It was May 31. During the Adagio of the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, everything has become magical: a carpet made of string pizzicatos, like delicate attachment points with the earth, for the winds that float out of time. Then, an arabesque drawn by the violins.
Posted at 9:00 a.m.
Next to me, I felt a movement from my friend Camila, who was attending her first concert at the Maison symphonique.
She yawns ? She is bored ?
It happens to me to doubt, like that.
No: Camila was crying, with big tears, and had simply wiped her eyes with her black scarf.
Then, the immense and famous last movement of the Ninth was for her a crossing of her own life, from the little electronic keyboard on which her mother taught her to strum theOde to Joy to the mountains of her early twenties, a journey that took her from Colombia to Quebec.
Rafael Payare upset her. Its engaging force, channeling so much energy. The union of musicians, their concentration.
The silence that sometimes springs, after an immense wave of sound. And above all, for more than an hour, hundreds of people united, on stage and in the room, “without a single phone on”, underlined Camila, at the end of the concert.
Thank you, my friend: through your still badly dried eyes, through your restless heart, I regained my confidence that evening.
Music can’t save the world, but it has something important to offer: it talks about us, being bigger than us.
We hear it when we meet administrators, slightly worried musicians: part of the public is still not back in the concert halls.
This Ninth by Beethoven presented four times to sold-out houses at the Maison symphonique, this is the exception rather than the rule.
I hope that the presentation of three symphonies by Beethoven at the Festival de Lanaudière, from July 15 to 17, will attract as many people.
Especially since these three exceptional concerts feature Akamus (a shortcut for Akademie für Alte Musik : Academy of Early Music), while the prestigious Berlin formation celebrates its 40e anniversary. Accustomed to the biggest stages in the world, the orchestra has sold more than 1 million records, winning Emmy, Gramophone, Edison and Diapason d’or awards, among others.
Akamus was born on the East German side of Berlin in 1982. The formation immediately distinguished itself by playing regularly without a conductor, a practice still common in Beethoven’s time, when the orchestra was not yet of its size. romantic: it is the solo violin that guides the formation and ensures the cohesion of the whole, the musicians having to invest constant attention to each other.
Beethoven himself would smile at the idea that his Third symphony be played like this, without a conductor, in a “musical democracy”: he had first dedicated it to Napoleon Bonaparte, in a burst of enthusiastic admiration, then angrily crossed out its dedication, at the moment when the First Consul proclaimed himself emperor in 1804.
The originality of the three programs offered in Lanaudière is that each paired a Beethoven symphony with much lesser-known works, but closely related to it. Captivating music, especially when you can measure how much they prepared the ground for those of Beethoven.
I didn’t know the whole thing Great Characteristic Symphony for Peace by Paul Wranitzky, written in 1797. Not only does it evoke the same political scene as the Third of Beethoven, or the tensions that followed the French Revolution, but it also presents a funeral march in the same tone as that of Beethoven.
The proportions are very different: while Wranitsky completes his funeral in a few minutes, Beethoven constructs a movement of more than 15 minutes, with a dense and heartbreaking development. This explains it: Paul Wranitsky left more than 50 symphonies, but it was Beethoven’s 9 that made history.
Similarly, Justin Heinrich Knecht created a model for Beethoven by publishing, in 1785, The musical portrait of nature, or Grande sinfonie: it is the obvious inspiration of the 6e Symphonythe ” Pastoral “. Same form, same presence of a storm, before a last more joyful movement. But once again, Beethoven goes far beyond his source of inspiration. Knecht wanted to transcribe birds and streams into sound, whereas Beethoven speaks of humans in front of nature. He clearly expressed it: ” The description is unnecessary; focus more on the expression of feeling than on musical painting. »
Beethoven is perhaps the composer who best succeeds in staging the orchestra as a human society, a society which persists, tears itself apart, which advances, sometimes tramples, then blossoms in a collective revelation, or bursts in a transformative brilliance. We could support this idea with a technical analysis, talk about repetitive patterns, dynamic planes, harmonic diagram; it’s really not necessary, because we can all to feelif we agree to open up, like my friend Camila.