The formation of an ordinary musician differs from that of a conductor in the same way as the education of an actor from a director. Formation of musical taste of the musician-performer, mastering of musical style of this or that work always occurs from the standpoint of his instrument - just as the actors comprehend through their character, through the private, general concept of the director. Conducting education is a different vision, hearing the material. The conductor examines the general philosophical problems of the musical work, the problems of musical direction, and also questions of psychology, answering for work with the collective, with people.
Secondary special education, which I received at the Republican Lyceum at the Belarusian Academy of Music, and the first higher - the conductor-choirmaster. Then there was a magistracy, and only then - studying at the Department of Opera and Symphony Conducting. In different periods of study, wonderful teachers - associate professor Larisa Andreevna Shimanovich, professors, people's artists of the USSR and Russia Viktor Vladimirovich Rovdo and Gennady Pantavoronovich Provatorov worked with me.
People's Artist of Russia Gennady Proventorov - conductor, who combined emotions and deep intellect in his work. There was absolutely no "ration" in him, some very elementary everyday things escaped him, but he seemed to know about music and remembered everything about music. When he returned to the conductor class after recovering from a stroke, at times he hardly supported conversation on small domestic topics, but starting to talk about music, he called precisely dates, names, orchestras, traditions of performance, tonality, humming musical themes. He seemed to draw it from somewhere above. He had moments of insight at both rehearsals and performances, when, demanding something that seemed to be not very logical from the orchestra, he achieved absolutely amazing sounds and revealing meanings through musical drama. This is the main task of the conductor. No matter how beautifully you depict something behind the console, if the orchestra's sound does not have musical meaning, dramaturgy, collision, the struggle of the antitheses, their reunification, and sometimes - the melting of initial themes and ideas into something fundamentally different, new - that the author has conceived, means, actually, the conductor too is not present.
The first thing Gennady Panteleimonovich said to me: "I will deal more with your thinking than with your hands." And, indeed, he began the lesson of the specialty by opening the score and running a finger along the lines, explained the figurative structure of the work, the style, the tradition of performance, etc. The score began to sound in the mind - as if an internal voice recorder was turned on. So the future conductors, his students, learned to "hear in texture", this was the beginning of the formation of our conductor "vertical" - the musical intellect.
What does it mean to "hear in texture"? To be able to reproduce a musical piece with an inner ear, in details imagining the tempo, the voices of sounding instruments, the interaction of musical themes, harmony and many more "bricks", of which the musical score consists. For example, in a car I do not listen to audio recordings at all and even - it's ridiculous to say - I do not know how the player turns on. If you want music, with a little effort of memory in your mind, for example, one of our performances begins to sound, or, for example, Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. But actually, more often at the wheel I'm interested in listening to what is happening around - how the engine works, how the machine reacts to what you are asking to do, it's also such a kind of music, an action that unfolds in time, while resting from music (sometimes, and this is required). I can drive three hundred kilometers, listening only to the car.
Recently, the film "Interstellar" was released, it seemed interesting to me how the time is represented in it - it can stretch, shrink, depending on what physical conditions we are in and how we feel it. Very much in common with the musical worlds that we create in theatrical performances. When you stand behind the conductor's console, you observe the movement of time on the stage - how it flows, how heroes exist in it, how their personality and character relationships change, what drives the characters and their passions, how and where this story will come, how it ends and why will end this way. All these musical meanings and many others - less obvious, but no less important - exist at the expense of musical time and our communication with him, due to the so-called pulsation - the filling of thoughts, emotions, rhythm. I mean now is not an external rhythm. Just as our heart beats, depending on emotions, faster or, conversely, more slowly, the internal musical rhythm in the play must be present, otherwise the music will stand still, do not move anywhere and not talk about anything. This is what my teachers taught me (I hope that is not fruitless) and what is gradually being realized. We often do this - many things are told by the teachers to the young conductor "to grow up" and only then, sometimes years later, they are realized in the profession when the musical intellect ripens.
