nargis, practicing the piano was a real torture, and it took a lot of effort for her to play somehow. While playing Bach piece, one phrase got totally out of course, and Aljosha , who was sitting nearby, said to Nargis to not to play off the key, and with his clean tiny child's voice sang this phrase perfectly. For me that was just stunning . The two year old child knows- how this piece has to sound, and how perfect he sang, wow!

 

Certainly, with the age I understood the power of Alexei's genius, but precisely that first day of our acquaintance was a discovery for me.

 

Later, there were legends composed about Aljosha, he was shown a lot on TV from all kinds of government concerts, and he - that tiny, with long wavy hair, almost standing because of his short height, and since he was only 8 - 9 years old - brilliantly played Beethoven, Mozart. Later it was Chopin, Prokofiev, Clementi.

 

My next encounter took place, again through Nargis, now in Moscow in 1987, where I was living at that time. She came for practical experience, and Aljosha was studying at the Moscow Conservatory and was living in dormitory on Malaja Gruznskaja Street. This was already a fiery young man with all the passion of his 18 years.

 

Since we arrived late for Alexei's concert at the Balakirev's School of Arts, we walked behind the stage in order to listen him play. And Aljosha, how he explained to us later, when he saw the reflection of Nargis on the piano lid, played "Appassionata" in completely furious tempo. That was a marvelous reunion of brother and sister (cousin's)! And then I discovered completely another - alive, not just a walking legend ,but very happy, buoyant , kind and magnanimous Aljosha Sultanov.

 

One time Nargis invited me to Alexei's concert at a local music school . I came with my son, who was 4 then. In first half Alexie played some Chopin pieces, and in the second half he played the Prokofiev's Sonata #7. Because of his age, my son unfortunately did not tolerated the pressure of Porkofiev, and that's why I had to listed Aljosha's performance behind the door in the hallway. But at the end of the concert, during the applause, my son Dzavat very proudly, like Olympic torch, carried through the hall a bouquet of scarlet tulips. And Alexei, did not pay attention to the fact that he just recovered from an illness, and was advised not to lift heavy things, did carry high up my pretty well-fed son, in his arms together with the bouquet. For Alexei, there were never existing the frames of ban. He would always brake them. Because he was a man of free flying, and not accepting any indications.

 

Many years went by, and during November of 1999 we were in Tashkent, and again with invitation from Nargis, we were able to attend Alexei's concerts in Tashkent. On November 19th, my son and his cousin went to the concert, but the next day me, my sister and cousins went to the concert hall Turkestan, where Aljosha gave a recital in his grandmother's , the famous actress of Uzbekistan Zamira Xidojatova. It was an indelible impression! The storm, charge, hurricane are replaced by the quite, gentle, delightful hearing of a charming sound of music -flowing under his fingers.

 

My son proudly tells all his cousins that he personally knows "uncle Aljosha", that's how he calls him since his childhood. But nephew Akmalj, the young man who never liked classical music, was so impressed and moved by Alexei's performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2 , that he became a big fan of Alexei forever. We will always treasure the programs with Alexei's autoghraph.

 

Alexei will always be with us, not only with me and my son, but with all who ,even if once, touched his Genius, with those who knows him and loves him! Thank you so much to his brother Serjozja and Sasha Thomas, for giving us the opportunity to listen to recordings of Aljosha Sultanov - the brilliant, bright, alive Pianist! More there will be gathered of us around Alexei, more his star will be shining!

 

Rano and Dzavat Xakimbajevi July 28,2005

 

 

7.2005 Jon Wilcox

Susan and I offten celebrated life with Alexei and Dace at Bella Italia restaurant. One night a group of Japanese tourists where there and for some reason, I can't remember why, Alexei and Dace were decked out in cowboy and cowgirl outfits.

 

The Japanese wanted pictures of real cowboys and of course Alexei and Dace obliged. Little did they know these real cowboys were an Uzbek pianist and a Latvian cellist.

 

I believe he spent considerably more money on others than he did on himself. He was a classic restaurant check fighter. We often ate at Bella Italia and the fighting over the check was really getting out of hand. So one night, Susan and I arrived quite early and made arrangements that no bill would be presented. Alexei just could not let this pass. After dinner he drove off, but returned in a few minutes and demanded the check be presented to him - of course, he got his way. Perhaps that is why Alexei's photo is on the wall there but mine is not.

 

In 1990, the final year of the Soviet Union and before the firm establishment of real estate as private property, Alexei managed to "buy" an appartment fairly close to central Moscow. He never lived in the appartment. Instead, he moved his entire family from a cramped space in a distant suburb to this great location in the city. This transaction was conducted on faith alone, with a significant sum of Dutch Guilders wired directly to a numbered account in Holland. The previous tenants had quietly moved to Holland and were "selling"  their abandoned Moscow appartment. Much to my amazement, it all worked and the Moscow Sultanov's reside there to this day.

 

His generosity, sometimes reckless, was entirely genuine and I'm certain he expected nothing in return. Even when their money was gone, Dace and Alexei continued to focus on giving back to the community. Dace, we thank you so much for sharing Alexei with us under very difficult circumstances - you have shown all of us how to celebrate life.

 

 

7.2005  from Mary Lou McVicker

Unfortunately, I never met Alexei nor Dace in person however, I was intrigued by them from the start. All four of my grandparents came to this country from overseas, and became citizens of the United States, just as they did.

