Alexander Sladkovsky: romantic confession of a child of the century

Tatar State Symphony Orchestra performed the music of French romantics

The Tatar State Symphony Orchestra and its artistic director — chief conductor Alexander Sladkovsky continue to make Kazan one of the musical capitals of Russia, spoiling the audience with premieres, participation in concerts of top musicians of the world. This time the main feature in Saturday's orchestra concert was the participation of French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Play of the Waves

The concert began with the performance of three symphonic sketches by Claude Debussy La Mer, and literally from the first seconds the conductor seemed to succumb to the changeable element of the water space. La Mer is the largest symphonic compositions by Debussy, inspired by freedom, wind and constantly changing sea surface. ''La Mer is all that is most musical,'' the composer wrote.

Three sketches of Debussy are three states of the sea element, changeable, unpredictable, living in the range from a blissful calmness to a rebellious storm. La Mer is one of the favourite images of romantics, so this work by Debussy is so close to Alexander Sladkovsky.

The first sketch, called by the author From Dawn to Noon on the Sea, is awakening, play of aquamarine surface in the first rays of the sun, peace and bliss. The second sketch — Play of the Waves — is the ''catch-up'' of small shafts, the joy of unity with the sea, when it makes someone lose their breath from this endless expanse. And finally, the third sketch — Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea — a reminder that the sea element is often formidable, it has a premonition of the storm and the storm itself as something purifying, bringing catharsis.

Claude Debussy emphasized the impressionist nature of his work, because it is the sea — one of the favourite images of the Impressionists, who were inspired by its variability and impermanence. Debussy's three sketches, which cannot be performed in isolation from each other, are imbued with the semitones that the orchestra caught. Performed by the Tatar State Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Sladkovsky, La Mer — is the finest, ever-changing play, it is the sun's glare, sparkling in the water. Freedom and courage.

Sea is one of the favourite images of romantics, so this work by Debussy is so close to Alexander Sladkovsky. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The second part was given to Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. The composer himself in a letter to a friend called his work ''the development of infernal passion''. The history of the symphony is Berlioz's painful passion for the actress who rejects him. The tragedy of despair, opium dope, phantasmagoric nightmares — all this is in Symphonie Fantastique, the hero of which is the composer himself.

However, the lyrical hero of the work will always be different from the author, whatever this similarity is. Here the hero of Symphonie Fantastique can be found with Byronic beginning, when ''hellish passion'' coexists with romantic melancholy. Sladkovsky-romantic understands this and feels like no other and is able to convey these feelings to the orchestra, which performed the symphony of Berlioz with transcendent passion.

By the way, contemporaries correlated Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique with Musset's novel Confession of a Child of the Century. The symphony was performed at the concert of the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra as such a confession of a man whose soul is burst into flames of passion, and it was very topical. Because in our rational age the impulses of passion have not disappeared, they are part of human nature, which we hide deeply, but it does not become less strong. The concert, the programme of which consisted of works by French romantics, is a confession of the romanticism of today, to which music gives the opportunity to speak out.

It's not just Westwood

The first part was not limited to only the performance of the work of Claude Debussy. In the second part, the audience could hear one of the most famous pianists in the world, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

The successful career of Thibaudet has lasted for already about thirty years, he is the winner of many awards, including the Order of chivalry of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, he is a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic, he soloed in the soundtrack to the film Atonement, received Oscar for best music and two Golden Globe awards, he received the Pegasus award at the festival in Spoleto and much more.

With the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky, Jean-Yves Thibaudet performed the Fifth Concerto for Piano with Orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns. Photo:

Thibaudet stars in films, he is the man of the people in the world of fashion industry, and his concert costumes are made by shocking Vivienne Westwood. Whether his creative jacket, in which he performed in Kazan, was tailored in the fashion house of Westwood, in the end, it doesn't matter, but his virtuoso playing really conquered Kazan.

With the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Sladkovsky, Jean-Yves Thibaudet performed the Fifth Concerto for Piano with Orchestra by Camille Saint-Saëns, written by the author under the impression the trip to Egypt. Saint-Saëns wrote about himself: ''I write music like an apple tree produces apples.'' The same can be said about the easy and elegant play of Thibaudet.

By Tatyana Mamaeva