“It’s just a Middle Eastern Harry Potter”: an unusual premiere sounded in Zaryadye

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello Festival

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello Festival

Coincidentally, I visited the Vivacello festival for the first time, despite the event being around for many years. In 2008 our cellist Boris Andrianov I decided “Why? why are there cello music festivals all over Europe, but not us”. And since then we have also appeared.

So, this year “Vivacello” will be held for the fourteenth time. In Zaryadye, where concerts are held, there is nowhere to fall a hat. Because the cello is a terribly fashionable and popular instrument. Even citizens far from musical life will surely remember it Finnish band “Apokalipika” with four cellos or two Croatian beauties group “2CELLO”. It is not clear if the Croatian boys play more: face of bow, but 244 million views away clip struck by lightning impress.

The festival is really different from many musical events. I was pleased with the caring kindness. Frankly, at concerts you often have to sit oak by oak, like that Nabokov hero who understood absolutely nothing about music and amused the whole work by staring at one woman. At “Vivacello” they combined the educational program and the musical part in one concert, accompanying each concert with a leading popularizer who tells in a very accessible way what will sound next and what needs to be paid attention to.

In particular, this presenter was at a concert on November 23 Artem Vargaftik. He spoke so insistently about Haydn and the work “The Seven Last Words of the Savior on the Cross” – that everyone understood everything and even cried at the last part of “The Earthquake”.

– And they clap and clap, even if they have a blow to the head, – gifted musicians often scold our naive listeners.

On “Vivacello” they solved the problem of applause between parts easily and simply. First, at the very beginning they warn how many parts there will be. Second, the serial number of the part and its name appear on the large screen.

– I am grateful to you for the restraint you have shown in not applauding between parts. And I would like to express a restrained optimism that this quality will not change us in the second part, – praised the good-natured audience Vargaftik.

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello festival

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello Festival

And how to refuse such a thing.

The first part is a work for which Haydn got chocolate cake

The soloist at all concerts is traditionally a cellist Boris Andrianoin, but the frame is different. This time it was an ensemble Questa Musica and young conductor Philip Chizhevsky. In addition, all members of the ensemble played while standing, and Andrianov sat on a throne like a king.

The first part sounded “The seven words of our Savior on the cross”. This work by Haydn was so controversial that experts do not understand until now: it was a failure or the pinnacle of creativity.

Haydn took a job that no one wanted to drag. A Spanish priest said: I’m tired of traditions, let’s do something unusual. And he proposed such a program. For the action that takes place in a cave, in the dark. So that all the musicians were in black, and for each part a priest came out on his knees and read a sermon. Joking with the Catholic Church that then, that could be fraught now, so everyone declined, and Haydn agreed. And well done, he didn’t get it, except for a big chocolate cake filled with gold coins.

The priest did not speak to Zaryadye’s audience, but a revised work was performed. In the original, the voice of Christ was symbolized by the first violin, but in the transcription Vladimir Tonka this voice, of course, was given by the cello. Well, it makes sense, since the density of the cello timbre is best adapted to convey anticipation and agonizing impatience. (So ​​they say).

The second part is a fun ride over the railing

In the second part, the audience was in for a surprise in the form of the premiere of “The Dream of Jacob” of an Israeli man and a steamer Baruch Berliner. The composer is also a mathematician, economist, polyglot and poet. The maestro made a new version of the concerto especially for Moscow.

Everyone remembers the story about Jacob, its meaning is that the hero saw in a dream a ladder of inhuman dimensions, along which angels descended and climbed back and forth. The characteristic of Berliner’s four-part concerto was that in the last movement of “Heaven’s Gate”, the composer shows the same angels and their supernatural world. Once Franz Liszt refused the idea of ​​interpreting the divine world, saying that earthly music cannot convey anything about heaven. However, Berliner decided that he could handle anything.

– In general, you will like it, – promised Vargaftik meaningfully.

And the audience loved it. And what not. The final stretch turned out to be unexpectedly agile and filled with Middle Eastern motifs.

“This is Harry Potter from Israel,” the girl next door whispered to me.

And I, in turn, introduced myself to merry angels, who first merrily roll down the railing of a huge staircase, and then fly up and roll again.

The listeners beat down all palms. And since there were no encores, everyone moved into the wardrobe in the rhythm of Berliner’s last movement. Jumping, bouncing and even sliding off the railing of the great Zaryadye staircase, you feel like an angel.

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello festival

Photo by Evgeny EVTYUKHOV, provided by the press service of the Vivacello Festival


It’s happening this Saturday, November 26 the closing concert of the festival in Zaryadye. Works by Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven will be performed, who, as we remember, was the first composer to appreciate the sound of the cello.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at