 

Alexei was fortunate to live in the wonderful world of music, and he lives on through his recordings and his many friends.

 

God Bless

Mary Lou McVicker

 

 

7.2005 from Beverly Archibald

I was privileged to be a player in the last act of Alexei’s time among us. This testimony is to his indomitable spirit as he began, in the spring of 2004, to entertain again in nursing homes, hospitals and schools.

 

With Alexei playing the right hand and Dace providing the left on the keyboard, or accompanying him on the cello, they reached out together as a single splendid instrument to bring a message of encouragement and inspiration. Here are some comments from people who heard them play.

 

Christmas Eve, 2004, a local hospital  “I was visiting in ICU and was very blessed to hear you and Dace play for everyone. What a wonderful Christmas present for all who were there. It touched all of us at a really low moment.”

February 2005, Tarrant County College:    “They presented a reality that we often try to shield ourselves from”. “His determination to continue to pursue his love of music combined with her courage and devotion to him is a timeless love story that begs to be told.”

March 2005 – Stroke Support Group:   “Your message – both through your music and your words – of never giving up, of always persevering, could not help but inspire everyone you meet. You are both beautiful witnesses to the human spirit.”

April 2005 – Seniors Luncheon:    “Alexei, you had many years of entertaining and inspiring untold numbers of people with your exceptional talent and heart. But now the two of you are, in my opinion, making a difference in the lives of people in a totally different and more meaningful way. Your spirit, your determination, your attitude of never giving up, your desire to share what you have, your obvious deep love and devotion for each other – these are qualities that the world yearns for and needs to experience through people like you.”

May 2005 – Nursing Home:    “I was privileged today to witness the valiant spirit of two remarkable people. Many would have given up in defeat when faced with the tragedy of Alexei’s debilitating stokes – and yet, here you are, sharing your talents for making beautiful music with many who might never have heard you otherwise.”

June 10, 2005, Alzheimer Facility  “Several of our residents got very emotional and cried when you played. Your story touched our hearts. You both are such an inspiration to all of us.”

 

Alexei and Dace felt strongly that he was a living example of what people could do to overcome adversity. He wanted to encourage others to work hard to rise above their so-called “limitations”.

 

Their motto and their mantra of  Never Give Up resonated with all who heard them.

 

 

7.2005 from Susan Wilcox

Alexei brought Dace to Fort Worth for the first time in October 1990 on a tourist visa.

 

Toward the end of the month, Alexei started talking about her staying in Fort Worth with him - even if it meant she was here illegally. Jon and I told Alexei that wasn't an option. His choice was to get married or Jon would put her on the plane himself!

 

Both Alexei and Dace said that they were soul mates and they didn't need a piece of paper. They would be together forever.

 

It's October 30, 1990, the day before we are putting Dace on the plane back to Moscow.

 

Early that day Dace, Alexei and I went to Dallas to see a top notch immigration attorney. Alexei just knew Henry would find a way to keep Dace here without a marriage certificate. He was certain!

 

Well....after a lengthy consultation, Henry said "You must be married with a legal certificate for her to stay. Otherwise, she is on the plane."  As we got into the car, you could see the wheels turning in his head. As we headed west on Interstate 30, Alexei said those magic words, "I want to get married!"

 

Now the wheels in my head started to turning. We drove straight to the Tarrant County Courthouse and told Dace to smile and say yes to any question that was asked. And, that very afternoon, we:

*  Got a marriage certificate

*  Went before a district judge and got the 3 day waiting period waived and

*  Got a justice of the peace to marry them. While Dace smiled and said yes, she understood English,

*  Yes she was doing this willingly, and yes she wanted to get married.

 

Alexei, always the prankster, said let's not tell Jon. So, we bought some champagne and when Jon got home Alexei told the story about the visit to the attorney and not wanting to get married and Jon kept repeating that he was personally going to put Dace on the plane tomorrow. When he could stand it no longer, Alexei said very seriously, he had received a piece of paper and wanted Jon to translate it. He handed Jon the marriage certificate.

There were tears of shock, tears of joy and the champagne flowed. What a great day!

 

7.2005 Dr. Ed Kramer

I first met Alexei back in 1995 in a hospital here in Fort Worth. He’d had what often is referred to as a “small stroke.” If ever there was an oxymoron.   I asked him when I entered the room, “How are you this morning?” to which he replied, “I’m okay … but the whole world is upset.” I didn’t know much about him at the time, so his remark struck me as being a little braggadocio. Well, I soon came to find out he wasn’t at all exaggerating: the hospital switchboard was deluged by calls coming in from all over the world, everyone anxiously inquiring about his health. Dace took me aside and informed me who he was, highlighting his musical accomplishments. And then she gave me two of his CDs – Dace, you know, has this way of producing CDs out of thin air the way magicians pull coins out of children’s ears. She gave me the Chopin and the Rachmaninov. And Alexei even inscribed them: “Dear Dr. Kramer, thank you very much for trying to understand me completely.” Thankfully, he didn’t task me with understanding him completely, just trying to.  Well, that night I listened to the two discs as I have many times since. Within moments of listening to that first piece -- Chopin’s Scherzo No. 1 in B minor -- I knew someone very special had taken hold of me. The next day, I expressed my admiration for his music, and then demonstrated for Alexei a simple fingering exercise he could use as therapy.  He immediately brightened up, recognizing it as the “Rubinstein exercises”, the same exercises, apparently, that Arthur Rubinstein had used to enhance his digital dexterity. Thereafter, Alexei applied himself to his rehabilitation with great dedication, as he did with most of the major challenges in his life – con brio … and, as he would like to say, with eggs on top!  Soon, he regained full use of his right hand, and was able to resume playing with all of his customary fire and brilliance.  Perhaps even more so.  A brush with your own mortality can have that effect. It wasn’t long before the Sultanovs became an integral part of our family. After all these years, Alexei, I still don’t understand you completely. But I continue trying.

