Rustem Abyazov, his chamber orchestra La Primavera and guest stars opened the IX International Festival L'arte del arco in the S. Saydashev Grand Concert Hall. This year famous Russian musicians Nikita Borisoglebsky and Fyodor Amosov, Graf Murzha, and Gaik Kazazian came to Kazan to demonstrate their art of the bow. The only guest from abroad – the Mexican violinist Alfredo Reyes Logunova - also came to the opening of the festival and the following concert in Nizhnekamsk.
Resident Composer of the Year
In March 2020, the festival began and closed on the same day - the opening of the festival became simultaneously with its closing, and the guests, of those who had already arrived, went home. Just a few days later, a quarantine was declared. Obviously, this year it was possible to invite only one guest with great difficulty.
According to Maestro Abyazov, usually, the amount of foreign guests at the festival outnumbers Russian soloists.
- In September we had already set up a complicated scheme to coordinate the arrival of guests from abroad, at that time we had the violinist Mark Drobinsky from France visiting us. At that time, we began to negotiate his arrival a month in advance, but now, of course, it was easier. As always, the festival will feature premieres, five free masterclasses for music school students, and concerts will take place not only in Kazan but also in Nizhnekamsk and Naberezhnye Chelny. This year the festival will feature composer-in-residence Alexey Shor. I'd like to say that he will be resident for the whole of 2021 - in September, a piano marathon will start, at which the works by Alexey Shor will also be performed. We will be performing a number of his works. For example, at the opening, his Phantasms will be performed for the first time in Tatarstan, - said Rustem Abyazov.
According to Maestro Abyazov, usually, the amount of foreign guests at the festival significantly outnumbers Russian soloists
Premiere performances and new names
This work in three parts could be called “intellectual fantasies”. At various moments it seems as if the composer is discussing works by Mozart and Vivaldi, or a solemn polonaise is being played, replaced by an unbridled Hungarian czardas. However, all the transitions are mathematically precise.
Alexey Shor is considered an American-Maltese composer, though he was born in Kyiv. He was educated as a mathematician but first began composing music only when he was 42. Since then his works have been performed all over the world. At the L'arte del arco festival, Boris Andrianov, Graf Murzha, and Gaik Kazazian will be performing his works Musical Pilgrimage, Four Seasons of Manhattan, and Seascapes. All these names need no introduction. Maestro Abyazov called them “musicians of the highest caliber”.
We also want to show the audience Kamil Mukhametdinov, a young, promising, and very interesting Kazan cellist. There will be many premieres at the festival. For example, we will be performing Jazz Rococo by Alexander Rosenblat, arranged by Fyodor Amosov for us. We all know the iconic piece for cellists - Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky. The contemporary composer made variations on the same theme with a jazz flavor.
The participant in many world festivals, the cellist has already been to Kazan, performing with the State Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan.
Restart of “Jazz Rococo”
As the maestro had predicted, the premiere performance of “Jazz Rococo” was received with a standing ovation. It was performed by Fyodor Amosov, the author of the arrangement. The first public performance took place when Fyodor was seven years old. Since then he has regularly performed as a soloist and in chamber ensembles in Russia, Europe, Asia, and North America. A participant in numerous international festivals, the cellist has been to Kazan before, performing with the State Symphony Orchestra of Tatarstan. He is making his first appearance on stage with La Primavera.
- It seems to me that today is a big day for the music community. You could say that there is a re-start of the premiere “Jazz Rococo” by Alexander Rosenblat. It's a remarkable, living composer - after the departure of the great jazz composer, our contemporary Nikolay Kapustin, he remains the only one who writes in this style and is actively published. However, only abroad; there are no editions in Russia. This piece is very interesting; I have specially arranged it for the orchestra, for the string section. It's a cheerful and wonderful piece, and I think it's one of the best works written in the 20th century, - says Fyodor Amosov.
The seeming freedom of jazz
The musician admitted that this is indeed a very difficult piece to perform, not everyone is willing to spend several months to master it. In addition, jazz is quite specific, it is terra incognita for most classical musicians. It is complex and unusual, requiring a different approach, to the technology of sound extraction, for example.
- I won't say that jazz is easy for me, too. This music requires different self-discipline to the rhythm. We, classical musicians, deal with rhythm quite freely, whereas jazz requires strict adherence to rhythm. If you have any problems with the rhythm in the vertical of the score, the whole structure stops working. You could say that jazz only seems to be free music, in fact, it's very metrical music. All freedom is in the rhythm. Jazz freedom is only an appearance, or rather an audible one, - the musician assures.
Young, energetic, and light-hearted Alfredo Reyes Logunova speaks fluent Russian
The foreign guest of the festival, of course, deserves special attention. Young, energetic, and light-hearted Alfredo Reyes Logunova speaks fluent Russian. It's not just about the music teachers:
- My mother, Svetlana, was born in Alma-Ata. Of course, Spanish was the most commonly spoken language in the house, but we spoke Russian as well. It was very important for her to preserve and transmit her national culture and language. For me, it is a tremendous privilege to be in Kazan today and to perform with such musicians. I think that the orchestra La Primavera is one of the best ensembles not only in Russia and Europe but also in the world. Each musician is a virtuoso on the instrument, and there is a sense of cohesion between all of them.
Echoes of the “Leningrad” symphony
A Mexican of Russian descent came to Tatarstan's capital from Italy. He studied with Boris Belkin in Maastricht and Felix Andrievsky in London. Alfredo Reyes Logunova noted that the first concert, and the festival itself, will be landmark events for many.
- The pandemic has shown how badly people need music. Yes, as they say, man does not live by bread alone. Remember the premiere of the seventh concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich - in the besieged Leningrad, hungry and exhausted people still gathered in the concert hall to hear music that supported them, gave them new strength to fight for life. Of course, today we are not in such extreme conditions, but it has something in common, - says the violinist.
On March 16, the musicians will present their art of bowing at the S. Saydashev Musical College in Nizhnekamsk and then go to the organ hall in Naberezhnye Chelny. The final concerts will take place in Kazan on March 20 and 21.
Anna Tarletskaya, photo by Maxim Platonov