The next day after the program “Air. Baroque Journey”, where Daniel Hope had destroyed all stereotypes about sound of baroque music, he had a completely different concert in our Opera House; it sounded chamber and deep. The compositions by Schnittke, Silvestrov, and Grieg were performed.
Alfred Schnittke “Suite in the Old Style”
When Alfred was about 27-28 years old, he was asked to compose a soundtrack to a movie for the first time. Later Schnittke did it on a regular basis. He was aware that soundtracks sidetracked him from more important work, but, on other side, what could be approved for movies might not have passed censorship of the Composers’ Union. And at that time his work in film making was for Schnittke some kind of creative laboratory. Later on, he included the themes from his soundtracks into more serious compositions.
“For about 12 or 14 years I have been living only as a composer for movies. All the compositions I wrote not for cinema were my own business. They brought almost no income” Alfred Schnittke.
That’s how the story of “Suite in the Old Style” began. Schnittke included three unique compositions which were not only orchestrated in the 18th century style, but also performed on harpsichord. For these compositions he used themes from his set of instrumental pieces which might be composed for pupils of his wife Irina when she was working in one of musical schools in Moscow. Mikhail Kazinik said, “After hearing this music the person is completely different from that person he or she was when just began to listen to it.”
Sonata No 2 dedicated to Shostakovich.
The sonata was composed in 1963 in a completely different style. Its third movement is a dedication to Shostakovich, namely his piano trio. And its final is a very personal reminiscence to a famous Mexican song La Cucaracha. As Hope said, the famous tune would sound like typical irony and sarcasm inhering in Schnittke’s works.
By the way, Schnittke considered Shostakovich as one of his gurus and mentors among composers. Shostakovich, in his turn, often stood for Schnittke’s compositions (although, in vain) on plenums of the Composers’ Union.
Premiere of Valentyn Silvestrov’s “Pastorales”, set of 9 pieces for violin and piano.
“When Alexey Botvinov told me we have a chance to have a composition by Silvestrov I couldn’t believe it, it was amazing! And so then the idea came about the combination of Beethoven, the Beethoven-Haus and my role as President of Beethoven-Haus; and then maestro Silvestrov had the idea to take elements from Pastoral”, Daniel Hope said.
It was composed at request of the Beethoven-Haus and the Odessa Classics Festival. The new work by contemporary classical Ukrainian composer Valentyn Silvestrov was pre-premiered on July 5, 2020, on World Environment Day, in Beethoven-Haus Bonn. Unfortunately, due to pandemic limitations, Alexey Botvinov could not come to Beethoven-Haus to take part in the concert, that’s why Daniel Hope performed together with German pianist Sebastian Knauer (by the way, one of the Odessa Classics artists).
“Silvestrov is a genius, absolute genius! It’s breathtaking, in one bar, in two bars the whole cosmos can open. So for me to play his music was amazing, really amazing!” Daniel Hope couldn’t hide his joy. “Every single note, every pause tells a huge story. Just the difference between one note and the next one is like taking you on the legend.”
Edvard Grieg, violin sonata No 3
The Norwegian composer E. Grieg has fitted in the program very well despite the time distance of more than 100 years in between. But when the main purpose of composers was to create a universal music language, the time is of no importance, isn’t it? Sonata No 3 is rather different from the previous two. Opening the new frontiers of music language Edvard Grieg had no idea, that more than 100 years later his composition would sound so up to date.
All the pieces of music included into the program have one quality in common, a fulfilling expression that touches the deepest heartstrings. In the comments after the concert the most frequent word was “a dialog”. It feels like the most of audience had their internal dialog, like a pray being created in the point of darkness and outstanding music.