 

How Dr. Zultanov stopped the plane. In 1991, while flying home from Germany where he’d just recorded his first Chopin CD, Alexei was stricken with appendicitis.  Five years after the appendectomy, in 1996, while flying to Europe for a concert tour, an 8-year-old girl aboard his flight began complaining of belly pain. The flight attendant checked among the passengers to see if anyone was a physician. When no one owned up to it, Alexei picked up his blood pressure monitor that he carried with him then nearly everywhere in those days, walked up the aisle, and introduced himself as Doctor Sultanov.  (The flight attendant mangled the name somewhat and kept referring to him thereafter as Doctor Zultanov.)  Well, Dr. Zultanov, relying on his own personal experience as a patient to guide him, examined the child – fever, pain elicited by compression of the right lower quadrant -- and once having satisfied himself of the diagnosis of appendicitis, he ordered the flight attendant to land the plane -- immediately! “Impossible!” she exclaimed. But “impossible” was not in Dr. Zultanov’s lexicon. “We have to save the girl!” he declared.  The flight attendant finally let him speak with the captain and somehow Dr. Zultanov persuaded him to land the plane in Toronto. As they often were, Alexei’s instincts had been absolutely correct: the child’s appendix had indeed been right on the verge of rupturing. Thus, Alexei narrowly averted a potentially lethal case of peritonitis.  I don’t think, however, that Dr. Zultanov ever sent anyone a bill.

 

After he’d fully recovered from his first stroke, Alexei was invited to play a piano recital honoring a retiring board member of the Dallas Symphony. The recital was to be held at the home of one of the patrons. In the living room where the recital was to take place stood an old relic of a Steinway grand piano – probably circa 1920.  Despite all prior assurances that the piano was in tip-top condition, once Alexei began his warm up routine, it was instantly obvious that it was woefully out of tune. The owner, however, who seemed not to notice, pointed to it with pride and said, “George Gershwin, you know, once played on this piano.” and then asked in a rather condescending tone, “You do know who George Gershwin was, don’t you?” Alexei tossed off a riff from The Rhapsody In Blue and deadpanned, “Yes, I know Gershwin, but has it been tuned since he played?” Perhaps he was channeling the spirits of Gershwin and Oscar Levant that day, because somehow Alexei managed to coax from that old piano a spellbinding performance.

 

Fresh mushrooms. Alexei loved them. In 1998, my wife and I had the best time of our lives, vacationing with the Sultanovs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and then with Dace’s family in Latvia.  We made a day trip to Skunjias, the Abele’s lovely farm outside of Riga. Tall woods lay all around the farmhouse. Alexei had a legendary knack for finding perfect mushrooms. And so, while Dace’s mom Benita scurried barefoot around their rustic kitchen preparing the meal, and her father Janas showed us all around the property, Alexei put on his favorite straw hat specially reserved for his mushroom hunting expeditions, and, with a good sharp pocket knife and a little bucket in hand, he disappeared into the deep woods. He returned around dusk with a bucketful of the most delicious mushrooms you ever tasted. I think personally he liked mushroom hunting better than practicing the piano.

 

Latvia, as you may know, is renowned for its jewel-like amber. Alexei and Dace took us to the Ethnographic Outdoor Museum one day. Just outside the park was a gift shop with a spectacular selection of amber.  After we got through looking around and making a few small purchases, we went back outside. Alexei caught up with us a short time later. While innocently walking through this beautiful park, Alexei told Dace he thought he saw an interesting mushroom under a bush and asked her to retrieve it for him. Dace dutifully got down on all fours and crawled into the bushes. Almost immediately came this loud squeal of surprise, and she emerged with that exquisite amber necklace she’s wearing tonight: her “Mushroom."

 

We all wish we could have had him with us longer. A lot longer. Thank God, though, we have so many wonderful memories of Alexei – all the giggles and belly laughs and naughty impish ways, his warmth and generosity, his brilliant intellect, his love and friendship.  And, of course, that music … that glorious music. So, although the world may indeed be upset, Alexei would have us know that he’s okay. He’s with Dace always … and with us … with some occasional trips into the woods somewhere nearby … with his hat and his little bucket, seeking the perfect mushroom.

 

7.2005 Jean Witten

One of my favorite moments of Alexei took place on my 73rd birthday. One and a half month after I had lost my husband, I wasn't in a very festive mood, but Dace and Alexei were having a gathering at their house for Christmas. My birthday is Dec.22. Dace was so excited telling Donna " they " had a big surprise for her. We were gathered together in the music room...Alexei was placed at his beautiful piano. Suddently the notes of "Happy Birthday" came pulling over the room plus a host of other Christmas Songs.

 

I will never forget that rendention of Happy Birthdayso freely given by a young man with a beautiful smile and his dark eyes. I got to know Alexei much better, and found out that he loved Chocolate cakes and cookies.

