Friday, January 20, 2012

Howdy folks. 

I am at work at the moment, so there's no time for ya di da di da... but I am administrating our website - meaning the Festival Maribor website and I came accross many articles about the Festival Maribor... and I need to share an amusing one with you.

It was posted here and written by Laurence Vittes.

Festival Maribor (1):Hell Breaks Loose Ligeti, Bartok and Sculthorpe at Maribor Festival, Slovenia

September 6, 2011

Richard Tognetti (violin), Festival Maribor Orchestra, Marko Letonja (conductor). Maribor (Slovenia), Union Hall, 02.09.2011 (LV)

Peter Sculthorpe: Earth Cry (1986)
György Ligeti
: Violin Concerto (1992)
Béla Bartók
: Concerto for Orchestra (1943)

Ligeti’s massive and somewhat scary Violin Concerto of 1992, a sophisticated blend of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre, has rightly assumed the title of a 20th-century masterpiece. Like all of Ligeti’s music, hearing it live brings you far closer to the music’s purpose and soul than any recording could. Over a carefully constructed and dramatically superb structure, Ligeti drapes musical adventures of the most amazing sort, a bewildering pastiche of the hip, the traditional and the definitely intoxicated. The whole is compounded by a battery of unique instrumental effects including one violin and one viola each sitting by themselves playing deliberately mistuned instruments.

The 30-minute, 5-movement concerto begins with a movement that is neither fast nor slow before continuing on to a series of encounters between the orchestra and the soloist. Requisite to a deeply human experience that is also a virtuoso concerto, it poses immense difficulties, both showy and subtle, concluding with a brilliant cadenza that, after a short final respite, brings the music to a close.

In addition to showing off the chops and charisma that have made him a superstar, violinist Richard Tognetti “sold” the concerto with a performance that stressed not only the obviously dazzling theatrical elements but also those meant to communicate.

For their part, the sold-out Festival Maribor audience particularly enjoyed the music’s fierce and unyielding technical challenges, the effects of which were perhaps compounded by bouts of thunder raining outside the hall – as if extra percussion instruments had been written into the score. Led by Marko Letonja, the Festival Orchestra delivered the demanding Concerto after only a few hours’ rehearsals – an astounding testament to what world-class musicians can produce under pressure. (As an aside, in 2012 Letonja arrives in Strasbourg where he will lead the over 100 musicians of its Orchèstre Philharmonique, and embark on an ambitious program including hopefully, a new recording initiative.)

After intermission, Letonja and the ensemble returned to give a reading of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra that for once had a feel of the composer’s Eastern European roots and studies, coupled with playing from the horns and winds that handled the Concerto’s virtuoso aspects with glee, clarity and triumphant power. The rich, full sound of Union Hall again made clear the virtues of a live concert.

Peter Sculthorpe’s Earth Cry, borrowing harmonic principles from the astronomer Kepler and evoking nature with the help of an indigenous Australian instrument or two, was a comforting starter to the concert before Ligeti’s hell broke loose.

Laurence Vittes

And here's another article that I found amusing....

Rock 'n' Roll (written by Aljaž Zupančič)

Editor’s note: “Rock ‘n roll” was written by Aljaž Zupančič in a prose review style dedicated to Laurence Vittes that surrounds  the Maribor Festival 2011, Boundless Creativity and Song project No. 2, with Giovanni Sollima on cello and Marino Formenti, piano. Author Zupančič was born in 1988 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. After finishing grammar school in Kočevje, he went to study at the University of Ljubljana, where he is now a senior member of the musicology program in the Faculty of Arts. Currently he is also president of the student section of the Slovenian Musicological Society. Besides writting reviews for various publications, he is also active as a composer.

Giovanni Sollima; Photo Dejan Bulut; Festival Maribor 2011

Rock ‘n Roll
It was a rock concert.
A man who plays Vivaldi and Nirvana.
A man who plays Stravinsky and Nirvana.
It was a rock concert.

