Issue 6 – Summer 2019 askonasholt.com
EARLY MUSIC FOCUS
Giovanni Antonini Haydn2032: an 18-year project
3D printing Researching & producing historical instruments
In conversation Trevor Pinnock, Emmanuel Pahud & Jonathan Manson
Emmanuelle Haïm The drama of the French baroque
Harry Ogg · The Bach Bubble · Marta Gardolińska · AH on tour
Cover photograph Emmanuelle Haïm © Marianne Rosenstiehl Guest editor Fiona Russell
Contributors Adrian Horsewood, Lindsay Kemp & Fiona Russell
The Green Room is available as a free digital publication at askonasholt. com/magazine. Should you wish to receive a printed copy, please email us at the address left.
Design & editing Frances Innes-Hopkins
The Green Room Askonas Holt 15 Fetter Lane London EC4A 1BW
Printed by Hill & Garwood Printing Limited Moor Park Industrial Centre Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 9ET
We do our best to avoid inaccuracies, but if you do believe an error has been made, please contact us using the email address above and we will do our best to put the matter right.
All rights reserved © Askonas Holt Ltd. Unauthorised reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without prior written permission.
Welcome We cannot listen with authentic ears; we cannot know what it is like to be astonished by the daring of Monteverdi or Purcell, or to hear Mozart cleanly for the first time having never been exposed to Mahler. Music does not hold the same relevance or meaning in our lives and society as it did two or three hundred years ago, yet we still strive to produce so-called authentic performances.
FIONA RUSSELL assistant artist manager
Fiona studied recorder at the Guildhall School of Music and cornetto at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She performed and recorded with many of the period instrument ensembles including the English Concert, The Sixteen, Concerto Palatino, La Fenice and the Gabrieli Consort and Players; appeared in productions at the Globe Theatre and toured worldwide with Les Ballets C de la B in VSPRS. Fiona is a now an amateur horn player, has trained as a falconer and has been at Askonas Holt since 2010.
The early music scene has expanded and grown enormously over the past 50 years, with the concept of historically informed performance practise (HIP) now extending to repertoire from the early 20th century. Take for example, ensembles such as Les Siècles, who perform Stravinsky, Debussy and Mahler on appropriate instruments. These musicians seek out exact replicas or even original instruments that are not only precise in when they would have been used historically, but also geographically. Following the Techology Focus of our previous issue (Issue 5, Spring 2019), I found myself wondering to what extent the period instrument movement needs to keep up with technology in the digital age. Do performers embrace the advances or stubbornly resist them? We dip our toe into the subject and explore the bridge created between the two worlds through the fast-growing business of 3D printing, and its role in research and instrument production (p.13). Cover star Emmanuelle Haïm speaks to Lindsay Kemp about her love for the drama of the theatrical French baroque music, and how she balances performing with her own ensemble with guest-conducting modern symphony orchestras (p.16). Fellow conductor Giovanni Antonini talks to Adrian Horsewood about all things Haydn and his 18-year project Haydn2032 (p.9). Friendship and music making span generations, and it feels a great honour to have eavesdropped on a conversation between friends Trevor Pinnock, Emmanuel Pahud and Jonathan Manson during their recent chamber music tour (p.20). Finally, AH artists and managers dispel a few myths surrounding the ultimate in solo instrumental repertoire: the works of J S Bach (p.24). Outside our theme, we catch up with both new and established members of the AH family: the spotlight falls on conductors Harry Ogg (p.28) and Marta Gardolińska (p.8), and long-standing member of our finance team Susana Tierney takes our Meet the Team quiz (p.29). The summer months are always busy for our touring department and this year is certainly no exception, with more than 90 performances over the next three months (p.30). Music of the renaissance and baroque periods has always occupied a major part of my life, and it is with great pleasure that I share this enthusiasm in the latest edition of The Green Room – I hope you enjoy reading it! Summer 2019 The Green Room 3
IN THIS ISSUE 3 EDITOR’S WELCOME 6 NEWS Sopranos Samantha Clarke and Asmik Grigorian, pianist Eric Lu, conductor Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, plus recent new signings 8 SPOTLIGHT ON... Polish conductor Marta Gardolińska 9 FOCUS INTERVIEW GIOVANNI ANTONINI Adrian Horsewood speaks to Giovanni Antonini about his 18-year project, Haydn2032 13 FOCUS 3D PRINTING 3D printing as a tool for researching and producing historical instruments 16 FOCUS COVER STORY Lindsay Kemp speaks to Emmanuelle Haïm about Le Concert d'Astrée, working with modern instrument orchestras and the French baroque 20 FOCUS IN CONVERSATION Trevor Pinnock, Emmanuel Pahud & Jonathan Manson 24 FOCUS THE BACH BUBBLE AH artists and managers share their views on – and dispel a few myths about – the composer's solo instrumental works 28 Q&A Recent signing Harry Ogg reveals musical memories and favourite things 29 MEET THE TEAM Finance Manager, Susana Tierney takes our Q&A 30 ON TOUR Upcoming projects this summer
4 The Green Room Summer 2019
Photos, clockwise from top left: Emmanuel Pahud, Trevor Pinnock & Jonathan Manson © Peter Adamik / Warner Classics , Jian Wang © Han Jun, Marta Gardolińska © Bart Barczyk, Giovanni Antonini © Kemal Mehmet Girgin, NYOUSA © Jennifer Taylor, Harry Ogg © Adam Markowski, 3D-printed cornetti © Ricardo Simian, Samantha Clarke wins Guildhall Gold Medal © Clive Totman, Emmanuelle Haïm © Marianne Rosenstiehl
Summer 2019 The Green Room 5
© Janice Carissa
© Jim Watkins
© Clive Totman
Read more news stories at askonasholt.com/news
Samantha Clarke wins Guildhall Gold Medal
Asmik Grigorian: Female Singer of the Year 2019
Eric Lu announced as BBC New Generation Artist 2019
On Friday 10 May, Australian-British soprano Samantha Clarke won the prestigious Guildhall School of Music Gold Medal. The award was presented by Sir Bryn Terfel – himself a winner of the title – who was joined on the jury by Jonathan Vaughan, Richard Farnes, Kevin Murphy and Ann Murray DBE. Samantha performed a wonderfully varied programme of works by Strauss, Poulenc, Copland, Mozart, Puccini and Stravinsky.
Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian has been awarded Female Singer of the Year at the 2019 International Opera Awards. The award follows worldwide acclaim for her portrayal of Salome at the Salzburg Festival (“a Salome to end all Salomes” Financial Times); a role for which she has also been nominated for Best Female Lead at the 2019 Österreichischen Musiktheaterpreis (Austrian Music Theatre Prize).
American pianist Eric Lu has been announced as one of the seven artists who will join the 2019 BBC New Generation Artists scheme on 1 September 2019 – the same day he will make his BBC Proms debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and conductor Long Yu (see right).
This fantastic achievement marks the end of Samantha’s time at the Guildhall and leads into her appearance as Georgiana in the world premiere of Georgiana at the Buxton International Festival, her debut at Opera North as Musetta, and her debut with the Munchner Rundfunkorchester.
A founding member of Vilnius City Opera, Asmik has received several awards from her home country recognising her substantial contribution to Lithuanian culture and heritage. Most recently, she was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the medal “Merits to Lithuania” by the President of the Republic of Lithuania.
Launched in 1999, the BBC NGA scheme supports young musicians on the threshold of an international career. Fellow AH instrumentalists and BBC NGA alumni include Alison Balsom, Veronika Eberle, Alina Ibragimova, Andrei Ioniţă and Cédric Tiberghien.
6 The Green Room Summer 2019
The announcement follows Eric's win at The Leeds International Piano Competition in September 2018.
Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Music Director Long Yu announce 140th Anniversary World Tour In celebration of its 140th anniversary, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has announced a three-week world tour, under Music Director Long Yu. The tour runs from 14 August to 1 September 2019, during which the orchestra gives debut performances at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Wolf Trap and Ravinia Festival, in addition to returning to Lucerne Festival, Grafenegg Festival and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. In striving to promote and build cultural exchanges between East and West as part of its “Music Connecting Worlds” ethos, the SSO performs Wu Xing (The Five Elements) by leading Chinese composer Qigang Chen, throughout its tour. Chen's work will also feature on Long and the SSO's debut studio album on Deutsche Grammophon, entitled Gateways, which is due to be release on 28 June 2019. Long and the SSO will be joined on tour by three world-class soloists: Alisa Weilerstein will perform Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor at Wolf Trap, Ravinia Festival and Edinburgh International Festival; Frank Peter Zimmermann presents Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major at the Lucerne Festival, Grafenegg Festival and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; and Eric Lu will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major in London. The SSO has been touring internationally since the 1970s, when they performed in Australia and New Zealand, and in 2017 became the first Chinese ensemble to perform at the Lucerne Festival. Askonas Holt is privileged to be working with the SSO for the first time on this historic tour. askonasholt.com/tours-and-projects/upcoming View the tour schedule on p.30
Recent additions to our roster Discover more at askonasholt.com
Armenian tenor Migran Agadzhanyan
AustralianBritish soprano Samantha Clarke © Mariona Vilaros
British conductor Harry Ogg
Austrian-English soprano Anna Prohaska
© Adam Markowski
© Harald Hoffman
Read our Q&A with Harry Ogg on p.24
British bass William Thomas © Mark Gimson
Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek © Fazil Berisha
Summer 2019 The Green Room 7
arta Gardolińska began as the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association in September last year, a trainee role which ordinarily involves assisting conductors in rehearsal and taking on some school and family concerts. Barely six weeks later, she was conducting Rachmaninov’s immense Second Symphony and the Bruch Violin Concerto in a main stage concert, having stepped in at short notice for an indisposed Ben Gernon. Needless to say, it went well. Marta took piano and flute when she was growing up in Poland, but after trying her hand at choral conducting, by the age of 20 she was already focusing on the baton, with studies at the Frédéric Chopin Music University in Warsaw, followed by the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. You’ve described yourself as a chamber musician with a baton. Is that a clue to your conducting philosophy? The ideal way of music making for a lot of people is chamber music because everyone is equally important, which creates a sort of energy that you can’t get anywhere else. With a bigger group you need someone organising it, the conductor, but I think it’s important for a conductor to create space for the musicians to give as much as they can. You did a postgraduate degree in Music Physiology – does that inform your approach in any way?
8 The Green Room Summer 2019
As a kid I was actually doing more sport than music, and through that I had some injuries, did some physiotherapy, and realised what self-care is. But I also noticed how musicians weren’t thinking about it at all. Being a professional musician offers similar challenges to being a professional sportsperson, with huge physical strain in very particular areas of the body of instrumentalists, and too often they just get used to living with chronic pain. Whenever I get a chance to influence an institution on that level, I will certainly try to make sure that options are available for musicians to seek help or advice early enough, when it’s still prevention.
and beautiful music. I would love to help broaden the standard repertoire by rediscovering pieces and doing them justice through research and finding proper performance practice for them. It is important for me to contribute both to popularising Polish culture abroad and help musical culture in Poland grow and flourish – and of course I hope I will have a chance of to make more music there in the future. This is an extract from an interview by Kimon Daltas, originally published online. Read the full interview at askonasholt.com/marta-gardolinska
You’re passionate about the music of your homeland. Are there any composers you feel should be better known? Yes, Polish orchestral music is a little bit of a mission for me! In the 20th century there is Grażyna Bacewicz for instance [whose works include seven violin concertos and four symphonies]. Earlier there is Szymanowski who is already widely performed of course, and I believe it will grow, but there are also fantastic symphonic works from the 19thcentury that are little known, even in Poland. Mieczysław Karłowicz, Józef Wieniawski [brother of the violinist Henryk], Zygmunt Noskowski, Józef Dobrzyńsk… many names and lots of interesting
© Bart Barczyk
Seeking Haydn Adrian Horsewood speaks to Giovanni Antonini about his 18year project to perform and record each of Haydn’s 107 symphonies
© Kemal Mehmet Girgin
any conductors, quite reasonably, hold the day of a performance sacred and shun any outside intrusion until after the final chord has died away; not so Giovanni Antonini, who professes himself delighted to meet on one such day to talk about his ongoing project to record all of Joseph Haydn’s symphonies – so much so that he almost needs to be reminded to eat a quick lunch before launching into the final rehearsal for that evening’s concert. Antonini is the artistic figurehead for Haydn2032, an ambitious undertaking – one that spans performance, recording, musicology, photography, and literature – that was launched back in 2014 and is due to finish in 2032, to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the composer’s
birth. Supported by a newly-created foundation in Basel, the Joseph Haydn Stiftung, Antonini and two orchestras with which he has close ties – the Italian Il Giardino Armonico and the Swiss Kammerorchester Basel – will perform and commit to disc each of Haydn’s 107 symphonies (that figure only recently revised up from the previously canonical 104). “We are almost one third of the way through,” notes Antonini, “having done at least two projects a year since we started. The structure is very similar each time: we have four concerts, and in between we have recording sessions.” He is keen to emphasise the collective approach of the project: “It’s a great opportunity, because thanks to the Foundation in Basel, which gives support in a very generous way, we have the right resources and atmosphere to plan,
Summer 2019 The Green Room 9
GIOVANNI ANTONINI: SEEKING HAYDN
Each of the Haydn2032 releases is accompanied by cycle of images related to each topic, in collaboration with renowned photo agency Magnum Photos. The photo above accompanies the sixth release, Lamentatione © Abbas, Magnum Photos
to rehearse, to think, and to perform. This then leads to new ideas, so it’s a work in progress that is unique. “It’s really a long-term mission – quite unusual for this age, when everything seems to be fast and short-lived, and it requires a lot of energy. The thing is not to become casual in our approach; when you have such a long project the danger is that you become complacent and things become routine, which is what we are trying to avoid.” The luxury Antonini has of being able to work with period instruments and two first-class orchestras helps with this drive never to rest on his laurels. “I founded Il Giardino Armonico 33 years ago, so I know them very well! But I’ve also had a long relationship with the Kammerorchester Basel, particularly when we performed and recorded all of the Beethoven symphonies. I particularly like this way of working, when you have
10 The Green Room Summer 2019
time to really think through and talk about things with the players, which helps us to keep our interpretations related to the moment, not fixed and unchanging.” The overall trajectory of the project – in which the symphonies for each album and associated concerts have been linked by themes and moods, rather than chronologically or numerically, and then supplemented by other works that fit with the theme – also helps to keep things fresh, as does Antonini’s disarmingly honest, yet informed approach to this vast body of music. “I have to say, I didn’t start out as a great expert in Haydn’s music! Of course, I have a background in Baroque and Classical music, but I have really enjoyed this opportunity to discover things and to learn things while doing them. You must be informed, and I come from the world of period instruments where
the philosophical approach is very important. But on the other hand, in order to keep this freshness, you have to take risks in the moment and not give a performance that is entirely philological; that is, completely bound to the musical text and everything written there. “We can talk about what a sign in the text means – what it probably means – but we can’t always definitely say ‘I am right’ or ‘I am wrong’: we would need recordings by Vivaldi or by Bach to prove it! But also, we are merely part of history – not in any heroic sense, but that we live in the 21st century, and we have to remember that in the 19th and 20th centuries there was the need to play this music in a different way. I could say that Harnoncourt, for example, is already part of the history of interpretation, and we could argue whether he was right or wrong; but what is important is to be alive in the moment, in our
GIOVANNI ANTONINI: SEEKING HAYDN
"Sometimes we idolise the music of the past and imagine them like pieces in a museum; but if you look at the structure of concert programmes in the 18th and 19th centuries, pieces would be broken up by other works, and things were often very theatrical."
