October 3, 2023. Consonance of Souls and Hearts

CONSONANCE OF SOULS AND HEARTS

by Viktor Aleksandrov, translated by Seraphim Hanisch.

The Capital Symphony Orchestra’s recent autumn concert launched a special musical project called “Eternal Classics“. The finest examples of Russian and Western European symphonic music will adorn the ensemble’s programs. The inexhaustible treasure of the world’s musical arts is fraught with many mysteries and secrets which the public and musicians of the Capital Symphony Orchestra will endeavor to plumb.

Vladimir Gorbik considers this good cause beneficial for audiences of all ages.

Vladimir Gorbik:

“Our project, first of all, is of interest to those who love and appreciate classical music, who care about nurturing their children’s musical tastes. I am sincerely confident that those who listen to the classics receive immunity from destructive musical trends, of which there are so many in our time. I once heard from one present-day monk that one saint said ‘The only remnants of Heaven on Earth are music and flowers.’ The word symphony means consonance. Such music can evoke sublime feelings, it helps a person to live and it helps his soul reach out to God. One of the Athonite elders of the 20th century, Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain, highly valued the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and he believed that classical music helps to properly organize the soul; it teaches a person to perceive the “goodness from on high” and, as a result, to find the path to God.”

Viennese musical classics and their reflections in the twentieth-century works of Sergei Prokofiev united the context of this concert’s program.

The musical evening opened with Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 (“The Drumroll”), from the London Symphonies cycle. This work set a bright optimistic mood for the concert. The Capital Symphony Orchestra performed it with special aristocratic grace and ease. A worthy successor to Haydn’s traditions was his younger contemporary Ludwig van Beethoven. Along with symphonies and instrumental concerts, his symphonic overtures enjoy a special love and admiration among his listeners. One of them, the Coriolan Overture, based on Heinrich Joseph von Collins’s tragedy, embodies the heroic lyrical sphere of intonation and beautiful melodic themes. This music was written for the production of a play about the fate of the eponymous Roman commander. His romantic image turned out to be in tune with the new era. The dramatic and emotional mood of this work was brilliantly conveyed in the inspired performance of the Capital Symphony Orchestra. Vladimir Gorbik honed their fire with his own indomitable energy and commanding conducting gestures.

Now, as if by the wave of the conductor’s magic baton, we find ourselves in the era of 20th century modernism. Young and energetic Sergei Prokofiev is the author of his famous first “Classical” Symphony. The choice of this work clearly demonstrates how the symphony genre has evolved in a rapidly changing world at the crossroads of centuries. Prokofiev brilliantly expressed the stunning dialogue of eras in his work with his inherent share of theatricality, humor and enthusiasm.

The First Symphony was composed in 1917, when the already mature composer, distinguished by his avant-garde experiments, was suddenly drawn to the aesthetics of the 18th century. This symphony is very compact and elegantly orchestrated, and in many ways, it echoes the atmosphere of Haydn’s own music. The Capital Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Vladimir Gorbik, subtly felt the distinctiveness of these moods and it expressed them in its harmonious playing. The audience rewarded the musicians and their director with a generous and lengthy ovation. Vladimir repeated two movements of the Symphony as an encore, fittingly completing this enchanting musical journey.

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