GOLDRUSH CONCERTO & CANTO OSTINATO
IN NIZHNY NOVGOROD - RUSSIA
Saturday, 4 June 2016, 18:30.
I’m flying back from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. There is always a moment of release when returning from a tour or from a concert. Thursday I performed the Goldrush Concerto by Jacob ter Veldhuis together with Sergei Buranov. It was a very interesting experience to work together on this double concerto. For me the most interesting aspect is the one of adapting to each other and to the circumstances. If you read this I hope you share your ideas on this topic down this page.
We arrived both on Sunday evening. We had two days of rehearsal scheduled with the two of us, then Wednesday the first orchestral rehearsal, Thursday the general rehearsal in the morning and in the evening the concert. Both of us knew that it actually is impossible to become a duo within this short amount of time. So there the story started.
I found out that it in a situation like this it is even more important to be flexible. That means that in your preparation you study the score in many different ways so you can adapt fast. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change your playing style; you can make musical decisions together and still keep your own identity. I don’t believe that it is necessary for a duo act like one person. It is a possibility, just like the possibility is there that you both act like two soloist who challenge each other. This challenging results in tension, which is interesting for the performance.
By challenging I mean for instance to play very soft, challenging the other to even play softer. Or to take a tempo which is just manageable. This requires from both the soloist to open up big time. Open your ears and open up for a different interpretation then the one you thought of in the beginning. Maybe it is like a conductor following the soloist. As a soloist you also play this game with the conductor. Is it so that actually we are talking about communication now? Communication is probably one of the most important aspects in music. There is communication for instance between the musicians and the audience.
If I compare that to normal life we have a very beautiful job. Two people who don’t know each other meet in an unknown place somewhere in Russia. After 5 days they breathe together, they move together, they think at the same time and they feel together. Maybe that is the most important story to communicate to our audience. In general people connect by sharing a passion. A passion or an interested in the same topic like music, sports, wine, food, or you name it. Sergei and me found this passion in music and specific in the piece by Jacob ter Veldhuis. Goldrush Concerto lasts 30 minutes and is a challenging piece for two percussionists and orchestra.
Also in the Canto Ostinato with the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble I had a similar experience. On Thursday I met for the first time with Mikhail, Ivan and Dmitry. Immediately I felt that they were very professional, relaxed and open-minded musicians. It was like I joined a family opening up for a new friend. Canto Ostinato is performable in many different ways. I played the piece many times and knew that interpretation very well. Again I felt that adapting and opening up was very important, although the three of them where very open for new ideas, we had little time to rehearse and I felt that the best decision was to join them in their interpretation. It is like you eat your national dish prepared by people from a different country, new spices, new tastes, but still you know the recipe very well. It is just a matter of opening up for a new version of something you already know very well. Can you imagine a Dutchman cooking your national dish?
Nizhny Novgorod is a very beautiful city. The first concert was at the concert hall of the Philharmonic Orchestra; the second concert was in the Arsenal, a beautiful modern museum. Both are located in the Kremlin. It is beautiful to see tradition and modernism meeting in this place with a big history. We were very lucky with the beautiful weather these days. I want to thank Sergei and our conductor Rene for the nice cooperation on the Goldrush Concerto, the Philharmonic Orchestra, the organization, especially Valeria and Olga, the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble for a very nice version of Canto Ostinato and all the people who where so kind last days.
I have to finish up my story because we are landing in Amsterdam in a few moments. There we go, off to the next project!