At Tanya Anisimova's recent performances I have been going through the same four stages of emotion, each of them, as usual, profound.
First, I am transfixed by the fingers of her left hand as they dance on the strings, and for a moment I enjoy the ballet.
But quickly, of course, my mind, or soul, is captured by the extraordinary sounds which she somehow draws from her cello, each individual note perfect, it seems to me, no matter how rapidly one succeeds the other. Here is the second stage--amazement at the technical mastery, though I am quite used to it when she performs. Can I really be amazed at what I fully expect?
Again, I don't concentrate for long on Tanya's technical mastery, because my mind, or soul, soon senses the presence of something greater and deeper and rarer, something that merits the term sublime. Tanya is not just playing an existing composition; she is taking an existing composition and endowing it with greatness of her own creation. Tanya's ultimate greatness is not in the grace of her fingers or her flawless technique, however impressive they may be; it is in her creativity, the spirit with which she infuses any music she plays, producing music greater than the score.
I fantasize the composer listening in awe to the performance and marveling to himself, probably with delight, "I never realized that my music was that great!"
And this brings me to the fourth stage, a rather troubling one that intrudes each time I hear Tanya play: Why is the name Anisimova not among the best known cellists in the public mind? I assume that experts in music who have had the joy of hearing her play--music professors, students in her master classes around the world, music critics, other outstanding cellists and other musicians, recognize her greatness. But why doesn't the average lover of classical music, the broader public, hear her name at every turn? It is hard for me to believe that the cellists best known to the public are superior to her in technical mastery or creative spirit.
Richard Renfield, re. recital 20th February, 2021
Author of "If Teachers Were Free"