'Tamerlane's Camp' stretched in hot Provence

'Tamerlane's Camp' stretched in hot Provence Photo: Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra press service

Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra made a short but successful trip to the south of France, where the orchestra directed by Alexander Sladkovsky gave two phenomenal concerts at the International Piano Music Festival in La Roque-d'Anthéron in Provence. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

In old park

Provence is a special region of France, it cannot be confused, for example, with the austere beauty of Brittany or secular charm of Paris. Here everything is imbued with sea, sun, fresh wind. It is no coincidence that the colours typical for Provence are blue and yellow, sky and sea, sun and sunflowers.

The small town of La Roque-d'Anthéron in Provence doesn't feel embarrassed because of a small population and for several decades it has been the place of holding the International Piano Music Festival, one of the most authoritative in the world as well as among musicians and spectators. It is held in the open air — in the park of the castle de Florence, where there is a huge — 2,000 seats — auditorium. The scene is placed on the water, and the piano is driven through the park on a tractor. At the same time, as Tatarstan musicians felt, acoustics is excellent.

Among the participants of the festival in different years there were Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Spivakov, Yury Temirkanov, Boris Berezovsky, Denis Matsuev, Yury Lugansky, Alexander Volodin, Lucas Debargue and others. This year it has been invited the Tatarstan orchestra.

The festival lasts for a month at several venues, this time it has been attended by about a hundred musicians from around the world. The Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky made their debut at the French festival, and the task for the orchestra members and the main conductor was not easy — it was necessary to show a very high level of performance, worthy of those Russian orchestras that performed before them. This has been achieved, and it is confirmed by the incredible by expression and duration applause of the audience after each of the two concerts and assessments of music critics.

Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky made their debut at the French festival, and the task for the orchestra members and the main conductor was not easy — it was necessary to show a very high level of performance, worthy of those Russian orchestras that had performed before them

Eight years after taking the position of artistic director and chief conductor of the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra Alexander Sladkovsky, if I may suggest, set for himself the minimum programme and the maximum programme. The minimum programme was to bring the Tatarstan orchestra into the top five orchestras of Russia.

The maximum programme is to enter the top ten, and then the top five orchestras in the world. The minimum programme has been fully implemented, and the maximum programme has now been successfully launched. The orchestra has become one of the main cultural brands of Tatarstan, forming a positive image of the region in the world.

Two nights

The first festival night was a kind of ''test of the pen'': how would the audience accept, spoiled by great musicians who performed on this stage in the old park? ''The test of the pen'' was not only successful — it has turned into a triumph. It was firmly anchored on the second night.

As you know, Alexander Sladkovsky does not have mediocre concerts, his psychophysical apparatus is simply not programmed for them. Always and everywhere, wherever he conducted, he does his best. But on these two nights in the French town the maestro was special — ringing, flying, inspired. And this feeling of happiness and flight, of course, was transmitted to the musicians, whom he conducted easily and joyfully. He was shining with a light energy, as if fuelled by the sea, the sun, lavender fields of Provence.

The first night – it was Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3, where Yulianna Avdeeva performed solo, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5. Russian music, its top samples. Already after the first part, the audience was fascinated by the play of Tatarstani musicians, before the second part the orchestra and the maestro were greeted with thunders of applause. But the main part of the excitement, as it turned out, was still ahead.

Already after the first part, the audience was fascinated by the play of Tatarstani musicians, before the second part the orchestra and the maestro were greeted with thunders of applause

After the main programme finished, the orchestra, of course, was not let go, the maestro returned to the podium several times and, of course, encored began — Russian and dance from The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, Spanish from Swan Lake (during the second one Sladkovsky as if turned into Spanish Hidalgo — actor's nature, as always, cannot hide itself), and for dessert, of course, our 'landmark' — Tamerlane's Camp by Alexander Tchaikovsky.

Here the audience, warmed up with frantic rhythms, was raving, the audience seemed to be ready to jump on stage and start playing with the musicians. The two-thousand hall was shouting bravo in unison, swaying to the beat of the music. There was a feeling that the maestro led not only the orchestra, but also this huge, enthusiastic audience.

The second night was the consolidation of success, the audience was already prepared, they knew what to expect and were not deceived in their expectations. The programme of the second performance of the orchestra at the festival — Piano Concerto No. 2 and No. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev, soloist Yury Favorin, and Symphony No. 4 by Tchaikovsky. The most complex compositions, requiring filigree work and musicians, as well as conductor. And this was appreciated by the audience, literally shaking the old park with applause.

The encores repeated — Russian dance from The Nutcracker, Spanish from Swan Lake, then they were joined by another Skomorokh's Dance, the concert crowned by the performance of Tamerlane's Camp, where the maestro traditionally showed his exceeding temperament, and the audience awarded the orchestra with incessant ovation. It seems that the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky has become a sensation at the International Piano Music Festival this year.

It seems that the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky has become a sensation at the International Piano Music Festival this year

''The virtuoso conductor, being tensed to the limit, was in absolute unity with the audience. We rarely see in our park so violently cheering, as if intoxicated with happiness, audience,'' thus Alexander Sladkovsky's performance was appreciated by the musical observer of the newspaper La Provence.

It so happened that La Roque-d'Anthéron cannot part with the heroes of this festival, and the orchestra has already been invited to the festival next year. But there's more. In the season of 2018-2019, the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, among other things, goes to two largest international festivals — in Japan and in France. The maximum programme being is executed resolutely.

By Tatyana Mamaeva. Photo: Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra press service