 

He was a wonderful, warm person in spite of all his handicaps, and the world has truly lost as Artist.

Love - Jean Witten

 

 

7.2005 from Luc Mouttet (1999)

I’m a relative of Dace family and I’ve had the luck to meet Alexei few years ago before his accident. I’ll keep in my memory the smile of this eternal teenager with long hair. I remember to have spent a special night by climbing on the roof of his house with my wife, Dace and him. Then we have looked at the stars, drunk red wine and ask themselves about future before to have long discussions about life.

 

Alexei has joined the stars in the sky and he has let us his music to light our hearts when sky is cloudy.

 

Aliosha, many thanks for this meeting.

Luc

 

7.2005  from Alexei Moshkov

Dlja menja lichno net pianista vyshe chem on. On byl nastojaschim javleniem v iskusstve - vne vremeni, vne geografii. Takie muzykanty pojavljajutsja, verojatno, ochen'-ochen' redko... On vspyhnul kak zvezda i za svoi 35 let
prozhil emozional'no polnuju zhizn', otpuschennuju kazhdomu iz nas, prostyh smertnyh. Tut chto-to so vremenem... Ne znaju, ne ukladyvaetsja v golove.

Dlja menja on vsegda ostanetsja Sultanovym, Sultanchikom, Leshkoj, s ego zarazitel'nym smehom i pronzitel'nym vzgljadom.

Alexei

 

English Translation

For me personally there is no pianist above than Alexei. He was a genuine phenomenon in Art - not in time, and not in geography.

 

Such  musicians appear , probably, very very seldom...He blazed up like a star and during his 35 years he lived emotionally life to the fullest, given everyone of us mere mortals.  There is something with the time.... Don't know, it does not fit in my head. For me he will always be Sultanov, Sultanchik, Aljoshka, with his infectious laughter and piercing glance... Alexei

 

 

7.2005 from Guzal Tagijeva

Мои впечатления, связанные с Алексеем Султановым.

моя первая встреча с этим замечательным музыкантом, гением Алексеем Султановым состоялась в ноябре 1999 года. Тогда он после многолетнего перерыва снова посетил Ташкент со своими незабываемыми концертами и мастер-классами. Как сейчас помню даты этих концертов -18 и 22 ноября. На первом концерте он играл 1 Концерт П. Чайковского и 2 концерт С.Рахманинова; а на втором сольные произведения. До сих пор помню, как тогда творилось в зале что-то невероятное, публика до последнего не отпускала Алексея и он на «десерт» исполнил  с блеском «бисы».

 

На тот момент я была ученицей 10 класса по классу фортепиано школы имени В.А. Успенского. С именем Алексея Султанова я была знакома с детства. По-моему, не было человека, который бы не знал Алексея. Даже мои, неискушённые в музыке, родители были знакомы с его искусством. Я настолько часто слышала об Алексее, что моей мечтой тогда было услышать, наконец, его исполнение вживую. До этого я была знакома только с записями, которые предоставляли мой педагог Татьяна Николаевна Сотникова и Михаил Петрович Воронов. Это были два диска и аудиокассета, которые Алексей прислал Михаилу Петровичу с дарственной подписью. Необыкновенный звук, лёгкость и  логичность исполнения, совершенство формы, безукоризненная техника поразили меня после прослушивания. Я читала много газетных статей, интервью Алексея Султанова. Много слышала различных рассказов о нём, о его творческом росте от людей, знавших его с самого раннего детства.

Наступил 1999 год, и моя мечта сбылась. Помнится, с каким трепетом мы все ждали этих концертов. Публика была в предвкушении… И когда Алексей Султанов вышел на сцену, мы буквально все замерли. Он ещё не начал играть, а то как он выходил, его энергетика уже заворожило зал. Затем, первые аккорды Второго Концерта Рахманинова и музыка полилась. Мы все были во власти искусства Алексея. Его музыка была обращена от сердца к сердцам многочисленных людей, которые имели счастье присутствовать тогда на его концертах. Это были поистине Исторические Концерты, которые мы до сих пор не можем забыть и никогда уже не забудем. Публика была ошеломлена и поражена!!!

 

Затем, он давал мастер-классы в Консерватории и в школе Успенского. Я смогла попасть только лишь на мастер-класс в школе Успенского. Люди просто ломились, чтоб попасть на этот мастер-класс. Не хватало мест, люди стояли... Такого количества народа школа Успенского ещё не помнила за всю свою историю существования. Было очень интересно то, как он занимался с учениками школы, а потом сам сыграл «Вариации на тему Кармен» Бизе-Горовиц. Виртуознейшее произведение было исполнено на высоте. И снова были нескончаемые овации. Потом, в кабинете директора выстроилась огромная очередь на получение автографа Алексея Султанова. Я никогда не забуду этот день, это был четверг. И мне тоже посчастливилось взять у него автограф. Он ещё хранится у меня, это бесценная память о нём. Вскоре Алексей уехал, но он, его искусство навсегда осталось в нашем сердце. Я заболела его искусством, он стал самым ярким моим примером сильного волевого Человека и Музыканта. Когда я узнала, что он тяжело заболел, я сильно переживала и до последнего верила и надеялась, что он всё-таки вернётся в мир искусства.

 

Я была в шоке, когда узнала о его кончине. Ведь это не только утрата его семьи, это утрата для всего Мира, личная потеря и горе для каждого. Для меня он был, есть и будет Самым Лучшим Пианистом Мира. Он-наша гордость!!!

