St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Stairway to Heaven
Wagner. Silvestrov. Kancheli. Raskatov. Knaifel

Knaifel, Silvestrov, Kancheli, Wagner, Raskatov, Khlebnikov and one big surprise: an experience one will remember for a long time to come

V Festival of Contemporary Music New Horizons

The programme includes:
Richard Wagner
Introduction and Death of Isolde from the opera Tristan und Isolde

Giya Kancheli

Valentin Silvestrov
Two Dialogues with Postludium

Alexander Raskatov
Alphabet of Death, suite for bass and orchestra to poetry by Velimir Khlebnikov. Dedicated to György Kurtág

Alexander Knaifel
The Prayer of St Ephraim Sirin

Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andres Mustonen
Soloist: Oleg Sychov (bass)

An interview with Andres Mustonen

Wagner, Silvestrov, Kancheli, Raskatov and Knaifel – what do these five composers mean to you?
Each composer whose music I perform means something to me. I conduct only music with which I have a personal relationship. The opera Tristan and Isolde by Wagner was my musical awakener when I was an adolescent. The score of Tristan was the very first opera score I had at home. I gobbled up the harmonies and lived through the emotions.
I have an incredibly intimate relationship with the music of Kancheli. I love everything in it – every note, every pause, every accent excites me. I could dwell in his world forever. The music by Knaifel has reached heavenly spheres more than that of anybody else. Conducting his music has fine-tuned my ears to the sounds of heaven. Silvestrov’s music is filled with silence, peace, sadness and nostalgia. It sounds like new and awakening beauty. I have yet to discover Raskatov’s work. I have not yet met him or heard his music at concerts, but his score quite simply beams with clarity and confidence.

You perform mostly early and contemporary music. Do these eras, so far apart from one another, share anything in common?
While I often conduct the Viennese classics and romantic music, I always interpret it with reference to what has come before and what is to come in the future. Early music and music from other civilisations that I perform with my group Hortus Musicus form the basis of my musical ideology and nourish me constantly. All this is utterly new music for me. Music that we are creating at this very moment. I am interested only in new music and in unprecedented events that only living composers can offer. Only they have things to tell us that we really need today.

What role has St Petersburg played in your life and work?
An incredibly important one. Since 1973 I have performed here each and every year. The erudite audiences of this city are something you’d have to look for with a magnifying glass elsewhere.

What can audiences expect from this concert?
They will experience the noble, sublime and intimate touch of another transcendental world. At this concert, everybody who comes with an open heart will feel it. Which, if any, is your favourite football team?
I don’t watch football and have nothing to do with it at all, except for the fact that one of my grandsons is a keen player.

Age category 6+

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