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The whole world is orchestra!

And Moscow is its stage...

Everything has its time

A Russian saying

 When you read these lines I will be quite far from Russia. Actually, in the USA, from where I hope to bring if not a set of sketches, at least, a big article for MMH. I decided to write this issue before departure, since I am not quite sure if it will be possible to transfer information in Russian from there. So at the moment, Id like to briefly touch the event, which didnt attract the attention of MMH, but which doubtlessly deserves it. It is the World Youth Music Forum, which took place in the first part of July in Moscow.

I must confess frankly: I took part in this event within American-Russian Youth Orchestra, so I can be a little biased. However, Id like to share with the readers some of my thoughts about this event. 

The Forum occurred within the First World Youth Games. I think that everyone knows and remembers that the Games were held with the initiative and under the guidance of Moscow majory and our major Yu. Luzhkov personally. It accounted for overall success and considerate attention from the part of the press. The forum could have been quite modest, in comparison with the Games themselves. But such a perspective, perhaps, didnt appeal to the leadership officials who decided that nine youth orchestras, even if from different countries, playing one by one on the stage of the Conservatory Great Hall, was somehow dull. Well, not exactly dull, but ... plain. And there emerged an idea why not bring all the orchestras together on one stage and let them roll something cheerful... It brought about a reasonable question: where is such a stage intended for 900 musicians? The answer was equally simple why not the Red Square? 

And it completely cleared the point, why all these nine orchestras gathered in Moscow on the 15th of July on an enormous stage, erected on the Red Square. The orchestra performed Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition and potpourri on the themes of popular orchestra pieces. Under the baton of Valery Gergiev. 

Naturally, the potpourri was crowned by the overture 1812, cannonade, church bells and firework. 

This event, as all ideas of YML, made everyone indignant. The criticism boiled down to this: firstly, as usual, there is no money, and such an event requires additional expenditures (the stage erection, light and sound installations, driving away the clouds, etc.); secondly, no model performing, what we faced was at least non-model... And finally, why all this? 

Reproaches were pouring from everywhere and I, personally, underwent all sorts of interrogations (as I played in this huge orchestra): was it really interesting? how useful was it? Why did Gergiev need it? Was it actually beautiful?
   In order to answer these and similar questions concerning that concert on the Red Square I got down to writing this article. 

Yes, it was interesting. Due to natural curiosity and desire for communication with different people, I got acquainted with heaps of young people from different orchestras during the rehearsals. Not a single one mentioned it was boring or uninteresting. Everyone I spoke to was very pleased: to come to Moscow, to play with Gergiev and just to communicate. 

As far as usefulness is concerned.... Gergiev is no doubt a powerful conductor and a bright musician , so it was very useful for such a young musician as me just to watch the way he works with the orchestra. Now Id like to jump to something very different , but Ill try not to overdo it. 

The thing is that there are quite few good conductors at the moment, and Im not speaking about great ones. I mean just good professional conductors there are none. Gergiev is at least one of the few with whom I played and whose requirements didnt cause protest with me. 

Now a few words about the quality of performing. It remains completely vague why everyone decided itd be absolutely great? Rather, why is it emphasized that the performing wasnt completely genius? As far as I can understand, neither musicians, nor Maestro intended to create the masterpiece. More than that, with such a number of musicians on stage it seems to be utterly impossible to make a masterpiece of , say, Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition! The question is: why to play then? 

The answer would be: for the sake of the process. I pity those people very much (even if they are not musicians) who never wanted to jump and , say, sing something or read a poem... Yes, the scale would be different, but the principle is the same. Not always is the absolute quality absolutely necessary. This concert on the Red Square wasnt philharmonic. It had been conceived so as to make a holiday for the spectators. And in this case more really for spectators than actually listeners. By the way, they all liked it immensely! You should have seen people walking toward the parking place after the concert who on seeing young people with instrument cases started crying all together: Thank you!. And I wouldnt dare to decide who was happier. 

Then I came home and switched on TV when the concert was broadcast. And I fully realized that to crown it all, it was beautiful!

Of course, Luzhkov likes showing off . But with it he likes to work as well. As simple as that rest after work. And not with beer at the TV set, but duly - up to the hilt: with canons, fireworks and bells... 

If the concert, then on the Red Square, if radio, then Maximum!

Thats a gift... 

 

Boris Lifanovsky

boris@lifanovsky.com  



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