 

Спасибо Тебе, Алексей, за Тебя, за Твоё искусство, за те бесценные и незабываемые  минуты, которые Ты нам подарил.

Гузаль Тагиева.

 

 

7.2005 from Eileen Siegel  (1991)

I have many interesting memories of Alexei. He had a great sense of humor. I remember how competitive he was the time we played the card game "spit" and we both tried to cheat.

Or the time we were having dinner with the lady in Virginia who had arranged the concert. I kept telling her that Alexei could speak English, but this lady kept asking me questions about him instead of asking Alexei himself. And Alexei didn't react, interrupt, or move a muscle, even when I gave her the most ridiculous answers to the questions. For example, she asked me if Alexei drives. I said, "He does." "What did he drive in Russia?" she asked. "A bulldozer," I replied. Alexei just sat there stonefaced, until the lady went to the rest room. Then Alexei laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair. But by the time she came back, he was sitting there, inscrutable, like a sphinx.

But probably the most memorable was the time when Alexei was playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with an orchestra in northern Michigan.

My violin teacher and I came to hear him. (I believe you were there, too, Dace.)

The audience was covered by a tent; and the orchestra was covered by a tent. But between the two tents, there was about a space of 6 inches.

A few minutes into the piece, it started thundering and lightning. Then the sky opened up, and it started to pour. The water rushed off both tents at an angle, right into the 6-inch opening, sending a deluge like Niagra Falls right down next to Alexei. The conductor didn't know what to do. The orchestra pulled back further onto the stage. Alexei did not even seem to react to the flood of water that was pouring down on him. He just kept playing. I think if the whole tent had collapsed around him, Alexei still would have made it to the end of the piece, which he did, to great applause. (Unfortunately, on the tape the sound of the deluge drowned out a lot of the music!)

I don't think I have ever seen any other musician with such nerves of steel. I was always struck with Alexei's singlemindedness and ability to concentrate under tremendous pressure.

When Alexei finished the "Niagra Falls" concert, he was completely soaked. "What a performer!" my teacher said. He dried himself off and was kind enough to give my teacher and me a ride to the reception in a golf cart -- a ride which my teacher remembered to the end of her life.

When we got to the reception, she said, "Wasn't that an exciting ride? What a driver!"

An exciting performer. An exciting driver. An exciting person. That's how I want to remember Alexei.
Eileen


7.2005  from Stalker

Hommage ŕ Alexey Sultanov
Его больше нет с нами, он в пантеоне, среди гениальных пианистов двадцатого века. Многие, не только я один, восприняли его уход как личную потерю. Масштаб его дарования стал ясен еще задолго до его смерти, пожалуй, со времени его участия в конкурсе им. П.И.Чайковского, когда его феноменальное исполнение Седьмой Прокофьева буквально наэлектризовало и взорвало атмосферу в зале и с этого времени для многих осталось эталоном. Как видим, прошло даже не так уж много времени, но его непрохождение в третий тур тогда перестало быть хоть сколько-нибудь значимым и для него, и для нас. Скорее, это недопущение до участия в третьем туре А.Султанова и стало той основной характеристикой конкурса, после которого его престиж фатально упал. Я бы рискнул утверждать, что это, наверное, и закономерно было, поскольку его талант «не вписывался» в этот конкурс.

Действительно, принадлежит ли А.Султанов к так называемой «русской школе»? Само по себе это столь распространенное в Европе понятие представляется мне изначально довольно сомнительным, поскольку порождает громадное количество вопросов, среди которых главный, что мы под ней подразумеваем? Я просто не знаю, имел ли он какое-либо отношение к Московской консерватории, но даже если и имел, и даже если мы вспомним, что ташкентская пианистическая школа во многом возникла благодаря московским педагогам и музыкантам, переехавшим туда во время войны, то не это мне кажется определяющим в формировании его таланта. Скорее, это была сознательная ориентация на выдающихся пианистов-виртуозов рахманиновской генерации, на А.Зилоти, и, через него, на А. Рубинштейна и Ф.Листа. Этим, пожалуй, отчасти объясняется его обращение к транскрипциям Горовица: это был вызов самому себе, стремление дойти до предела своих возможностей, чтобы их ясно осознать, и, может быть даже, заглянуть за этот предел. Необходимые для первоклассного пианиста блестящая техника, яркий темперамент и неординарная музыкальная мысль стали заметны уже к конкурсу им. В.Клайберна. Он довольно быстро вышел из ученичества, прошел период экспериментирования и уже в начале девяностых годов стал зрелым пианистом.