Instrument of the artist of the orchestra - clarinet, flute, harp, trombone, etc. Instrument of the vocalist - his voice and breathing. And the conductor himself is a tool, along with his intellect, facial expressions, movements, the way he breathes, how he exists, walks, stands, as he holds his head. There has never been a blind conductor in the history of music - because eye contact can not be replaced, although you can learn music by ear.
The orchestra responds to communicating with the conductor as a living organism, undoubtedly endowed with collective intelligence, intuition. Weaker or stronger it is expressed, depends, of course, on the skill of the team, the temperament of the musicians, after all, on the degree of the program's sharpness or - and so happens - the rutting of it. Recently, the book "A Guide to the Orchestra and Its Backyards" by Vladimir Zisman, a musician from the orchestra of the Moscow theater "New Opera", was published. A stunning book with a "full collection of orchestral tales," funny and at the same time serious: about many important things for a musician, for example, about the realization that the possession of a tool can be a profession, if you are a solo or ensemble performer ... but it will only be the basis of the profession if you orchestral musician. Because the possession of the instrument is what is meant, but the understanding of its role, the stylistics of the game, the dash technique in the orchestra, the hearing of what is happening around it is already the superstructure, actually the profession of an orchestral musician, part of some "collective reason". The more vivid musicians in the orchestra, the more pronounced this collective intuition with which conductors have to deal is to coexist, but it is better to guide and trust.
I prefer collegial relations with musicians-performers, but on condition of their attentiveness and focus on rehearsals. I can not say that I am a conductor-dictator, in my opinion, the times of such maestros go to the past: like Toscanini, we do not rush at anyone, and this is certainly for the better, but there are moments in which we can not give in, where you need to convince, while not insulting. These moments are connected with interpretation, with understanding of the meaning of the work, the style of the author and the era - here the conductor is in his right and very much depends on how he will be able to convince the orchestra, especially the stranger. I still remember very warmly, for example, our contact with the "Minsk-orchestra", a team that played with many eminent European conductors. I with this orchestra prepared a program from the works of Strauss before the orchestra traveled to Germany. Then we did a program dedicated to Edward Grieg. We spent two weeks digging in details in the style of the work, finding musical meanings and connections, sounds and timbres. As a result, the performance that we got was only ours, unique, and not just a tracing-paper with something. It was an interesting work, I remember it with gratitude.
In 2014, there was an interesting experience, and I hope that it will continue, with the youth symphony orchestra of the Union of Belarus and Russia. Musicians of the orchestra are students of the Central Music School at the Moscow Conservatory and a music college at the Belarusian Academy of Music. Two schools, in something similar, in something different. Two groups of children - from Moscow and Minsk. And two conductors, who work separately with their groups, then these groups are gathered into one orchestra. After a few days of rehearsals, they should become a single whole - an orchestra. The guys, of course, are different - both as orchestra players and as individuals, they are a bit different both in mentality and mentality, but they already have enough instruments in the orchestra and they feel more confident in the orchestra. It is very interesting to observe the formation of these young musicians, who are taking the first serious steps in the profession. And for us, in this case not only to conductors, but also to teachers, it is important that the stylist and aesthetics of the orchestra play in such a way that the future artist of the orchestra does not intimidate this profession.
For a conductor, as for every artist (if you want to do not just craft), it is important to maintain the freshness of perception and stay inside a little child, although sometimes it's so desperately difficult to grow up! And still there are in music, in art such things, which you can feel only as if "without the upper layer of the skin." At the same time, we all know that any creative team, and the theater, especially - not only a team of like-minded people, but also a cute such a terrarium sometimes, where there are clashes of interests, very different relationships, trends, ambitions. And then without this top layer it is very difficult to exist.