Each of the Haydn2032 releases is accompanied by cycle of images related to each topic, in collaboration with renowned photo agency Magnum Photos. The photo above accompanies the eigth release, La Roxolana © Mark Power, Magnum Photos
time, keeping in mind these elements that can help us to understand the aesthetic background of composers, given that they lived centuries ago.” Not just composers from centuries past, either, but audiences and consumers of music, too: “What’s important for me is to present concerts that are a kind of show, as they were back in the time of Haydn – much more than we think, I believe. Sometimes we idolise the
music of the past and imagine them like pieces in a museum; but if you look at the structure of concert programmes in the 18th and 19th centuries, pieces would be broken up by other works, and things were often very theatrical.
shines a light, for me, on how we should approach the interpretation. I can’t say for sure that it is the right approach, but I think it can bring something new to Haydn’s music that often, in my opinion, is performed in quite a rigid way.”
“Musicologists are discovering more and more that some of the symphonies and other orchestral works by Haydn took their inspiration from stage music, and this also
I suggest that the stereotypical image of the composer – avuncular, jovial ‘Papa’ Haydn – has perhaps done him few favours compared to the more colourful personalities Summer 2019 The Green Room 11
GIOVANNI ANTONINI: SEEKING HAYDN
and lives of his contemporaries and successors. “Yes,” agrees Antonini, “and this affects how we think of him. Oh yes, ‘Grandfather’ – we know all about that side of his character; but then there came Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and I think this did a lot of damage to the image of Haydn. He became, in people’s mind, just a creator of forms. But then the musicologists and the period instrument movement discovered that in fact there was much more to reinvent when approaching Haydn. “A good performance can transform the music of Haydn much more than the music of Mozart, for example; Mozart can have only a medium performance and still be beautiful, because there is a beauty to the music. But with Haydn, it is more difficult – you have to work very hard. Yesterday I went to the National Gallery here in London, and you can see how in so many paintings gesture and posture are important to portraying someone’s character.
These efforts to describe the human form, in a palette of a thousand colours – I think you can find this in Haydn, who I think was able to paint the human soul in so many different shades.” To further bring out the richness of the composer’s music, Antonini has carefully selected works by other composers – and Haydn himself – that either provide historical context or challenge the listener to reconsider his or her preconceptions of Haydn’s music. While many of the names are familiar and their link to Haydn clear – Gluck, C.P.E. Bach, Mozart – there are several whose inclusion are bound to raise an eyebrow or several. “On the next CD to come out, we recorded some Bartók with Il Giardino Armonico and I even used some Renaissance instruments in one piece! To prepare for this we listened a lot to the field recordings that Bartók made, and also to the phrasing that Bartók himself did when performing these pieces on the piano. Of course, it was not written
for Renaissance instruments, but it was also not written for modern instruments – and I think including this music helps to remind us of the links between folk music and Haydn’s symphonies. There is also an anonymous piece, Sinfonia iucunda, that starts off like Biber and then halfway through changes to folk music. I played chalumeau for this, a strange instrument – you can still find it in Turkey as a folk instrument. I hope this will all make people think differently about Haydn.” So where does this Haydn journey take Antonini next? “Although the Foundation is keen to ask me what I will be doing in several years’ time, and I understand the need to make booklets and raise money, I want to take time, and find the right music that I feel happy about. I’ve planned the next one or two, but they may not be definite. It’s a luxury situation – I am free until even three or four months beforehand to decide, which in normal concert planning would be impossible. So I don’t know for sure – it’s an adventure!”
"I don’t know for sure – it’s an adventure!" 12 The Green Room Summer 2019
© Marco Borggreve
3D PRINTING & EARLY MUSIC
Printing the Past Fiona Russell explores the use of 3D printing as a tool for researching and producing historical instruments
arly music has firmly established itself as an integral, substantial and thriving part of the classical music industry. Despite this, one wonders if there is a need for the early music movement to reinvent itself; to modernise in order to stay relevant and interesting to today’s audiences. Should the early music specialist embrace the era of fast moving digital and technological advances or remain stubbornly resistant to modern day influences in order to remain true to HIP? Something of an anachronism has been created with the introduction of 3D printing to the production of renaissance and baroque instruments. The early steps in 3D printing date back to the mid1980s, although it is only during the past decade that it has moved into the awareness of the general public. The process uses computer aided design (CAD) to produce an object by printing layers of a
solidifying material, such as polymer. Today, it has permeated industries from fashion to biomechanics: US company New Story are tackling homelessness and poverty by creating whole communities of printed buildings; families who can’t afford to replace outgrown and prohibitively expensive prosthetic limbs can have one printed at a fraction of the cost; and scientists are actively exploring printing working human organs. In the music industry at large, 3D printing is being used to produce speakers, headphones, instrument parts and even whole instruments. In 2015, Steinway unveiled its extremely limited-edition Sun and Moon Matched piano, featuring Taiwanese porcelain designs printed in thin ceramic tiles. They were used in the piano’s music stand, side panels and matching stool, and held in place with printed ceramic screws. In the field of early music specifically, 3D printing is proving a
3D printed cornetti © Ricardo Simian
Hip /hˉı p/ ˉ
“Aware or informed about; very fashionable; historically informed performance” Oxford English Dictionaries Example of a CAD design © Ricardo Simian
Spring 2019 The Green Room 13
3D PRINTING & EARLY MUSIC
Incidentally, detailed studies of Egyptian faience (a self-glazing ceramic and a precursor of glass and claybased ceramics) are leading to improved techniques in 3D printing in ceramic. Photo: William the faience hippopotamus, on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art © public domain
useful aid to practical research, in much the same way that historians and archaeologists are using the technology to study Egyptian tombs and artefacts. Original instruments in museum collections around the world have long been measured and documented to provide researchers and performers with more information. However, playing, and even just handling fragile original wind and brass instruments in particular, is generally prohibited for conservation reasons, and while measuring can give a reasonably accurate picture of dimensions, it does not give comprehensive insight as to how the instrument plays or how different components of the instruments work together. As the technology has advanced over the years, the methods for measuring and producing plans and diagrams have also progressed; instruments can be x-rayed and put through CT scanners as well as manually measured. 3D printing has now made it possible to produce multiple identical copies of the original instruments on which to experiment, as well as test theories relating to internal dimensions and volume. Dr Jamie Savan, Director of Research at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, has produced some excellent work through applying the use of CAD and 3D printing to organological research, specifically to the two treble ‘Christ Church’ cornetti, held in Christ Church, Oxford, and historical cornetto mouthpieces from collections in
14 The Green Room Summer 2019
