An experimental concertante production
featuring music by Antonio Vivaldi and Toshio Hosokawa (world premiere)
Idea and Concept Jeremias Schwarzer
One of the best known examples of Baroque program music is without doubt Vivaldi's Four Seasons. However it does not stand alone, as there are numerous other musical works by Vivaldi and his contemporaries where the depiction of nature plays a central role. Early operatic scenes often included music conveying storms and shipwrecks, and in instrumental pieces composers regularly added titles such as "Storm," "Seasons," and "Night and Dreams" in order to display their ability to portray nature just as capably as baroque painters.
This portrayal as well as 'discovery' of nature did not only grow over the centuries in European music history; it also played a strong role in traditional Japan, where it developed with almost no influence from the outside. Next to calligraphy and poetry (haiku would be unthinkable without its reference to nature), traditional Japanese music often portrayed nature or was used for the theatre to create a certain atmosphere of light, a season, or the smell of flowers.
Toshio Hosokawa, the most prominent living Japanese composer, refers to this relationship to nature as a defining element for his musical works. Because of this he is counted among those active in following the centuries-long tradition of Japanese art and music. Combined with his western education, he also brings a definite connection to the history of European music in his works.
In this concert program, east meets west and traditional meets modern through the depictions of nature: instrumental works of Toshio Hosokawa are juxtaposed against the baroque concerti of Antonio Vivaldi. Hosokawa supplies in his new work (to be premièred in September 2011) an acoustical backdrop for the baroque music. He describes his concept as a creation of a garden growing naturally around the baroque music. The various musical groups, made up of solo wind players, strings, and a continuo group, are positioned on the stage on podiums of different heights. The audience's concentration on the one or the other group is drawn in through the use of intricate stage lighting, which together with the musical dramaturgy recreates the endless cycle from night to night, beginning in darkness and finally ending in the secretive gloom of night, reflecting Vivaldi’s Concerto “La notte”.
Renowned spatial artist Claudia Doderer will be devising the visual realization. Her artistic approach is very close to the organic developments in Hosokawa’s music. The search for the essence of each work is always her starting point. The first step is to reduce as much as possible, in order to trace a spatial nucleus that can in the next step unfold again as something utterly new. A single surface can experience a complete change in perception through different assembly in a particular room and through slight adjustments in light or perspective. These processes of change are consistently derived from the musical structure. It is for this reason that Claudia Doderer works intensively already during the concept development with the composer Toshio Hosokawa and with the interpreter Jeremias Schwarzer, who initiated the project in the first place.
The musicians of the world‐renowned Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin also play an active role in the conceptualization and realization of this project. In several workshops with Toshio Hosokawa and Jeremias Schwarzer they will deepen the idea of the East‐West musical dialogue and merge the two styles together to form a new work.
The aim of this program is to create a 75-minute long production. combining contemporary Japanese with Italian baroque music so that the picture of a garden is brought to life and begins to ‘sing’.
Film By Stephan Talneau
Camera: Philip Griess, Stephan Talneau, Petra Stawowczyk