Probably, the more you know, the more you survived, the wider your sensory horizon, the more sharply your moral tuning fork, or more sharply and sharply - creative handwriting. This skill, it's still ahead (smiles). On the other hand, it happens that a person has experienced a lot, feelings have become dull - then it is more difficult and we have to look. Often, ideas, aesthetics, inspiration are drawn in the fine arts of the period to which you are addressing as a musician. Much comes from literature, poetry. And there are things that you just take from life. After all, in opera, even when there are allegorical characters in it - gods, heroes - the emotions are still very human. And here you go, sometimes, along the street, and towards the face, faces ... And suddenly again! - the situation, or the relationship, or intonation in the conversation - well, just the character of the play, on which you work, here it is, "material" is just in the hands! And you observe and remember.
I'm equally interested in both opera and ballet. In classical ballet there is a specificity - it is strictly defined rates, variations, number structure, all attention of the public is turned to soloists. In this sense, opera performances for the conductor represent a wider field for creativity. I'm interested in ballets based on neoclassics: from V.A. Gavrilin's "Anyuta" staged at our theater, S.Prokofiev's "Cinderella". In our "Cinderella" I really like the ending, when it turns out that everything dreamed: both the ball and the prince - that this is just a dream, but so strong that it just has to come true. Here there is an appeal never to stop, to believe in yourself, the universe, not to give up, to seek your happiness.
What would I like to see in the repertoire of our theater? More Mozart's works, because he is a colossal universe, musical, semantic ... He is like a magnet - so many all kinds of ideas attracted, so many all sorts of artistic phenomena associated with him, that his music is simply necessary in any theater. Also I would like more French music in the repertoire - "Samson and Dalilah" by K. Saint-Saens, "Faust" and "Romeo and Juliet" by S. Gounod, "Lakme" by L. Deliba. I love baroque music, which, unfortunately, is completely absent from our repertoire, and yet the performances to the music of IS. Bach, G. Handel, G. Purcell - frequent "guests" on the best opera and ballet stages of the world. "It would be a pleasure to see on our stage a modern ballet for the music of S. Rachmaninov and P. I. Tchaikovsky .. Of course, national opera and ballet productions to the music of Belarusian composers are always interesting, among them there are plays with a real moral, human basis, such as, for example, "Wild Hunt of King Stach".
I treat the actualized plays very well if the approach in time to the present calls us to look deeper into ourselves. If all that the author wanted to say is carefully preserved, even with the possible delta of perception and personal attitude of artists, directors, what is happening on the stage, why not. The main thing is that this is not a formal transfer of the plot. And if on the stage just some boring uncles and aunts in jeans, I do not see any particular sense in modernizing classical productions. I think that if the performance is not an act of therapy in relation to the audience and to ourselves, then we went to the stage in vain and took up a instrument or opened our mouths to sing. If this therapeutic act has happened, then we have succeeded.
We have a very different audience. Sometimes you go out to the play, knowing that it is not very easy to perceive, and you think: you have to try to get it - and suddenly you realize that the audience is all feeling and understanding. You feel it literally with your back, as if an electric current runs through: from us - from the pit and from the stage - into the hall, from the hall the reverse flow. That would measure one degree of this flow of empathy! In addition, there are such things external: people applaud where you want, and where you do not need to applaud, but there is a pause - silence. This means that the audience watched your thought and instinctively understood where it ends, and where it is not necessary to "tear" it. So catch the mood of the hall, enter your mood in resonance with the public mood is not every time, but it is expensive and gives the energy to move on. And it also happens in another way - quite a popular performance, running, but also for some reason passes "by" - yes, they clapped, even "bravo" shouted somewhere, but somehow it was not so clapped and some not so " Bravo".
Various applauses can be performed. There are applauses to specific characters of the play - from five or six main characters who go on a bow, all applause can be collected by one or two. Or all the applause can go to the conductor only. Or the conductor enters the stage, and the applause is even, which means that in the eyes of the public you are only one of the participants in the performance - people did not attach much importance to music orchestral texture. There is an applause that the music suspends - a minute passes, two applause, and then the play continues, this is the moment when the public needs to throw out emotions, because it is impossible to restrain them further.
