Thursday, March 15, 2007

Last Tuesday's Concerts

The yearly festival of modern music musica nova is taking place this week on Helsinki. Unlike many similar events around the world, this one has overcome the underground filter usually given to contemporary music festivals, and has become a trend in Finland. This year's theme is Finland.

Last Tuesday I attended two concerts of it at the Sibelius Academy concert hall. The first one was with works of the Finnish composer Lauri Kilpiö, and the second of the Canadian Matthew Whittall. I was interested mostly professionally for the first one, while Matt is a friend too.

Knowing how hard is the industry for contemporary composeres, I would characterize them both as successful; it is not the purpose of this post anyway to express any critique. The latter was today clearly expressed in the Finnish newspaper Pravda... excuse me, I ment Helsingin Sanomat. But this is the subject for another post, especially after today's article on the influence and power it has on culture.

Furthermore, both concerts were well attended, although, the presence of a larger audience in the evening concert (Whittall), was a surprise to me. What seemed to fascinate the audience, and I'm referring to those who came there in order to listen and not to write a critique, was the way Whittall's concert was presented. Kilpiö's concert was naturally prepared very well by professionals; the extra musical elements however present in Whittall's concert were very much helping the listener; especially the one who is not used in contemporary music. The latter could understand the music rather easier than in the other concert, where the works were presented one after the other with just some change of the chairs and instruments between them.

I do not consider myself an expert on contemporary music yet, but I do know few things, for example that it is viewed by many as extreme and incomprehensible; indeed it can often be like that. But the lighting changes between the works, the dance during one of the pieces, the psychological tension in the choir made indeed this concert very much humane, understandable, and -the most important- trully appreciated by the listeners: I believe. The critic didn't like it. So, what?

buzz it!

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