То, что сближает А.Султанова с великими пианистами первой половины двадцатого века – это благородство, это неведомо откуда взявшийся аристократизм. Думаю, что в основе – искреннее, бескомпромиссное отношение к себе и к музыкальному тексту. Послушайте его Шопена и Листа: можно сколько угодно не соглашаться с его динамикой, его неожиданными акцентами, с его агогикой, казалось бы «неуместной» и «неприемлемой», но у него все звучит настолько убедительно, что трудно не признать за ним права так играть. Как у Гофмана или Рахманинова возникает головокружительная свобода в интерпретации, переполненный жизнью музыкальный поток, что сами по себе отпадают ученические вопросы – а соответствует ли это авторскому тексту и достаточно ли аутентично выдержан стиль. Не это становится важным, а сама возможность «впасть» в этот поток, дойти до предельной глубины. И при этом не возникает никакого ощущения «психологического эксгибиционизма», что нередко на концертах некоторых нынешних «звезд». Далее, это его воля, с которой он выстраивает свои музыкальные концепции: ничего случайного, все под контролем, нет никакого эмоционального перехлеста и истерики, но ведь то, что он делает, это все на пределе, действительно на пределе. И в этом, может, его главное отличие от многих современных пианистов. А.Султанов не боится риска, не боится «не туда» попасть, не боится сорваться. В какой-то степени его игра – это всегда экстрим, подобно восхождению в горах: да, опасно, да, предельный риск, но если есть уверенность в себе и в своих силах, то и перспектива на вершине открывается совершенно другая. Я не был никогда знаком с ним, не видел его в годы болезни, но абсолютно уверен, что он сохранил свою волю к жизни до конца. Затем, это мощь его исполнения, мощь психологического и волевого посыла, что и делает его интерпретацию столь убедительной. Это свободная игра творческого духа в ясно осознаваемом пространстве, это его элемент, его естественная среда. Когда слушаешь его Шопена, Листа, его Рахманинова, Прокофьева, Скрябина, то это наполняет счастьем, потому как он поднимает нас на такой уровень, где резко меняется перспектива и мы ощущаем бьющую через край жизнь в давно заигранных вещах, и, наконец, осознаем, что эта музыка – его, и она уже стала частью нашей жизни.
 

English Translation

 

He is no longer with us, he is in Pantheon among the genius pianists of the 20th century. Many, not only me alone, took his passing as a personal loss. The scale of his talent became clear long before his death, probably, at the times when he participated at the Tchaikovsky competition, when his phenomenal performance of the Prokofiev's Piano Sonata #7 literally electrified and burst the atmosphere in the hall, and from this time for many it became a model. As we see, that was not so long ago, but by not letting Sultanov to the third round then it stopped become even the least bit important for him, and for us. More likely, by not allowing him to the third round Sultanov became that fundamental characterization of the competition, after which it's prestige fatally dropped. I would risk to confirm, that this, probably, was a pattern, because his talent "does not blend" in this competition.

 

Truly, does Alexei Sultanov belongs to the "Russian school"? On it's own it's so widespread concept in Europe which representation, to me, is primordially rather doubtful, since it generates huge amounts of questions, among which the most important is, what do we mean by it? I just don't know, if he has any connection with the Moscow Conservatory, but even if he did, and even if we remember that the piano school of Tashkent in many ways arise due to Moscow teachers and students, who moved there during the war, I still think that this was not the definite factor of forming his talent. Rather, it was a deliberate orientation in outstanding virtuoso- pianists of the Rachmaninoff generation, in A. Ziloti, and through him, in A. Rubinshtein and F.Liszt. And this, probably, partly explains his conversion to transcriptions by Horowitz: that was a challenge for oneself, aspiration to get to the limits of his capabilities, in order to clearly realize, and maybe even, to look beyond the limits. The necessities of the first class pianist - the brilliant technique, bright temperament and not extraordinary musical thinking became noticeable already before the Cliburn Competition. He quite quickly got out of the apprenticeship, went through the experimentation period, and already at the beginning of the 1990s became a mature pianist.

 

The thing what brings Sultanov closer to great pianists of the first half of the 20th Century is - the nobility, the ,there is no way of knowing from where it came, aristocracy. I think that basically - the honest and with no compromises relationship between himself and the musical text. Listen to his Chopin and Liszt: you may not agree with his dynamics, with his unexpected accents, it would seem "it's not right" "it's not acceptable", but everything he plays sounds so much convincingly, that it is difficult to not to acknowledge his rights to play this way. Like Hoffman and Rachnmaninoff has the arise of head spinning freedom of interpretations, with life overloaded musical stream, where on itself the pupil's questions are no longer relevant - but is it suitable to the author's (composer's) text and is it enough authentically consistent style. Not this become important, but the availability itself "to flow" into this stream, to reach the extreme depth. And in so doing , there is not any feeling of "psychological exhibitionism" arising, what is quite often seen at the concerts nowadays of some of the "stars". Then, it is his will with which he forms his musical conceptions: nothing by chance, everything is under control, there are no emotional overdo and hysteric, but after all, that what he is doing, is within the extreme limits. And maybe that is his most important difference from many contemporary pianists. Sultanov is not afraid of taking the risks, not afraid of "to get out of course" not afraid to come loose. In some ways his playing is - always extreme, like ascent the mountain: yes dangerous, yes, maximum risk, but if there is a confidence in himself and in his powers, then the perspective on the peak reveals entirely different. I never new him personally, did not see him during the years of illness, but I am absolutely sure that he kept his will to life until the end. Then, it is the power of his performances, power of psychological and strong-willed messenger, that's what makes his interpretations so convincing. This free playing of a creative spirit in the clear realization of a space, that's his element' his natural surroundings. When we listen his Chopin, Liszt, his Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Scriabin, it fills us with happiness, because he lifts us to the such a level, where the perspectives changes sharply and we feel the ,smashing over the edge, life in the long ago overplayed pieces, and finally, we realize that this music - is his, and it already has became part of our lives.

