My 100th post today! And it is about beauty, of course.

The beauty of music, to be exact.

I was in London’s Barbican today, at London Symphony Orchestra’s concert. During the interval while having a cigarette in the courtyard I was thinking about the wonderful music I had just heard. And I thought: this music was composed by the Russian composers almost 200 years ago… And yet people all over the world still listen to it and  still love it and feel the beauty of it. It is the most amazing miracle, if you ask me!

Several impressions of today’s concert.

First – the hall was absolutely full again, not a single empty seat.

Second – when there was a pause in the music you couldn’t even hear people breathing, the atmosphere was so intense.

Third – about the music itself. The first piece was Mussorgsky’s “Night on the Bare Mountain”. I knew the name Mussorgsky, of course I did! I remember listening to his “Pictures from the Exhibition” when I was a child… But I hadn’t known what to expect from tonight’s piece. I had read strange things about the composer

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Modest Mussorgsky, aged 32, 1870

 

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Mussorgsky 10 years later, painted just days before his death. Alcoholism killed him at 42

He was erratic, a bit mad, all for “Russian music free from the Western influence”, he was an alcoholic; a lot of his music was not finished or was in a “unplayable”state and was finished by his friends.

But it was just wonderful! The sheer raw strength and magnitude of it was mind blowing!

The second piece was the Violin Concert by Tchaikovsky. Well, Tchaikovsky is my Greatest Composer anyway.

tchaikovsky

Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the Great Composer

But this particular piece was a  tiny disappointment, may be because last time I heard his 5th Symphony and it was… wow. I read that when the Violin Concerto was first performed it was met with a severe critique. The composer never wrote a violin concerto again. I have to say that it was still very beautiful and the soloist was incredible but something was not quite … enough for me tonight.

Now, as for the third piece, Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” – alas, it was just not my cup of tea at all, unfortunately.

stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky

May be because it was originally music written for a ballet staged for Dyagilev’s “Russian Seasons” in Paris in 1910. Although the music was undoubtedly powerful I couldn’t help feeling that it SHOULD be a ballet with all the stage appearances, dancing, costumes, etc. Especially when I imagined how it looked then – with Fokin dancing, Bakst’s costumes and decorations… I am sure it was just magnificent!

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“The Firebird”< the Prince’s costume designed by Bakst

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Another of Bakst’s costume for the ballet

 

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“The Firebird” – the ballet

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But played as a concert piece – it just didn’t do it for me…

 

And this is all I’d like to say about my awesome date with the essence of beauty – Music.

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