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The Last Dance – A Portrait of Oleg Karavaichuk

Author: Poorhouse International

Poorhouse is proud to present a profile of the composer, pianist and philosopher who had important things to say albeit wrapped up in an extravagant way.

  • Oleg Karavaichuk | Copyright: © Foundation Kino & Teatr

    Oleg Karavaichuk © Foundation Kino & Teatr

  • The Last Waltz – poster | Copyright: © Foundation Kino & Teatr

    The Last Waltz – poster © Foundation Kino & Teatr

Some believe, he is larger than music, others say that he is a holy fool of music. Who is Oleg Nikolajevich Karavaichuk? Some personal data indicate that he began to compose as a child and played the piano for Stalin when he was seven. Fact is that he was born in 1927 and died in 2016. After attending the School of Music at the Leningrad Conservatory, mentored by Dmitri Shostakovich and Sviatoslav Richter, he went on to study piano with Samarii Savshinsky at the Leningrad Conservatory. Known for his provocative performances and extravagant appearance he soon clashed with the KGB and turned, as he said himself, to composing music for some 200 movies in order to have his peace.
The well-read composer was also versed in the history of music and spent the latter part of his life at Komarovo, an artists’ colony in the neighbourhood of St. Petersburg, mostly composing, and in search of the absolute note. Filmmaker Yuliay Bobkova had the good luck to capture his last performance of a waltz, because Karavaichuk rarely appeared in public and did not like the contact with an audience although witnesses remember stunning performances of his. He quoted Rachmaninoff who said “when I play I can’t compose” and envied “those ancient composers who could do without the public”. In Bobkova’s film, the last public appearance of the composer, Karavaichuk gave a guided tour through Komarovo remembering the old times before it had become a place for the great and the beautiful, both of which he didn’t think highly of.

Duration 77min.
Director Yuliay Bokova
Production Company Foundation Kino & Teatr
Video format HD

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