 

 

7.2005 from Aljona Rapoport (1996)

Ya nikogda ne zabudu, kak mi vtroem sideli v Japanese restoran pered moim konkursom i ochen' vkusno pili, eli i xoxotali do upadu. Aljosha psixologicheski nastraival menya pered konkursom. On sprosil: -"Kakoe vino samoe luchshee?" Ya dolgo dumala, stala perebirat' neuverenno nazvaniya luchshix vin. Aliosha smotrya pryamo mne v glaza , otchetlivo proiznes: - " KOTOROE TEBE NRAVITSYA."

 

Ya rasskazivayu etu istoriyu vsem moim uchenikam pered konzertami i konkursami. Dumayu, chto ne vozmojno virazit' koroche , ponyatnee, doxodchivee eto sostoyanie uverennosti togo chto ti delaesh na szene, - kak ti igraesh, kak ti sebya vedesh, sostoyanie kotoroe doljno prisutsvovat' esli ti xochesh ubedit' slushateley - nado ne somnevat'sya v svoey pravote i znat' chetko chto ti xochesh sdelat' - "kakoe vino ti lyubish". Spasibo Aljoshe za eto.

Elen Rapoport

English Translation

 

I will never forget, how the three of us, Aljosha, Dace and I, were sitting at the Japanese restaurant (1996) before my competition, deliciously eating, drinking, laughing our heads off and having a great time. Alexei, psychologically tuned me before my competition. He asked: "Which wine is the best?"
I started to think , I tried unsurely to name some brands and kinds of the best ones... By looking straight in my eyes, Aljosha distinctly said,
"The one You like the best"
I tell this story to all my students before their concerts and competitions.
I think that it's not possible to express more briefly, more lucidly the feeling of confidence of what you do on the stage, - how you play, how you behave, the feeling which has to be present, if you want to convince your audience - don't doubt your truth and know precisely what you want to do - "which wine do you love".
Thank you Aljosha for this!
Aljona
 

 

7.2005 from Aleksandr Bernhard

I would like to concentrate on the positive side regarding Alexei and although obviously his passing is a great loss, his living was such a great gift to all who were able to experience his musical ability and vibrant personality. I was priviliged to hear Alexei play in New Orleans Louisiana when I was young and what struck me most surprising about him, aside from his virtuosity and flare, was that he was such a laid back and sincere person. I got to meet him back stage and could have never imagined that such a serious and talented musician could be so sociable and playful. As a pianist I can only hope to one day reach the level of proficiency Alexei had at the keyboard while at the same time keeping a positive and down to earth attitude. I extend my sorrow to Alexie's family and friends but also thank his parents for gracing the musical world with such a great gift.
Sincerely, Aleksandr Bernhard - Pianist


 

7.2005 from Libby Tilton (2002)
Thank you for the honor of asking me to share with you my feelings about Alexei. Two things come to mind right away. 1. New Years Eve 2002....you and Alexei invited us to your home to celebrate New Years Eve with you. We had lots of wonderful food and drink and Alexei was happy and enjoying the night with all of us. At midnight he wanted to light sparklers and pop confetti poppers and so we did. Right in the middle of the house! My son Nick was so impressed that you guys did this in your house that he remembers that and talks about it every New Years Eve. Alexei liked fun and you continued to supply lots of FUN everywhere the two of you went. Thank you. 2. Thumbs up! I loved the way Alexei was always giving a thumbs up when he came into the clinic. One day I made the comment about how lucky you guys were to have each other. He immediately gave me a thumbs up! He loved you so much and it was so heart warming to see the love and devotion that the two of you shared with each other. How wonderful to experience that deep of a love.

Love and hugs................Libby


 

7.2005 from Linda McConathy (2005)

Alexei was one of the most courageous persons I have ever met. That he wanted to go back into the world after his incapacitating illness and find a way to make a meaningful life for himself took more inner strength than is required of most of us in our lives. There are several simple images of Alexei that I treasure and want to share with you. The first is his smile and the twinkle in his eye as he held the prize winning cake that you made last spring; he still had the capacity for joy in his life. At recent performances when he would finish a piece on the keyboard with a flourish, there was a glimpse of the Alexei who lived with such enthusiasm and verve. And lastly, I still see his handsome face as he wore an oak-leaf crown at the Ligo celebration in June; he was so dignified. That night we said he looked like a Greek god. Dace, you truly helped Alexei to live life fully until the end. It was not the same life he had before his health problems, but it was full of love, friends, goals to attain, ups and downs to deal with, and most of all hope. That was your special gift to Alexei, and he loved you dearly. What blessed memories you have to sustain you now through this difficult time. Walt and I send you our love, and we treasure your friendship.

 

Love, Linda McConathy

 

7.2005 from Nancy Cook (2005)

I first saw you two when you brought him into the pool at the Benbrook YMCA. I was the only other person exercising in the pool that day, and I was in awe of your physical strength getting him down the steps and into the pool. Then I couldn't help seeing the devotion you had for him as you led him through his exercises. At the time I didn't know who you were, but I learned later from the lifeguard who told me that you two would be entertaining at the Senior Citizens luncheon there the next week. In the meantime my daughter, who lived in Fort Worth in 1989, told me that she had heard Alexei play in the Cliburn Competition and knew immediately without a doubt that he would be the winner. While he was waiting for your program to begin that day at the YMCA, I told Alexei what she had said. At that moment I felt my heart connect with his; and then as I listened and watched the two of you entertain the group, I felt a strong heart connection with you also. Daci, I have never witnessed a more powerful living sermon of tender, committed love than I was privileged to experience that day as you led and encouraged him throughout that very moving performance.
At Alexei's memorial service I learned a lot about your fifteen years together. Yours was a very unique partnership in every sense of the word. It has been a roller coaster life, hasn't it? And now you will have the task of redefining your own life. I pray that you will be led to make the most of your new life, using your deep capacity to love, your strength and determination, your obvious charm and friendliness, and your own special talent with the cello.

