Music in any weather!

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6th Musical open-air festival “Summer. Music. Museum”

Lola Odintsova

“Please, dress for the weather and be sure to take raincoats and blankets with you. Try not to open umbrellas above your head, so as not to block the view of the spectators who are sitting behind you.”

These recommendations, distributed for several months in a row among all media outlets in the Moscow region, were very useful to music lovers this last summer. The weather really was unpredictable in the vicinity of the first capital. This, as they say, is half the trouble, if not for one “but” inevitable under the circumstances: the music festivals covered below were held in the open air.

…In the morning, clouds hung over the golden domes of the Resurrection Cathedral of the New Jerusalem Monastery. Rain, according to the forecasts of meteorologists of all stripes, was expected any minute. But when the downpour hit the defenseless rows of the thousands of classical music fans gathered in the amphitheater of the New Jerusalem Museum, it still turned out to be an unpleasant surprise. And yet no one – not a single living soul! – did leave a unique performance. No heavenly thunders could stop the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff!

“Yes, the program of the 6th open-air festival Summer. Music. Museum is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian composer,” conductor Dmitry Jurowski said in an interview to Russian Mind. A junior representative of the famous musical dynasty, he became this year’s artistic director of the forum. “As always, the program of the festival is extremely rich. It includes Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 2 in E minor performed by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”, and the works of N. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. Glazunov, A. Arensky, S. Taneev… Our choice is understandable. All these masters influenced Rachmaninoff’s work. Therefore, the festival is dedicated to them as well.”

Characteristically, the open-air festival at the picturesque foothills of the unique New Jerusalem Monastery took place just a few days after the 9th International Tchaikovsky Arts Festival, held in neighbouring Klin. The music festival continued for six days on the Large meadow of the State Memorial and Musical Museum-reserve of P. I. Tchaikovsky and in Sestroretsky Park. The opening gala concert of the festival was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the birth of the great opera singer Feodor Chaliapin. The ballet evening was presented by the play Carmen Suite performed by the ballet troupe of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, participating in the festival for the first time.

The summer season of outdoor concerts near Moscow opened in the Arkhangelskoye Museum-reserve, the estate of the Princes Yusupovs. On the summer stage, the guests listened to performances by the jazz bands of Petr Vostokov and Vadim Eilenkrig, the Moscow Piper Orchestra and many other performers. Then the Baroссо Nights Festival began there: its program included works by Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Henry Purcell.

Global music stars, such as virtuoso pianist Denis Matsuev, opera singer Ildar Abdrazakov, artistic director, conductor and soloist of the Moscow Soloists ensemble Yuri Bashmet, took part in the festival Summer. Music. Museum.

The sensation of the program in New Jerusalem was the performance of the young musician Ivan Bessonov, the winner of the 1st S. V. Rachmaninoff International Music Competition. “My favourite composers are Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and also Ravel,” Ivan Bessonov shared his thoughts with Russian Mind immediately after his performance. “I play Rachmaninoff with a special feeling, probably, it’s spiritual affinity… The audience at outdoor festivals is special. They listen to you with bated breath… It is so in New Jerusalem, next to the majestic Resurrection Monastery. In Saint Petersburg, my hometown, and in Moscow, listeners and spectators seem to be studying you: will you be able to excite them, will you not disappoint them? But at the festival Summer. Music. Museum in New Jerusalem, the audience immediately trusts you, and you want to play for them with a special enthusiasm.”

It must be said that Bessonov, who played Rachmaninoff’s unique Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra in A minor, succeeded in full.

Two days of the festival were announced as the days of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. For the first time it joined the open-air festival in the Moscow region in full force: choir, orchestra, soloists. In total, more than 170 performers on stage! Rachmaninoff’s opera Aleko in a concert version and the poem The Bells were presented to connoisseurs of classical music.

“We are very pleased to take part in the festival “Summer. Music. Museum,” said Vladimir Urin, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. “The high quality of performance, interesting programs, conceptual unity and, of course, the special atmosphere of New Jerusalem as the Russian cultural shrine, made the festival the most interesting musical event of the summer… Perhaps the place itself – Russian Palestine – and close proximity to the temple of one of the most significant museum complexes in Moscow land, and also its very air, attached special strength and depth to Rachmaninoff’s works.”

What to add here? During the first five years, outstanding masters and ensembles performed on the New Jerusalem stage: violinist Maxim Vengerov, pianists Nikolai Lugansky, Andrei Korobeinikov and Kirill Gerstein, cellist Mischa Maisky, conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Andrey Boreyko, Alexander Rudin, singers Albina Shagimuratova and Anna Aglatova, the Russian National Orchestra and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra Musica Viva… You can’t list them all!

And all these years, the festival is led by its president, People’s Artist of Russia, head of the Moscow Regional Philharmonic Maksim Dunayevsky. “Rakhmaninoff’s music is an all-consuming, reigning beauty, it radiates an extraordinary, divine light,” Dunayevsky said. “In order for the festival of classical music to gain momentum, it is necessary, as experience shows, to work for at least ten years. Only after such a period the festival gathers pace, gains authority, acquires the necessary connections. This is not my idea, this is pure practice of various festivals in different countries… But the music festival in New Jerusalem is an exception to the rule: figuratively speaking, it grew up in just five years. This year it is held for the sixth time, and look at its participants! What an audience!.. Long live great music!”

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