Munich, Vienna and Paris. From a commercial perspective, printed instruments can be quickly and accurately produced very quickly and at low cost, in comparison to instruments that are hand-made using traditional methods. A printed cornetto can cost just 10% of the price of a wooden instrument produced in the traditional way. Part of the cost is a reflection of the materials, of course (nylon polymer is a great deal cheaper and easier to obtain than a fine piece of boxwood), but once the design files have been produced and the hardware obtained, producing instruments is a mechanical operation requiring relatively little skill and human input. Indeed, anyone with access to the design files and a 3D printer would be able to produce their own instrument. On the face of it, it would appear that 3D printing enhances research for the musicologist and opens up opportunities to students and amateur enthusiasts who might otherwise not be able to try out these more unusual instruments without considerable financial investment. There is, of course, a more controversial side to the discussion. At the same time as being able to reproduce the original instruments, imperfections and all, there is the opportunity to correct these flaws; or to iron out some of the very characteristics that define these instruments. It is impossible to take any one instrument from a collection
and say with confidence that it is a standard representation of an instrument from that period in history. Instruments were made for specific players and occasions, and pitch varied considerably, not only at different points in history but from country to country, region to region, and even town to town. It would be fair to guess that some of the better-preserved instruments are exactly so because they were showpieces for display and visual admiration, made as gifts to present to aristocracy and monarchs, or possibly that they were not of sufficient quality to be successfully played in everyday music making. All of which makes generalisation a rather dangerous game! Cornetto player Ricardo Simian agrees: “All sources show that, if anything, there was almost never an agreement on anything. We can certainly preclude specific ideas and options as non-historic, but, even after such a process, a huge range of alternatives are still available.” Simian himself has turned to 3D printing and is not only using the technology to research original instruments, but also as a means to develop and enhance them. His instruments have some practical features: the larger tenor cornetts are in three pieces rather than one to aid portability, and he has added keys and adjusted the curve to make the instrument more comfortable to hold. He has taken things a step further by creating the ‘perfetto’; very similar in appearance to the
Ricardo Simian © Susanna Drescher
3D PRINTING & EARLY MUSIC
"the musical role that players will, or will not, see for it is entirely up to them and I wish to be surprised by it.” ricardo simian renaissance cornetto with some subtle but key differences. It is made in two pieces with tuning joint (the regular cornetto is in one piece with little flexibility in its overall pitch) and with a heptagonal outer edge in order to make it easier to hold rather than the traditional octagon of the notoriously difficult-to-hold renaissance instruments. A seventh double fingerhole addresses some of the particular tuning peculiarities of the cornetto and a simpler set of fingerings can be used. But what of its place in today’s early music scene? “I didn’t think of a specific musical role for it when I designed it,” says Simian. “I had technical and acoustical ideas and concepts when
I worked on its development, but the musical role that players will, or will not, see for it is entirely up to them and I wish to be surprised by it.” We’re left with the question: should the early music movement hang on to its traditions, with its symbolism and rhetoric that would have been obvious and understood by audiences at the time, or should it make itself more accessible and relevant to audiences of today? I would suggest there is room for both perspectives. With thanks to Ricardo Simian and Dr Jamie Savan for their contributions. Discover their work online: 3dmusicinstruments.com cyberzink.co.uk
Christopher Monk (d 1991) was one of the first modern day cornetto and serpent players; a rather eccentric and key figure in the early music revival (pictured below with a serpent). Monk first made cornetti from moulded resin instead of boxwood in the 1970s, and his workshop has continued to make these instruments ever since. When Christopher Monk Instruments recently revamped their resin model, they tried printing instruments but felt that they didn’t perform as well and returned to producing them in resin, which retail at around 30% of the cost of their boxwood instruments.
Christopher Monk, painted by June Mendoza
Summer 2019 The Green Room 15
COVER STORY: EMMANUELLE HAÏM
© Peter Meisel
Lindsay Kemp speaks to conductor Emmanuelle Haïm about her own baroque ensemble, working with modern instrument orchestras and the French baroque
16 The Green Room Summer 2019
COVER STORY: EMMANUELLE HAÏM
Of course, rapid success like this does not come from nowhere. Haïm was already in her late thirties by this time, having studied harpsichord and organ at the Paris Conservatoire and worked for several years deep at the heart of French baroque music scene, gaining the kind of practical and musical grounding that cannot be faked or fast-tracked. “I was playing continuo keyboard for [William Christie’s] Les Arts Florissants and
© Marianne Rosenstiehl
didn’t have an aim” says Emmanuelle Haïm of the time in 2000 when she founded her own baroque music ensemble. “We were third-generation ‘earlymusic movement’, and I think there was a new and different energy in the air. I had people around me with the same way of thinking as me, and I just wanted to do it.” It’s a familiar story with hopeful young ensembles, though not all of them last as well, and indeed not all catch on as quickly, as Le Concert d’Astrée. From a modest-sized ensemble of voices and instruments they grew quickly in size and reputation as they were taken up by promoters in centres such as Amsterdam, Berlin, London and New York, and then by Virgin EMI. The group’s first concert was in 2001, and their first CD appeared in 2002 – a collection of Handel’s Italian duets featuring names such as Natalie Dessay, Véronique Gens, Patricia Petibon and Sara Mingardo that almost casually advertised the calibre of singers Haïm was already to call upon. Since then there have been widely praised recordings of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Monteverdi’s Orfeo (with Ian Bostridge) and Handel’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno among others. "As good as it gets", was how the New York Times described one of their recent Handel performances. Says Haïm, “I’m interested in drama, theatre, what happens on stage. In baroque music the vocal repertoire really nourishes the instrumental one. I like both.”
“I’m interested in drama, theatre, what happens on stage. In baroque music the vocal repertoire really nourishes the instrumental one. I like both.” [Christophe Rousset’s] Les Talens Lyriques, I was meeting conductors like René Jacobs and Marc Minkowski, I was accompanying and teaching baroque singing classes at the Paris Conservatoire, playing for Christophe Coin’s cello class. Just thirsty for knowledge, I would say. I learned enormously from those conductors about the way they made things happen, how you do an opera, how you research the music.” Perhaps, then, Haïm’s break-out into directing her own ensemble was inevitable. Yet when it came, it was also into an independent
career of her own in which she has made her name almost as much for guest-conducting baroque music with modern-instrument orchestras as with her own period one. A key moment came when she was invited to conduct Handel’s Rodelinda for Glyndebourne Touring Opera in 2001, and drew from the moderninstrument orchestra playing that combined stylistic authority with convincing ease of expression – not all that easy to achieve when, as Haïm said at the time, “maybe some modern orchestras would be frightened of doing something incorrect”.
Summer 2019 The Green Room 17
COVER STORY: EMMANUELLE HAÏM
Since then she has been in demand from modern orchestras all over the world who want to add stylish baroque performances to their concert seasons. How does she get such quick and satisfying results in Handel, Rameau and Purcell from orchestras used to Mahler, Berlioz and Birtwistle? “The life of a modern orchestra is totally different from a period one”, she explains. “They work on a week-by-week basis, whereas in baroque music you tend to have a project, maybe with a tour and a recording, so it’s more a question of how to organise your time when you plan a programme.” She must have done so to good effect; one reviewer writing of a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2017 declared that “she made Purcell, Handel and Pergolesi sound new-born.”
at Festival de Paques 2019 © Caroline Doutre
Yet there are natural limits to what can be achieved with modern instruments, especially with the differences in technical set-up, pitch and balance that affect them. One of her methods is to ask one her own continuo players to join the orchestra and help make a bridge with them. “We try to see what works best”, says Haïm. “I might also try to come with bowed parts that are usable for heavier modern bows, for instance.
