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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Authenticity and the actual

Quitting Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI for Tamara Stefanovich

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

8 July

Quitting Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI for Tamara Stefanovich

It was my big chance - hearing Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI - and, I had thought, a fitting end to a great few days of talks, concerts and even a film at Aldeburgh.

Only he and his three fellow musicians weren't a string quartet, but we were sitting in the same artificial hush as if they were, and we were hearing them play what was clearly, often enough, music for dancing, yet in a concert.

But, since we were in a concert, there was a mismatch that just didn't work for me any more than it does when people in a jazz-gig do not have a natural impulse to applaud - or even urge on - a striking solo.

The ancientness of one instrument that Savall was playing was patent in that it looked like a tree-stump, but I didn't know which of it was which and which the other, and the way in which the music was coming to us in this place seemed at odds with however accurate the performance-style and elaboration of each piece may have been : in more ways than one, I just could not believe that it was intended to be listened to or presented in this way.

Yes, maybe, if there had been dancers, it would have been different. I don't know what would have helped me feel that I was not in a sterile environment, trying to listen to the life in what was being played, but I just know that, however appropriately relaxed the musicians were, the resultant event felt stiff and unnatural.

I took the chance to write about Tamara Stefanovich's recital, and didn't go back for the second half :

For me, that helped to preserve (and not just in the form of a blog-posting) what I had related to in those few days, so that I could drive home happy.

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