It was all about Sollima.
Sollima is a rockstar.
One feels a desire to start dancing.
Nirvana sounds better with Kobain’s guitar, but his cello almost became one.
It became obvious: music sounds better, when it looks good.
During the break, a woman in a black dress shouted: »This was the best concert of all!«
 If you weren’t there, you missed a lot.
Giovanni is not only a hard-core guy, he is also sentimental:
Wild plus romantic equals Italian: I wouldn’t be able to say no to him…
… if he was selling shoes.
 He can play without glasses.
He can play and walk at the same time.
He can walk and play at the same time.
He can play one cello with his friend – cello for four hands.
He can play two cellos at once (for a price of a thread of a bow).
Sometimes other musicians were a little bored.
Sometimes they seemed like bass players, who only have tonic and dominant to play.
But most of the time, they were infected by his energy.
It became obvious: someone who doesn’t like rock music is missing a lot.
It became obvious: someone who doesn’t like rock music doesn’t get much sex.
Sometimes, things were too cheesy.
But that comes with the Sollima package.
And how could an Italian be any different? He opens his mouth and fills it with the sounds of his cello.
He reminds me of Glenn Gould.
(in a certain way)
He is a show-off.
He is multipersonal though.
He reminds me of Vinko Globokar too.
(in a certain way, of course)
The cello becomes an extension of his body. Marko Letonja just helped – the ego wasn’t there.
Someone might say that Violoncelles, vibrez is an empty piece, that it lacks musical substance.
Some other piece with the narrator reminded me of music of the French composer Luc Ferrari.
He was also a crazy guy.
After the concert a woman shouted: »This was the best concert of my life!«
I wouldn’t like to hear it again, but this one time it was awesome.
It was a rock concert.
It was also a jazz concert.
A rock-jazz concert.
A jazz-rock concert.
It was all about Formenti.
Formenti is a jazz-rock star.
He tried to show the power of non-classical music.
He rushed onto the stage and immediately started playing – it was a bombastic beginning.
Nothing he did later was comparable.
Sitting next to an Australian woman, drinking cold beer and listening to Kurt Weill’s music was a special experience.

 He reminded me of Glenn Gould.
(He hummed a lot.)
 He demanded applause for the pretty girl who was then turning pages of his scores.
(Every rock star has a pretty girl somewhere around.)
 Marino is not only a hard-core guy, he is also sentimental:
Wild plus romantic equals Italian: I wouldn’t be able to say no to him…
… if he was selling shoes.
 He had lectures between the songs.
That was great.
 If you weren’t there, you missed a lot.
 He was a show-off.
He played a lot of tangos.
He said that tangos are erotic.
Sometimes, things were too cheesy.
But that comes with the Formenti package.
He does not know what rest (a pause) means.
No waiting, no time for metaphysics to come!
 Monday, 5th September 2011 was a great evening.
Tango is erotic music.
Erotic music is hot.
The cellar where the concert was became hot as well and it was hard to breathe.
Formenti suggested voting if we should turn on the air conditioning, which was very loud, so then it wouldn’t be possible to play beautiful music. We would have to wait for a bit.
But some woman shouted: »Just play!«
Women in Slovenia shout a lot.
He played Coldplay.
He played Nancarrow.
He played Nirvana.
Nirvana sounds better with Kobain’s guitar, but his piano almost became one.
His Nirvana had an interesting prelude – he was hitting the piano strings with a glass, I think.
I thought it would be great if he would continue experimenting with that.
But then he started playing chords and melody.
There was no music, there was only theatre.
But it was awesome!
 Before the last song of the evening, the doors of the restaurant upstairs opened and the noise from there was heard downstairs: the festival staff ran to close them to stop the noise. They did it. But only a few moments later the loud air conditioning system started.
All that happened while Marino was already playing the last song of the evening.
There was no music, there was only theatre.
I wouldn’t like to hear it again, but this one time it was awesome.

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