18 The Green Room Summer 2019
It’s demanding for a modern orchestra to change quickly, and it’s hard to ask them for too much. But if you can’t have the same sound, you can have a big part of the style, and you can adapt the way you play, take your bow in a different place. And after a while the music itself shows you how to do it. You’ll use less vibrato because you feel it that way, nobody needs to tell you – in the end it comes quite naturally.” Haïm’s collaborations over the years have included concerts with some heavyweight symphony orchestras, including the CBSO, Frankfurt Radio SO, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bavarian RSO, Swedish RSO, Berlin PO, Vienna PO, New York PO and the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has also conducted Rameau and Handel in opera houses such as Zurich, Lille and Dijon, and the coming season will see her working with the LSO, Royal Concertgebouw and NDR Elbphilharnonie orchestras. “All very different”, she says, “but superexciting.” Nowadays players in orchestras like these often already have some experience of baroque music, which is much more a part of modern conservatory training, but even so I wonder if Haïm thinks it’s a teacher they’re looking for. “No, I
don’t think that’s my role. I’m just pleased when they like the music and feel that it’s theirs. Then we can share it. It should be a pleasure, and I guess we do it because we enjoy it. And it’s good for them to do different repertoire, not stick to their usual ways. Instead of Ligeti or Stockhausen, why not Caldara or Delalande?” Much of Haïm’s reputation comes from her performances of Handel on the one hand, and French music on the other. What repertoire does she most enjoy bringing to modern orchestras? “Well British orchestras have a very rich musical life, and they’ve never really lost touch with playing Handel. But most of all I love introducing orchestras to French music. People often people think it belongs to French musicians only, which I think is a pity, and I’m very happy when an orchestra thinks it’s good, powerful, strong and interesting. In Le Concert d’Astrée we have Rameau and Lully in our blood, and hopefully when modern orchestras come to play this music they’ll want to play it again. OK, maybe you can’t do a whole Rameau opera, but you can certainly put Rameau on a concert programme!” Although Haïm’s evangelising
© Caroline Doutre
"I like collaboration, and in baroque music the role of the director is more inside the orchestra ... and sharing with the other players, being part of the music yourself." enthusiasm for her repertoire is clear, there is another element in these collaborations that she treasures no less highly. “Directing baroque music is so different from the 19th-century spirit”, she explains. “I like collaboration, and in baroque music the role of the director is more inside the orchestra playing an instrument (in my case the harpsichord or the organ) and sharing with the other players, being part of the music yourself. In Le Concert d’Astrée everyone talks very freely and it’s not only me who says what to do. It’s more like a mixture of orchestral music and chamber music. Of course, that’s a smaller group, so our relationship is a bit more like a family. But with highquality orchestral players – people who perform together so much and have done so many different things together – there’s always the possibility of this kind of exchange.” If Haïm sees herself then as a collaborator, not a teacher, what
does she think she might have to learn from the orchestras she works with? “Orchestras always teach a conductor how to conduct! You may know what you want, but it has to be an exchange. It’s difficult to put into words when you’re talking about such great artists, but they have such a knowledge of themselves as a unit, and great collective energy. Every orchestra has different relationships within the group, and that comes across very strongly to you when you’re with them. I find that striking and moving.” Unlike many conductors who have started out in baroque music – especially the ones who get invites from symphony orchestras – Haïm has so far resisted any temptation to move into later repertoire. “I think I know where my strengths lie. My first piano teacher was my aunt, and she always wanted to do a lot of Bach, and that’s what pointed me in that direction. I loved the emotion, the sensitivity and the super-elaborate,
crazy construction of baroque music so much that I had to switch to organ and harpsichord for the sheer physical sensation of it. Then I discovered the musicological part of it – the harmony, the counterpoint, and I loved that too. And then that the harpsichord can be part of an orchestra, not lonely like the piano or organ. I didn’t want to be alone, I wanted to be in a group, be in an orchestra! I liked that baroque music doesn’t really say on the page what it should be like, that there are little unwritten beauties that you have to grab from the special language of the music itself, to come up with the answers yourself and play freely. I loved the baroque theatrical world, and I loved the sounds the instruments made as well. And there is still such a massive quantity of this music that I don’t even know yet! I adore Schubert and Ravel, and I can’t be without them. But I think they can live without me.”
Summer 2019 The Green Room 19
IN CONVERSATION: PINNOCK, PAHUD & MANSON
ÂŠ Peter Adamik / Warner Classics
In a hotel bar in Rome in the midst of a trio tour, harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock, flautist Emmanuel Pahud & cellist Jonathan Manson take a break from rehearsals to talk about their relationship as a trio, old vs new instruments, teaching and jazz
20 The Green Room Summer 2019
IN CONVERSATION: PINNOCK, PAHUD & MANSON
he Green Room (TGR): Let’s start at the beginning! Do you remember your first meetings, or musical collaborations?
Trevor Pinnock (TP): I remember meeting Emmanuel in Salzburg. We were working together and decided when we had some time off to sit down together and play through some Bach sonatas. We enjoyed it so much that we knew we wanted to go on. As we thought about cellists who might join us for the project, it was Jonathan who came immediately to mind, and here we are! Emmanuel Pahud (EP): That’s right, in 2006 or 2007, though I also have my own earlier experience with Trevor...! When I was a child, I grew up with your wonderful recording of the Brandenburg concertos, and it’s still the version I have in my heart,
in my soul, in my body. I learnt more about Bach from listening to your recording than I ever learnt in any conservatory or masterclass, and that has always been the reference for me. Also, your recordings with [French flautist] Jean Pierre Rampal, when you were probably the age I am now, more or less! It’s a way of growing together, generation by generation, thanks to those wonderful recordings. Jonathan Manson (JM): We were working on and touring the Brandenburg concertos together at that time, as part of your 60th birthday celebrations, Trevor. You mentioned the possibility of playing and recording the Bach sonatas and I was quite interested by the idea of playing with a modern flute, it was something that I hadn’t done for many years. When we first got together, I was amazed by how easily
"For flute playing ... if you do not explore the period instruments, then you have no idea of the musical language" emmanuel pahud
© Josef Fischnaller
© Peer Lindgreen
it fitted; it didn’t seem to matter that we were using different kinds of instruments because the music making itself was so natural. TGR: There are a lot of different schools of thought on period vs modern instruments, aren’t there? TP: I think people who listen to our music often wonder about the whole business of old and new instruments, as we do. The difference for us is, as a basis, we’ve got very strong common ground in that we are simply musicians. It’s from that starting point that anything can be made to work. JM: That’s always got to be the fundamental basis for musicmaking. From a practical point of view, I have to say that it’s also very enjoyable playing this repertoire with a modern flute because, as a cellist, you are often having to worry about balance and trying not to overwhelm a baroque flute. With a modern flute, that’s not really a problem of course; everyone can play out and we can all shape the lines very expressively. Also, the range of colours that you get in the hands of a master like Emmanuel is quite extraordinary – it’s a different sound world really. TP: It’s important that we can use the instruments that we have and translate the music into those terms, as long as we can feel that we are still being true to Bach. We’re not trying to make modern and baroque similar; we’re trying to use what works in the situation and if we constantly ask whether we’re being faithful to Bach, I think it is possible. Thinking about the learning process you mentioned earlier Emmanuel, I’m aware every day when we play together of renewed learning. There is so much that I take from you and Jonathan just through listening; it’s one of the very great benefits of playing together year on year and growing together.
Summer 2019 The Green Room 21
IN CONVERSATION: PINNOCK, PAHUD & MANSON
TGR: You all teach, coach, and give masterclasses. Do you think all instrumental students of conservatoire level should have basic tuition in the baroque and classical instruments? JM: I teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and there's a record number of students signing up for second study lessons on the baroque form of their instrument. Whether or not people actually play on those different instruments, or that they simply try to take on board some of the concepts, I think it’s a very healthy thing that we try to widen our creative perspective as much as possible. TP: I recently did the St Matthew Passion at the RAM and I had a baroque orchestra that included a number of second study players both in the strings and winds. I was amazed at how well people adapted, and what a high standard they could reach. The benefit of this for all of those musicians is enormous. They may not choose to play on the baroque instruments as specialists but knowing something about the language gives them so much flexibility when they are approaching the music on their modern instruments.