Once they talked and wrote that television would displace the theater, and the records would displace concert performances. But practice shows that this is not so, because, no matter how many you sell records, people will still go to the theater and to concerts. People want to hear live music, the need of our body for live music can not be replaced. However, in Belarus, this need is instinctive rather than conscious - there is practically no broad musical and aesthetic education, many listeners remain such "latent" connoisseurs of music and theater: they come to the play, but as if croaking and with some apprehension - and suddenly there is incomprehensible and boring? When I see such people, I feel special gratitude to my parents, who, eight or nine years old, drove me to serious evening performances! Aida, Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Traviata and God knows what else! But previously we read the libretto together, and after the action we discussed everything that we saw and heard. Here it is, the love of the theater and the opera, where it began! I address to all parents - take with itself on "adult" performances of children! This is a contribution to their future - an educated and versatile, able to feel and empathize with a person will find a place if not in music, in life - for sure. With the ubiquitous availability of search engines, the libretto and music of any performance can be found in minutes, and the magic of breathing live music and stage action will remain with the theater. (It took me a little, you can cut it if you think it's necessary.)
What sounds from the speakers, as a rule, is cut by hardware and turned into a sounding curve, more or less smooth. There are records mutilated to such an extent that, for example, I, the conductor, can not understand what instrument is playing. When there was no sound recording equipment and music could only be heard live, spatial effects were created not by two columns, but by two, sometimes by three choruses, standing at the choir of the cathedral at a distance of 20-25 meters from each other and at an altitude of 20 meters above the viewer under the cathedral vaults . And these "choruses" themselves - just so, in inverted commas - consisted not only of singers, but also of performers on musical instruments! And how all these sounds intertwined, what images were born - these effects (fortunately) are still not available to the equipment. But there, in these religious mysteries - part of the roots of our genre, opera. Therefore, my credo is a living sound!
Conducting is directing through music, because musical drama is the main driving force of action, and this has not been denied by anyone yet. The role of the conductor-director is to make this musical drama meaningful, revealed and understood both by the performers and by the audience. The most diverse ideas, dramatic clashes, comic and tragic situations are instinctively perceived through music. In the modern opera house, great opportunities are given to another "parent" of the play - the director. Such, as it is fashionable to say, is the trend. Is this due to the fact that the perception of the modern spectator is based on the clip series, the visual impression, the reaction to the catchy reception - I do not presume to affirm. But if the music in the play is turned into an illustration to the director's own ideas, this will be a one-day effect. If the ideas are not startling, let's amaze by the brightness of the light, the amount of smoke or the discrepancy of the stage action with the style and spirit of the music, considering for some reason that this is very unusual and new. At one time, it was for these reasons that conductors of the level of Cyril Kondrashin and Carlos Klaiber - great conductors - refused to participate in opera productions! After all, in the musical theater the first word is "musical", which means "theater through music," which is a special way of knowing the world, and therefore the conductor-producer is certainly no less important for the process of the birth of a musical performance than the director. And only in mutual understanding these creators can be born something worthwhile.I say this not just because I'm a conductor, but because there is a certain moral duty to the author who created the score - the very Rosetta stone with hieroglyphics, the meanings of which we must decipher, to solve.
I believe that conducting is the profession of all life, because if you do not engage in this profession in the first half of life, as a rule, it will not be in the second. It is necessary to come to some principles, and his own, the conductor's work is always comprehension, comprehension, some sort of intuitive breakthrough. Our profession will always be individual, subjective, every conductor is a piece work, there are no two identical conductors. And without that very first half, when you accumulate it, you try to enter, break through, crawl, scratch in some way into the world of images and meanings - without what is formed in the first half of professional life, there will be no second one. I did not see any real conductor, who would bore his profession, it's such a magical thing when you have the opportunity to go outside the console and create a world, a fairy tale, tell a story, without a single word being uttered and even turning your face towards the listener. And people will understand you.
Text: Olga Savitskaya