Ingo Metzmacher – I can’t believe it!
23 November 2009 | Victoria Ivanova
The well-known maestro, active propagandist of modern music, the one, who all Europe worships – Ingo Metzmacher has visited Moscow. Despite a number of possible difficulties – some heavy days, and, in addition, Friday 13, good luck has smiled to our magazine, and we managed to meet the adherent of modern music world and ask him some questions, to some of which he has reacted extremely directly.At a meeting which has taken place in a concert hall of Orkestrion in Cheryomushki, there was editor-in-chief Eugene Boyko and journalist Victoria Ivanova.
V. Ivanova: Your reputation of the passionate propagandist of modern music is well-known to whole music world. In Hamburg you have read a course of lectures “Who is afraid of XX-th century music?”, also you’ve published the book on the same theme. How can you explain your aspiration to take into concert programs as much modern music as possible?
I. Metzmacher: I started to think about it when I was student, because I thought usually of concert program is a little boring, because you always see the same pieces. I mean it has change, off course… When I studied, it was a thirty years ago, we started to do our own projects, in University, and everything then I’ve tried to create interesting programs, which means that I’ve tried to play always the pieces of the XX-th century. But XX-th century now is history already, so, we have a XI-st century… So, I’m thinking about time we play important pieces of XX-th century, more often, than we do… But I was liked to combine it with known repertoire, because I believe that music sounds different in different contest.
V. Ivanova: In interview you’ve not once mentioned about your dream to have a performance in Russia. And now your dream is going to be realized. What are you feeling about it?
I. Metzmacher: Oh, yes, it’s a 2-3 days… It was a very exciting moment to me to visit Moscow, because I have a big fable of Russia, Russian music, poetry, Russian theater, the Russian culture at general. I grew at the West of Germany, so, there was a wall… And I think it’s very exciting this has changed, it feels now nearer, more communication… And I hope I can come more often, again.
V. Ivanova: In the future concert program with K. Hartman’s piece there is also the symphony of the Russian composer D. Shostakovich. What is attracted you of this composer?
I. Metzmacher: I have done a lot of Shostakovich. I’ve just did a premiere in Vena – “Lady Makbet”, and I have done not all the symphonies of him, but a many. And I very much like his music, because I always feel it like a big accident. You know, it’s like a breach, like a rainbow… And I like long pieces. I think Shostakovich may be very silent, when nothing moves, lonely and soft… There are many things I like in Shostakovich… I also like Tchaikovsky, for example! But I have not conducted so much…
V. Ivanova: And how, to your opinion, European person perceives Russian music?
I. Metzmacher: I don’t know… But they love it.
V. Ivanova: And how about your own relation to Russian music?
I. Metzmacher: I was very much interested for a while still I am. There was apparition of Russian art, Russian music at the beginning of XX-th century, after the revolution, there were many wonderful, crazy things were happened, because as far as I understand the revolution of the beginning is gave artist a lot of freedom. And there are very interesting composers like Mosolov, Obuhov, Vishnegradskiy, Lurie, who try complete in different ways… One day I want to explore it, because I think that is a treasure there… There is out of composer I like very much Popov, but is later, of course I know Shnitke, but I don’t know so much of listened Russian music, which is composed today. I think that the German is very always attracted by the Russian music, Russian culture. And I don’t know how the Russian think, but Germany is near to each other, they are not so far, because we liked to be a little heavy, melancholic, dreaming, suffering… And not Italians!
V. Ivanova: In this time you have chosen the Seventh Symphony – not simple and banal on the world of characters and contest. It’s known, that it was written in difficult ages for Russia, and then for people it was like a prayer, support in difficult situations. How did you decide to perform this symphony?
I. Metzmacher: I don’t know exactly whose idea it was- Michael Fichtengolc’ or it was my idea, I don’t remember. But I think it’s an interesting idea, because it is a piece everybody knows a story behind it. It’s like propaganda against the Nazism, the War… I’m always very much attracted of pieces like that. And that’s why I also wanted to combine it with Hartman. Hartman did the same in Germany, what Shostakovich did in Russia. They are at the same age, and as they told the orchestra, I think they are the brothers on spirit. They are never met, but I feel they have the same idea how to write music, and I think they were near.
V. Ivanova: You have already met with the Seventh Symphony on your creative way, but you’ve decided to return to it. Maybe, here is the secret of your own perception of this music? What does it mean for yourself and do you think that symbolic of it is universal?
I. Metzmacher: Yes, I do. I think if Shostakovich would be a composer and he would write piece propaganda in very simple, he would be forgotten. His symphony is much more than that. The thinking about music is different thing to thinking about words. I mean composer’s thing is to know which instruments to use etc… That’s complete different way to thinking and there is other logic, other way. We can not translate easily he means this and this… It’s not like a text. But I think that is a message in there. But it’s a complicated message, you would never know exactly what it mean, because it is hidden. But of course it’s about the war, of course it’s about something coming nearer, and the last move of victory… But I don’t think about it when I conducted. For me it is something great. The development of it, form of it – it’s more important for me. What is a temp is it fast, or slow, need I change it – I have to think about it too, not about the whole contest.
V. Ivanova: And the last question. In Russia classical music is not the same obligatory subject of cultural luggage, as other art forms – the literature, theatre…
I. Metzmacher: No?
V. Ivanova: Yes, that is…
I. Metzmacher: Really not?
V. Ivanova: Yes, that’s true. It is a shame not to read Dostoevsky, Pushkin, but not to know Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninov, Musorgsky’s music it is not a shame, it as the usual things, destiny of especially refined aesthetes.
I. Metzmacher: I can not believe it! But you have so many wonderful musicians, the orchestra, the concerts… The Russia is the great public in the world! Everyone wants to be in Russia, complete it in different way… And it is in whole the world, I know. I don’t believe it.
V. Ivanova: But unfortunately, it’s so. What could you wish Russian people?
I. Metzmacher: To know more about classical music, of course. As for me it’s so much part of the culture, as much as a literature, painting… I was in Tretiakov’ Gallery, it was very interesting, but I can’t imagine that music can not be a part of that…Anyway, music – is special. Because music can move you, can reach you in a way you nothing can reach.