EP: For flute playing, it’s true that if you do not explore the period instruments – the range of dynamics, articulation, how to sustain a note, the strong and weak notes depending on the fingering combination - then you have no idea of the musical language, the DNA of that musical language and the instrument that Bach may have had in mind and the challenges of this instrument. Having said this, the evolution of the flute hasn’t necessarily lost the original dynamic range or sweetness in the sound; it is possible to look for that in a modern instrument, if you know about it and want to.
with a living composer, we can of course ask the composer questions. If we’re playing old music, we should do just the same; we should follow our musical instincts and then go and have an imaginary telephone call with Bach or Mozart and if we have questions, ask ‘may I do that?’ This is a way of exploring our own musical sensitivity and conscience, and hopefully avoids the ego of someone who may be tempted to overornament, be too flamboyant for the music simply because they can. If we ‘telephone’ Bach, we know we shouldn’t do it and the whole notion disappears!
JM: There are practical considerations for cellists too, when playing on gut strings. If you want to play baroque bass lines, I think it’s very important to know what it feels like to play on gut strings because they have very different tonal properties to modern strings. They have more articulation and, crucially, more resonance. On a modern string it’s necessary to sustain the note in order to keep the sound going, but on a gut string, you can release the note and still have the sound ringing.
JM: It’s an intriguing question isn’t it, because Bach doesn’t leave much room for your own ornamentation, particularly in a slow movement – it's already extremely elaborate ornamentation that he’s already written out. You have to be quite courageous to try and improve on Bach’s ornamentation!
TGR: How do you interpret what is on the page? Do Baroque composers give you enough information or do you have to go searching for it?
TP: The problem is the difference in quality of the musical input. Putting Bach’s musical input next to Trevor Pinnock’s musical input – it’s quite clear who is the far greater musician! It’s a rather humbling experience and we should be very careful, but we can get some clues about the way he ornamented from his written-out ornamentation. We can also get an idea of his continuo style from the slow movement of the B minor flute sonata. It has the most wonderful accompaniment; big chords, very spacious use of the keyboard, and that surely is how Bach used to play continuo.
TP: I think the concept of accessing what the composer wanted is so important. If we’re playing new music
JM: I love listening to your performance of the Chromatic Fantasy, Trevor. It gives us a flavour
TP: I feel that people should experiment, and once they have experimented then I’m happy that they choose whatever equipment they feel they can best express the music with.
© Marco Borggreve
"I think it’s a very healthy thing that we try to widen our creative perspective as much as possible." jonathan manson 22 The Green Room Summer 2019
PINNOCK, PAHUD & MANSON
Portrait of Art Tatum, c. May 1946 by William P. Gottlieb © public domain
"[It feels] an enormous privilege to be allowed to see this sort of transcription of a Bach improvisation. It’s rather like the transcriptions of Art Tatum!" trevor pinnock of how exciting it must have been to watch Bach improvising at the harpsichord, which he was renowned for. It’s written out very carefully, isn’t it, but suggests an extraordinary spontaneity and flexibility of the toccata style? TP: It does feel an enormous privilege to be allowed to see this sort of transcription of a Bach improvisation. It’s rather like the transcriptions of Art Tatum! EP: Certainly listening to Trevor play this Chromatic Fantasy or the cadenza in the Fifth Brandenburg really gives the feeling that there is no limitation to the improvisation, and Bach could go anywhere – starting from any note and coming out in any key. He was just a master of complication and invention. TP: And he was quite obsessed with chromaticism and the possibilities of what he could handle. We can see in the preludes and fugues, especially the second book of the 48 – that he could go beyond what any other musician could even think about in his daring.
TGR: How do you begin to approach performing Bach? EP: What helped me a lot in approaching Bach’s music, and understanding the ornamentation and structure, was doing some jazz back in 2000/01. From talking with a jazz musician who had tremendous respect for Bach, I gained a better understanding of the role of the bass line, the counterpoint and the shape, and improvising whilst keeping that structure. It helped me to analyse, understand and feel baroque music much better. JM: One of the responsibilities we cellists have is to understand how a bass line works, but one of the things I found fascinating whilst working on the cello suites is that you are trying to do so many different roles with one instrument, but that it is written in such a way that is not often clear on the page. For example in the violin sonatas, Bach writes more in a multi-part texture, using double stops and chords to suggest the counterpoint. With the cello suites it’s a more simplified texture but the musical content is just as
complex. He’s having to find ways of suggesting things that can’t be actually stated, so the intellectual challenge for a cellist is to find a way of making things appear in the listeners imagination that you’re not actually playing. TP: I think it’s part of the challenge for Bach actually; he could write more – the cello is physically capable of playing more simultaneously, but I think he was fascinated with how much he could leave out without compromising anything musically. For us, the notes on the page are very much only a starting point and we have to be quite clear about this, even when we are trying to be correct and historical. We have to create the illusions, the magic. That's why having a clear fundamental structure must be the starting point otherwise we have a freedom but also chaos. To have real freedom we need to establish the underlying order then we can be as free as we like. EP: Funnily, in German the origin of the word Künst or Künstler; Art or Artist, actually means an illusion, or being an illusionist.
Summer 2019 The Green Room 23
Q&A: HARRY OGG
Meet conductor Harry Ogg
ecent signing Harry Ogg – who has just been appointed WNO Associate Conductor in collaboration with the Donatella FlickLSO Conducting Competition – takes our Q&A, revealing musical memories and favourite things. Where did your love of music begin? I learned the piano from about the age of eight (my father was an amateur pianist) but it was later playing in an orchestra (as a tuba and double bass player) that I really realised that I wanted to be a musician. It’s hard to describe how wonderful making music with others/ breathing as one is… Was there a ‘lightbulb’ moment? A summer youth orchestra
tour playing extracts from Götterdämmerung… that music and seeing how the conductor shapes it all… Not really looked back since! Best musical advice you’ve received? Conducting is listening – you will spend your whole career developing your ability to listen and hear. Most memorable live music experience as a performer? Conducting Mahler Symphony No. 1 with Sinfonia d’Amici (which was, quite literally, an orchestra of my friends) when I was 21. There was something extraordinary in the air that night… Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party, living or dead?
Shakespeare – he had such an unbelievable understanding of human nature, an evening with him would surely be hilarious, fascinating and moving. Favourite venue? The Royal Albert Hall during the Proms. As one orchestral player once said to me, “when you play there you feel like you’re a rock star!” Which non-classical musician would you most like to work with? Laura Marling or Mark Ronson; I just really like their music. If you were given a time machine, what period or musical event would you travel to? The 1910s, in order to experience the atmosphere around and reaction to premieres of works by Stravinsky, Debussy, Schoenberg, Janáček etc. An extraordinary time for music. Career plan B? My answer would have been very different 10 years ago, but now I think I would be a psychotherapist. There’s little more fascinating than the inner workings of the human mind and spirit. And finally, how do you relax when not working?
© Adam Markowski
Swimming (preferably outdoors), reading books and watching films. Most importantly: spending time with friends. This is a shortened version of a Q&A that first appeared online. Read the full Q&A at askonasholt.com/harry-ogg
24 The Green Room Summer 2019
THE BACH BUBBLE
The Bach Bubble AH artists and managers share their views on – and dispel a few myths about – the composer's solo instrumental works
But, by putting Bach on such a pedestal and applying rules as to when or how artists should perform the works, do we run the risk of making it less accessible for artists, promoters and audiences, and of creating a sense of fear around works held in such high regard? We spoke to cellist Jian Wang (JW), violinist Karen Gomyo (KG), pianist Julien Libeer (JL), and artist managers Alison Nethsingha (AN), Susie Murray (SM) and Olivia Lyndon-Jones (OLJ). For most violinists, cellists and
Jian Wang © Han Jun
t is an undisputed fact that Bach has had a profound effect on the music and musicians since; not only in the classical world, but further afield into pop, jazz and rock music. Indeed, even American jazz and soul legend Nina Simone is quoted saying “Bach made me dedicate my life to music.”
pianists, Bach's solo works represent something of a pinnacle in their instrument's repertoire. The cello suites, Jian Wang told us, “are the most important pieces in any cellist’s repertoire,” adding that all students should learn them. Though, he says, “It does take a while before one can begin to have a clearer picture of how to play them, but then the process is everything; that's how we grow.” For pianists, however, there is a huge quantity of solo repertoire expanding way beyond Bach. Does that mean that the composer’s keyboard works
don’t hold the same kind of status for pianists as the cello suites do for a cellist or the sonatas for a violinist? “I think it would be odd to be a professional cellist and not to play the solo Bach suites,” says Senior Artist Manager Alison Nethsingha, who manages artists including Jian Wang, Cédric Tiberghien and Imogen Cooper. “For a pianist, you could quite easily go through your whole career and never perform a solo Bach piece, and I don’t think it would be something that anyone would notice or comment on.”
