Bravo, maestro Accardo!
The Maltese festival goes forward with its mind-blowing abundance of concerts and events to suit any taste! And this island tells us such amazing stories…
Italy, a luxurious land…
Inspiration enwraps the whole country,
The past imprinted in everything,
And an ardent pilgrim from
the snowy lands
Hurries to see the great creation…
From Ode to Italy by N. Gogol
With regard to the concert of a new celebrity – the Italian violinist Salvatore Accardo, how can we not mention the great footprint of Italian art on this wonderful island?.
Let us add some strokes of history. Long-long time ago, Malta was, in a way, a continuation of Sicily (there is a hypothesis that the island was connected to Sicily with an isthmus). We cannot even name all the rulers of Malta! The new golden age of Malta began with the Knights of St. John, having made it one of the key chess pieces on the chessboard of world culture. And it is so significant and, obviously, no coincidence, that today’s Malta and its beautiful Valletta is the European Capital of Culture!.
The topic of Italy in Malta is definitely inexhaustible! Commissioned by the Maltese knights, the rebellious artist Caravaggio used to work on the island five centuries ago; he decorated local cathedrals, palaces and town residences… The scrupulous romantic Neapolitan Salvatore Accardo enlivened the Maltese festival with his performance.
The whole Mediterranean history is a vivid example of constant interrelation and synthesis of cultures originated from different traditions: Malta, Italy, Spain…
The famous Spanish pianist and composer Isaac Albeniz observed very wisely that “Spain has not delivered anything more Spanish than Carmen”. But the premiere of this opera, full of amazingly vivid and memorable music and genius dramaturgical findings, was a total failure, and the reason for that was an early death of the 36-year old composer Georges Bizet, who had died only several months before the triumphal procession of his immortal creation on the major theatre stages of the world. Tchaikovsky believed that the music of this masterpiece was a great reflection of the musical aspirations of the whole epoch. And what epithets received this “wonderful music with a mixture of motifs from Provence and Spain” – it is full of contrast and dynamism and it is perfect in its dramaturgical development.
The Armenian State Symphony Orchestra confidently used all their abilities this evening; the potential of these young musicians is unique and their temperament is worth so much! The conductor managed to show the whole palette of the orchestral score. The musicians were playing in unity within an overwhelming whirlpool of feelings and emotions.
Prelude, which opens Carmen-Suite, was performed (as intended by Bizet) as a culmination of the dramatic performance. The orchestra and the conductor were simply enjoying the splendor of harmonious elegance and melodious timbral richness, making the audience immerse themselves in the fantastical spectacle, where the main characters are Love and Death. Together with the characters of everyone’s favourite opera, we found ourselves in the world of dreaminess or light lyrics (the wonderful flute solo); then we suddenly felt hatred, shiver and deceit; we whirled in a crazy tempo of the mesmerizing Gypsy dance…
Then the Maltese festival was enwrapped by the mystery and enigma taking us into distant worlds. And as you might guess, Maestro Accardo became the romantic hero of the evening. Everybody was eagerly awaiting his appearance on the stage.
It is amazing, but already at the age of three he could play the violin and he played tunes he heard on the radio. No one taught him how to hold the instrument, how to use the bow, and, most importantly, how to make sounds. At the age of 13 Accardo gave his first performance of the Caprices by Paganini…
The romantic-idealist is acutely aware of the tragic fracture of existence, and at the same time he is striving to rise to Harmony and Love, to merge with Nature and Cosmos.
Now Maestro has two favourite instruments: Hart ex Francescatti (Stradivari, 1727) and l’Uccello di Fuoco (the Firebird) ex Saint-Exupéry (Stradivari, 1718). So beautiful are the names of these instruments, they have not only a distinctive sound, but a soul as well. Today Malta listened to the best-loved violin of the Maestro – Hart.
The romantic-idealist is acutely aware of the tragic fracture of existence, and at the same time he is striving to rise to Harmony and Love, to merge with Nature and Cosmos. This is how the great master Salvatore Accardo appeared in front of us. Here, on the island, he is standing on the stage as if contemplating the depths of the sea, the Cosmos, the universe, everything close and distant, final and infinite… By the way, today the sea in Malta was very rough: vivid colours of incoming waves, strong wind gusts and bright sunrays precisely reflected the emotions of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, in which the composer brilliantly revealed both lyricism of a song and, at the same time, fantastical scherzo images; we can hear simplicity and sincerity of his language.
Salvatore Accardo genuinely sensed the form of this composition. At first glance, the Maestro’s violin has an absolutely estranged and transparent sound, but, at the same time, we hear its full-blooded cheerful breath. The main task of a musician, according to the Maestro, is “to show music as it is, without misinterpreting the text and without adjusting it to our desires”.
The image of Accardo – unbelievably classical, buttoned-up, impressive – is remarkably elegant and reserved. His face is serious and focused. The musician’s motto is “patience and humbleness towards music and composers…” At the same time the musician plays very expressively. Accardo works on every phrase meticulously, like a jeweler who is making his best creation.
The romantic theme was continued by Flight of a Falcon, a piece for violin and orchestra by Alexey Shor. “This piece allows me demonstrating abilities of my instrument”, noted Maestro Accardo at the press-conference held the day before. “In addition to this, I associate this composition with the Eurovision theme song”.
We can add that the theme song jingle of the European contest is from Te Deum by Charpentier, a XVIIth century composer. Every musician has his own vision of a composition…
Falcon is sacral for Malta. In different cultural traditions, a falcon or eagle is considered a symbol of victory. Let us go back to the Knights of St. John: King Charles V, who wanted to have the Order established in Malta, resolved the issue related to their independence. In exchange for that, the Knights had to pay an annual fee of a single Maltese falcon, which they were to send to the King’s representative, the Viceroy of Sicily.
People have always admired birds… Ancient Romans used to tell fortunes by the flight of birds and their singing. And the French composer Olivier Messiaen, who dedicated his compositions to this topic, once exclaimed, “Time with all its sadness and sorrows is an abyss. By contrast, birds are our desire for light, stars, rainbows and wordless jubilation to the glory of life”.
The main idea of the Flight of a Falcon, in our opinion, is orientation skywards. The theme of a Falcon is born from and formed by the timbral orchestral colours. The leitmotif of the Flight is bright and memorable; it sounds in the orchestra and then it is played by the violin. Fairytale heroic intonations are constantly highlighted, as a reminder of the Knights of St. John. An interesting orchestration, the major/minor play and a restless melodious fabric are worth noting, like “free hovering and the ability to reach the heavens”…
Maestro Accardo played Caprice no. 24 as an encore…
A long ovation…
and pulled heartstrings of our soul…
Метки статьи:European Foundation for Support of Culture • MIMF18 • Malta International Music Festival • Valletta2018 • Malta
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