Sunday, 20 December 2009

David Begbie and the New Chapter in Rhythmic Ties Concert Series

On Thursday evening I played a short recital in Queen's Elm Gallery on Fulham Road. The recital was an evening celebrating the works of the wonderful artist David Begbie. He opened his retrospective exhibition on Wednesday. All four floors were full of big sculptures that created even stronger impressions of themselves reflected on the wall. David creates sculptures using a unique steelmesh and they resonate with the sculpture of antiquity, they also reflect our preoccupation with the ideal body. Walking around the gallery I just felt so proud. His work is so proud and powerful. It made me feel proud to be human. The author that came to my mind was Ayn Rand. I bet she would have had the same vision about beauty. Pure, strong, physical, sexy and natural.

Although it was freezing cold and outside it was snowing, I managed to play Beethoven Sonata in A Major, Op.12, a very happy, lively and full of humor early work followed by the Debussy Sonata for Violin and Piano, one of his latest opuses where the language is so condensed and direct. The piece is only 13-14 minutes long, but boy, how he takes us to all those places, from the water and the sea, to the circus and the puppet show and the Paris of the beginning of 20th century.

I decided to give the full range of the human expression. I continued my own exploration of David's work with a taste of romance, Ernest Chausson, the Frenchman that died at only 44 in a stupid accident and who gave to the violinists one of the best gifts, "Poeme". The piece was inspired by a short story by Ivan Turgenyev " The Song of the Triumphant Love" and tells the story of two best friends Fabio, the artist, and Muzio, the musician, who fall helplessly in love with the same woman. While the artist is the lucky one and gets to marry the woman, Muzio, the musician decides to leave the city heartbroken in the pursuits of the far east. Chausson dedicated this work to one of his best friends, the legendary violinist-composer Eugen Yssaye. Poeme blends in the French impressions of the far east and builds up as an Italian drama, full of passion and a continuos struggle for peace and comforting heart. It is a jewel of the violinistic repertoire, which challenges the musicians in many layers. On one had you have this great palette of colors and moods that need to come out so naturally and strong, on the other hand beneath all this you have an incredibly complex technical web to surpass and come out floating as a weightless feather.

I could only end this short programme, which in itself holds a complete universe of feelings and images, just like David's work, with a selection of Brahms' Hungarian Dances transcription for Violin and Piano. These pieces are in themselves different kind of jewels. They are rough, unsophisticated, full of energy, full of contrast, almost animalistic. They are like a splash of very cool water on a sweaty face. I like that feeling about them. They come as close as you can get to pure, naked soul, without the skin of society, without the sophistication of manners. Again I found David's sculptures in this pure form of expression.

But here is my very own interpretation of Brahms and David and I do not claim to be the authority. My principal aim with the Rhythmic Ties Concert Series is not to become an authority in building up bridges and creating a collective thinking about a piece of music or art. I just offer an interpretation of how things stand for me and what people might find in two forms of art. Brahms might have been very angry with me for making his Hungarian Dances rough and animalistic. With no doubt one finds much more in them than that, which is why they stood the test of time and we are still hearing them today.

But my point really stands in the fact that Brahms, in the 19th Century, made an effort to get out of the conventional skin of very elevated musical form and tried to explore music in a more personal, popular and row form. He listened to the gypsies and their music. He respected their music the same way he respected the genius in Beethoven and Schumann and he took pleasure from every form of music as long as it was sincere and pure.

By the end of the night, I was sweating and feeling full of energy. After that I liked asking my friends what pieces they liked the most and I got very different feedback from everybody.
Some liked Beethoven because it was very easy to listen and understand. Others liked Debussy because he took them to so many different places and they felt like in a fun-fair. Some were moved to tears by Chausson and the love story, while others just felt like dancing with the Hungarian Dances and shake off their cold feet and gloomy moods.

I could never give up this profession for anything else on this earth. I feel like only by making music I Do Matter and is the only place i can give my little contribution to the universe and humanity.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Chelsea Music Academy

This is the new venture of two powerful and inspiring individuals, Bushra El Turk- Composer and Tala Tutunji- Pianist.

The Music Academy is a thriving centre that offers children and adults the chance to develop their musical education in both Middle-Eastern and Western idioms.

Based in the heart of London, the Chelsea Music Academy is run by a team that includes some of the UK's leading professional musicians and educators. Offering music tuition of the highest quality that is both personalized and innovative in approach.

I was very impressed by the launching of this new academy last night. I had the opportunity to play Bach's Prelude in E Major in a programme that included Middle Easter musicians and musical instruments. There I was, amongst them, playing this piece by Bach written in the 18th Century in Germany. It took almost a century for Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin to become known to the world but by the time we entered the 19th century they became the challenge and passion of every living violinist and musician.

On the same time or maybe hundreds of years before that, in another part of the world, with completely different cultural background, we have a series of different instruments, some resembling the western ones but others having completely different features. Even the violin is different, the Turkish violin has 5 strings and the tuning is different. This instruments were loved and they played the soul of the people that lived in those countries. The composers and the instrument makers might be individuals we don't know anything about but their music was carried through the ages by these instruments. Everybody talks about the power of music but last night for me was the best example. I do believe that the natural environment of the human soul is music. In the abstract and subconscious land of music we find our deepest truths about ourselves and our existence on this earth.

Sunday, 6 December 2009