Summer 2019 The Green Room 25
THE BACH BUBBLE
“everything sort of branches out from there ... It’s a testament to the extraordinary pedagogue that Bach was, and the sooner one enrols in his class, the better.” julien libeer
Julien Libeer © Athos Burez
have finally played them in concert last summer felt like a tremendous personal feat!”
‘A RIGHT TIME’: IS THERE ONE? “I can only speak for keyboard playing,” Julien Libeer tells us, “but if there’s one composer who should be studied as soon as possible, it’s probably Bach. Sure, no 10-year-old should be allowed even near the Goldberg Variations, but I doubt a beginner pianist could have a better bible than the two- and three-part inventions. They’re transformative little gems, apparently simple, yet wonderfully challenging on all possible levels. In my own experience, everything sort of branches out from there – you can work your way up into the preludes and fugues and suites, but you’ll also be properly equipped to start studying anything from Haydn over Chopin to Ravel. It’s a testament to the extraordinary pedagogue that
26 The Green Room Summer 2019
Bach was, and the sooner one enrols in his class, the better.” Of course, it would be unwise to generalise, and there is certainly no one-fits-all answer. For violinist Karen Gomyo, her 'right' time was last year. “One of my teachers used to tell me that solo Bach is like a violinist’s ‘bible’, that you should start your practice session with it every day, as if it were a sacred prayer,” she says. “I find this kind of respect beautiful, but perhaps partly because of this, I’d put these works as high up on a pedestal as possible and refrained from performing them until now; I never felt I’d be able to do them justice. I finally realised that even this ‘bible’ is ultimately simply music, and that I might wait forever if I didn’t change my mindset. So, to
Artist Manager Susie Murray, who represents Julien Libeer, as well as artists including Yevgeny Sudbin, Murray Perahia and Enrique Mazzola, says she would never discourage an artist from playing Bach. “It’s a bit like with an actor,” she tells us, “you wouldn't say ‘don’t touch Shakespeare’, because his works are so highly revered, you’d say ‘give it a go and see what you can discover within it’.” A recording, of course, is a slightly different ball game: “you’re making a universally accessible and everlasting statement about how you interpret it." Alison recalls an interaction with a young cellist who said, ‘Oh, I think I’d like to do some solo Bach’, to which Alison responded, ‘Are you sure about that?!’ “They were really cross and, afterwards, I thought rightly so. They said, ‘I really hate the fact that this is this idealised thing that you can only do when you’re ready and you’ve got to be so prepared. Actually, it’s just music, he’s just a composer and I want to play it.’ It was a good learning lesson for me!”
THE BACH BUBBLE
“I think it’s also ok to accept that you can evolve with a piece,” says Artist Manager Olivia LyndonJones, whose roster includes Inon Barnatan, Alexander Gavrylyuk and Ziyu He. “People wouldn’t discourage you from playing Rachmaninov or Shostakovich because you’re not mature enough to do it. We all learn, gain life experience, mature etc which exposes different interpretations. This idea that you should only do Bach once you’re totally ready, which isn’t ascribed to any other composer, makes it appear like this really scary thing.” THE FEAR: ARE WE PERPETUATING IT? A huge amount of analysis has been done on Bach's compositions; his use of symmetry, the golden ratio, the mathematics of his fugues etc. Does this perpetuate the danger that our view of Bach becomes too intellectual, to the extent that musicians and
audiences can be put off for fear that they are not ready to understand or be able to appreciate it? “There is something undeniably intimidating about Bach’s music,” says Julien, “but I always thought people misunderstand what that is exactly. As far as I can tell, it’s not as much Bach's mind-blowing architecture, which is just a means to an end, as his very particular brand of emotional density. There’s something of a fundamental earnestness at the core of his being that seems to shine through even his most joyful scores – which might have to do with the fact that to him, music was an instrument of worship. It’s not obvious what to make of that kind of sentiment in today’s Western world, so yes, some people might be baffled to a point where they stop bothering.” “My view is that a performer should be equipped with some intellectual
knowledge of the music, (including discussions around historicallyinformed performance styles, etc.), but that the delivery of the music should never be confined to that,” Karen tells us. “I think this is especially true in Bach, as there is an endless amount of information in the score to discover and mull over; it can indeed become a bit of a cerebral game! And there is a sense of fluidity even to this; your perspective of what you read in the score might very well evolve over time. Ultimately, Bach’s music is a deeply beautiful and emotional experience. So, I view the intellectual information as being more of a roadmap, a guide, to bringing out as much emotional ‘life’ as you perceive in the score through a deeper understanding of its compositional architecture. For me,” she concludes, “the most moving performances of the work are those where you don’t hear the analytical mind at all.”
Karen Gomyo © Gabrielle Revere
"Bach’s music is a deeply beautiful and emotional experience ... I view the intellectual information as being more of a roadmap, a guide" karen gomyo
Summer 2019 The Green Room 27
THE BACH BUBBLE
“It’s a bit like with an actor. You wouldn't say ‘don’t touch Shakespeare’ ... you’d say ‘give it a go and explore and discover within it’.” susie murray
Olivia Lyndon-Jones, Artist Manager
Susie Murray, Artist Manager
Alison Nethsingha, Senior Artist Manager
PERFORMING & PROGRAMMING BACH
was astonished how well the cello sounded in that vast space without any amplification – it’s one of the most memorable concerts of my life.”
to all-solo Bach recitals?
The circumstances of performance in Bach’s day are in great contrast to the modern day concert halls. How does this affect performing solo Bach? Does it work in a large modern venue? Julien suggests two ways of dealing with that potential problem: 1. Make the piece larger: “Busoni, for example, was a great proponent of this (and I confess I'd love to see an orchestra dare to put Stokowski’s orchestration of the D minor Toccata back on the program)” 2. Make the hall smaller: “Rather than projecting like mad, you can just as well try to draw the hall into your piano. It’s a bit of an illusion, and it might require some extremely soft playing – but ever since I studied with Maria João Pires, that’s about the last thing I’m scared to do in concert” “The intimacy of these pieces makes them special,” says Jian, who performed three of the solo cello suites at the BBC Proms in 2008. “I
28 The Green Room Summer 2019
Another element to consider is the physical and mental stamina required to perform – and to listen to – an entire programme of solo Bach. “The violin generally takes on the role of a single, melodic line,” explains Karen, “so to suddenly have at your disposal the range of four voices, and to only have four fingers in the left hand and a single bow in the right hand to make this polyphony come to life, is an exciting, yet challenging exploration! There are also stylistic considerations, as well as decisions on so many intricate levels, both technically and musically – all of which are completely exposed.” “They are very intense,” says Olivia. “I’ve been to all Bach recitals which are amazing and make you feel like you’ve been on a journey, but by the end everyone is really tired.” Themed and storytelling programmes are becoming increasingly popular in general, but does this trend stretch
“I think some promoters do want it, and others won’t want to touch it…" says Susie, "a bit of a Marmite love it or hate it situation.” “Personally,” says Alison, “[as an audience member] I would be more likely to go if it was somebody who was known for their Bach interpretations. It’s quite a particular thing to sign up for, isn’t it? It could be amazing but could also be terrible!” Perhaps by spreading a performance of solo Bach across two evenings, or by including an extended interval (as is done at several summer opera festivals), promoters can create the feeling of ‘an event’; a special occasion. FINAL THOUGHTS “I think in the end,” says Jian, “when I can’t really play the cello anymore, these are the pieces that I will grow old with. They have the unique ability to invoke order, peace and comfort in our hearts.”