 

Alexei has been called "great" by so many people; and rightly so. But there is another definition of "great". It's the definition that applies to people like Albert Schweitzer, people who are called great because of how much of themselves they devote to others. You, Daci, are "great" by that definition. You are truly a great human being, and you have touched many lives for the good, including my own. I will never forget you and your amazing Alexei.

 

Most sincerely,
Nancy Cook
 

 7.2005 from Charlotte
I would just like to say how sad i was to hear of Alexei passing away. He was truly the finest Pianist i ever heard . Never afraid to show emotion and TRULY bring the Music alive through his awesome technique and musicianship. In latter times the bravery he showed in overcoming his difficulties to return to sharing his gifts and yours with audiences was remarkable.My own daughter is disabled and reading of this on your website has been an inspiration to her . She has shared his story of hope and courage with many people. If only we lived in America and could have had the gift of coming to hear Alexei and yourself play! However his memory and musicianship will always remain in our hearts. Our sincere condolences to you at this dreadful time.

Charlotte and Family


 

 7.2005 (writing about 1996 and 2000)Sanita Seile

Man vislabak atmina palikusi makskeresanas pasakums. Tas bija varen jautri. Pasakums notika viena karpu diki. Brauceji bijam Es Pica, Alosa, Dada varbut vel kads es neatceros. Man liekas ka kaut kadi sikie bija un varbut ari maris. Es tiesam neatceros. Mums piedavaja pirkt uz karpu diki biletes vai uz otru, kura it ka esot citas zivis. Protams ka Dadai bija lidz vsadi sikumi prieks makskeresanas. Ta nu mes sakam makskeret. No zivim nebija ne smakas. Nekeras nekas. Bet bija loti jautri. Mes visi jautrojamies un priecajamies ta pat. Cik es atceros tad vienigais kas nokera kadu zivi bija Pica. Un otrs nopietnais pasakums kas iespiedies atmina ir koncerts Melngalvju nama. Tas bija kaut kas fantastisks ka Alosa vareja ta nospelet. visa publika bija sajusma. Tas teisam bija lielisi. Un vel viens bridis. Lai gan Alosa nebija pats klat, bet musu kazas tomer var uzskatit ka vins bija ar mums. Jo taja bridi kad gajam ieksa viesu nama skaneja Alosa speletais kazu mars. Tas ari bija loti patikami un savilnojosi. Jo ta bija ari vieniga reize, kad speleja kazu mars musu kazas, jo baznica kazu marsa nebija. Paldies tev Alosa. Sveicieni visiem.

Sanita

 

English Translation

My favorite memory is from the fishing trip. That was a lot of fun. The event took place at the carp pond. Me, my husband Picha, Aljosha, Dada and others. There were bunch of us - happy campers. The owner of the two ponds offered us to purchase tickets if we like to fish in one of his ponds. We had lots of different kind of fishing equipment with us. And, after we got the tickets we started fishing. There were totally no fish. We could not catch a thing. But it was a lot of fun anyway, we were laughing, boating, swimming, joking, having a great time. Only one who catched a single fish was Picha. And other ,more serious, event will always stay in my memory- It was Alexei's recital in Riga , in Melngalvju Nams (March 2000).That was something fantastic. Alexei playing was unbelievable! All the audience was in ecstasy. It was a stunning experience. And one more moment.. Although, Alexei was not there in person at our wedding, but we can consider that he was there. Because at the moment when we entered the banquet house, the recording of wedding march performed by Alexei was turned on. It was a very moving and happy moment. That was the only time when wedding march was played at our wedding, there was non at the church. Thank you Aljosha!

Sanita

 

7.2005 from Shani Romick ( 2004)

My Favorite Memorable Moment:
I remember the first time I met Alexei about 2 years ago. I had read all about his medical history and new his wife was bringing him in to see me in the hopes that I could help him improve his cognition and speech.
When they arrived I was impressed by Alexei's alert eyes. Even though he could not walk or speak well, he communicated with his eyes, expressions and gestures. He tried everything I asked him to do. I knew he was special and that his genius music abitity would help in other ways. He and Dace were a strong team, always working hard to improve Alexei's condition and grasping life by the horns and living the fullest life together that they could. Last year, we invited Alexei and Dace to the Center for BrainHealth (in Dallas) to play the piano at our Aphasia Awareness Picnic. They played beautifully together. Alexei was an inspiration to the other stroke survivors as they watched and listened to the music. This was my favorite moment- seeing Alexei perform his music for other stroke survivors with Dace by his side. It was a glimpse of the Alexei that won the Van Cliburn and the Alexei that would not give up his fight to improve his abilities. He will always remain in our memories and his music will be a legacy. I was honored to work with both Alexei and Dace over the last 2 years and will miss Alexei a great deal.
With admiration and love to Dace,
Shani Romick, M.S. CCC/SLP
Cognitive Linguistic Specialist
Center for BrainHealth
University of Texas at Dallas

 

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