MEET THE TEAM
Meet the team Finance Manager Susana Tierney Favourite musical memory? When MDing a show, there is nothing better than when the orchestra comes together for the first time prior to performances, it takes everything to a whole new level and you can’t beat it.
What do you like most about your job? It’s very varied. I’ve always enjoyed both music and maths, so it’s the perfect job as I get to use them both.
Favourite food? Tapas
Tell us a little about your dayto-day role at AH I look after all things financial for our artists, from invoicing their fees and commissions, to liaising with them about what money has or (more frustratingly) hasn’t arrived.
What change would you most like to see take place in classical music? That it is more accessible to younger people especially in primary education.
Mastermind specialist subject? Musical Theatre
Best advice received? Whilst playing the piano and turning pages, always use your right hand, so the bass line in the left hand continues seamlessly. Quite obvious really but I use it often!
And when you’re not at work…? Family time, from holidays in Spain to ferrying the children around to football and dance.
Instruments played/voice? Favourite quote or saying? "You can’t move forward, if you are looking back."
My main instrument was piano, but I dabbled with violin, oboe, saxophone and voice. I was a typical jack of all trades, but master of none…
Susana studied piano at Trinity College of Music before joining Askonas Holt in 2001, and hasn't looked back since. In her spare time, she works as a Musical Director for musicals in and around London. Her best productions to date are her two children Bella and Oscar who keep her busy, but she still manages to find time to enjoy her love of music.
Achievement you’re most proud of? I organised a charity concert whilst at college, where many school choirs joined together to raise money for Cancer Research. A lot of money was raised and it was a fabulous evening, all the hard work paid off!
Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party, living or dead? Stephen Sondheim, Dame Judi Dench, Robert Rattray and my father. The latter two are no longer with us, but always had a great story to tell.
Most underrated composer? Clara Schumann
Summer 2019 The Green Room 29
ON TOUR: JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2019
On Tour Upcoming projects organised by our Tours & Projects department NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC & JAAP VAN ZWEDEN 27 & 28 Jun · Xinghai Concert Hall, Guangzhou 30 Jun · Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts, Nanjing 2 & 3 July · Shanghai Symphony Hall BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & SIR ANDREW DAVIS with Catherine Wyn-Rogers & Pavel Kolesnikov 30 Jun · Shenzhen Concert Hall 2 July · Tianjin Grand Theatre 3 July · NCPA Beijing 5 Jul · Jiangsu Centre for the Performing Arts, Nanjing 6 & 7 Jul · Shanghai Symphony Hall SHANGHAI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & LONG YU with Alisa Weilerstein, Eric Lu & Frank Peter Zimmerman 14 Aug · Wolf Trap, VA, USA 16 Aug · Ravinia Festival, IL, USA 19 Aug · EIF, Edinburgh 23 Aug · Lucerne Festival 25 Aug · Grafenegg Festival 27 Aug · Concertgebouw, Amsterdam 1 Sep · BBC Proms, London
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & SIR SIMON RATTLE with Emanuel Ax, Colleen Lee & Aristo Sham 22, 24 & 25 Sep · Hong Kong Cultural Centre 26 Sep · Shenzhen Concert Hall 27 Sep · Xinghai Concert Hall, Guangzhou 29 Sep · Shanghai Symphony Hall 30 Sep · Wuhan Qintai Concert Hall 2 Oct · Xi’an Concert Hall 3 Oct · NCPA Beijing
20 & 21 Aug · Kursaal, San Sebastian 23 & 24 Aug · EIF, Edinburgh 26 Aug · BBC Proms, London WIENER PHILHARMONIKER with Bernard Haitink, Murray Perahia, Andrés Orozco-Estrada & Leonidas Kavakos 3 & 4 Sep · BBC Proms, London STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN & MYUNGWHUN CHUNG with Yuja Wang 4 Sep · National Concert Hall, Dublin 5 Sep · BBC Proms, London ORCHESTRE PHILHARMONIQUE DE LUXEMBOURG & GUSTAVO GIMENO first tour to South America, with Janine Jansen 20 & 21 Sep · Sala São Paulo 23 Sep · Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires 25 Sep · Teatro El Circulo, Rosario 27 Sep · Teatro del Libertador General San Martín, Córdoba 30 Sep · Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires 1 Oct · Teatro Solis, Montevideo
STAATSKAPELLE DRESDEN & MYUNGWHUN CHUNG with Sunwook Kim 27 Sep · Sejong Centre for the Performing Arts, Seoul 29 Sep · Seoul Arts Center 2 Oct · Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL ORCHESTRA & THOMAS SØNDERGÅRD with James Ehnes 28 & 29 Sep · La Seine Musicale, Paris
Thomas Søndergård © Tom Finnie
Read more on p.7
ORCHESTRE DE PARIS & DANIEL HARDING with Antoine Tamestit, Albina Shagimuratova, Andrew Staples & Florian Boesch
Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg © Johann Sebastian Hänel
30 The Green Room Summer 2019
View all projects at askonasholt.com/tours
ON TOUR: JULY, AUGUST & SEPTEMBER 2019
YOUTH ORCHESTRA FOCUS NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF CHINA & LUDOVIC MORLOT with Garrick Ohlsson 5 Aug · Konzerthaus Berlin 7 Aug · Snape Proms 9 Aug · Bolzano Festival NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA & ANTONIO PAPPANO with Joyce DiDonato & Dame Sarah Connolly* 6 Aug · Konzerthaus Berlin* 9 Aug · EIF, Edinburgh 11 Aug · BBC Proms, London 13 Aug · Concertgebouw, Amsterdam 14 Aug · Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA & CHRISTIAN REIF with Nicola Benedetti & Karen Gomyo 23 Jun · Odense Concert Hall 24 Jun · Tivoli, Copenhagen 26 Jun · Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg 29 Jun · Philharmonie Berlin 2 Jul · Musiverein, Vienna 4 Jul · Margaret Island Summer Festival, Budapest NYO JAZZ 31 Jul · Kaohsiung Weiwuying Concert Hall 4 Aug · NCPA Beijing 5 Aug · Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai 6 Aug · Shanghai Oriental Art Center 8 Aug · Zhuhai Huafa & CPAA Grand Theatre 9 Aug · Jockey Club Hall (presented by Asia Society, Hong Kong)
NYO-USA © Chris Lee
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER The ever-popular Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to Europe in August this year, presenting two weeks at Sadler's Wells in London as well as its debut performances under the auspices of the Holland Dance Festival. 28 Aug - 1 Sep · Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen 4 - 14 Sep · Sadler's Wells Theatre, London 19 - 22 Sep · Nieuwe Luxor Theater, Rotterdam (presented by Holland Dance Festival) AAADT in Robert Battle's The Hunt © Christopher Duggan
Summer 2019 The Green Room 31
In 2018, Askonas Holt facilitated more than 8,000 performances in 70 countries across 6 continents
Countries where Askonas Holt facilitated performances are highlighted in cream
ÂŠ Askonas Holt 2019 15 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BW +44 (0)20 7400 1700 email@example.com 32 The Green Room Summer 2019 askonasholt.com
MAKING MUSIC HAPPEN SINCE 1876