The programme includes:
Dolce far niente
Johann Sebastian Bach
Cello Suite No 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
A Book for cello solo
Johann Sebastian Bach
Cello Suite No 6 in D Major, BWV 1012
Johann Sebastian Bach
Cello Suite No 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008
Waltz of the Alpine Bells
Soloists: Sergei Roldugin (cello), Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Ivan Monighetti (cello), Gavriel Lipkind (cello), Alexander Raskatov (piano)
Why did you select this contemporary piece?
Gavriel Lipkind: I performed it for Ligeti. He told me the story behind it: Ligeti met an older (married) lady when he was still very young. He fell in love with her.
György went home and wrote a piece for cello solo and called it Dialogue. The opening pizzicatos represent how he wished to gain her attention. He borrowed the opening melody from a very old Hungarian love song.
Five years later, in 1952 Ligeti met the same lady again. This time she made it very clear that there was no hope for any further interaction. This was when he wrote the second movement: he imbued it with all the seething rage that was boiling within him. Ligeti thus composed the first work for a string instrument in the history of music that made use of cluster chords. Sounds from different tonalities were written to be played almost simultaneously. This piece was not performed for many years because of the technical challenge. It is a unique work which is very intense both technically and emotionally.
Alexander Ivashkin: In his letter to me in 1989, when I first recorded the Book for Cello on CD, Pēteris Vasks wrote that his piece is about “an eloquence of Nature’s silence.” I think this is the meaning of any music, from ancient times to the present day. By performing this piece, I’d like to invite the audience to look at “the book” of Nature in their own lives.
Ivan Monighetti: Several years ago, Valentin Silvestrov spent two weeks with me in Switzerland. Every morning he was playing Bach or something improvised on the piano. Then we went for a walk together and admired the Swiss scenery.
Some time later I was playing Bach’s Suites in Kiev. Valentin was at the concert and the next day he showed me his new work for cello solo – Waltz of the Alpine Bells.
Are you not afraid of performing a contemporary work alongside Bach’s music?
Gavriel Lipkind: Everything is next to Bach anyway. Bach is everywhere!
Alexander Ivashkin: No, I’m not afraid of putting it next to Bach as these works are closely related. They speak about the same thing, albeit in different ways. Bach used the language of dance to speak about the divine universe and its structure; Pēteris Vasks uses sounds and silence to describe the expressiveness of Nature.
Ivan Monighetti: Bach was a supreme composer. He speaks to every age, all people and all cultures. He is with us and within us...
What is your connection with Russia?
Gavriel Lipkind: I was born in Israel, but the history of my family is deeply rooted and intertwined with St Petersburg. I have so many cultural, romantic and now musical associations with the city.
Alexander Ivashkin: I’ve never lived in St Petersburg, I’m from Moscow myself. But St Petersburg was always one of the most important cities in my life. The first time I was here was in 1966 when, still teenager, I came from Moscow to attend Anna Akhmatova’s funeral service. The service took place at St Nicholas Naval Cathedral near the Mariinsky Theatre. That was an unforgettable event that shaped my entire life to come. Recently I have been performing here on an annual basis and not so long ago I performed the premiere of a recently-discovered Brahms cello concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of the St Petersburg Philharmonic.
Ivan Monighetti: Blood ties are what connect me with Russia: by birth, language, culture, faith... I am Russian. My teacher was the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. In St Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo there are many buildings that were built by my great-grandfather, Ippolit Antonovich Monighetti, who was Court Architect to Emperor Alexander II.
What can the audience expect from this concert?
Gavriel Lipkind: Good question. ... They’ll find out when they come!
Alexander Ivashkin: This will be a unique concert with four very different cellists performing. Each will be offering his own different views and concepts on Bach and modern music. You rarely have four soloists playing the same instrument and a living composer on same stage on the same night!
Ivan Monighetti: The concert will be very interesting!
It will be quite exciting for professional musicians.
Cello fans will be able to share the belief in the limitless possibilities of their favourite instrument. It is also a unique opportunity to hear four cellists at one and the same concert.
Music lovers will come for their love of music.
Critics will have something to write about.
Pensioners, students and schoolchildren – all are welcome!
What, if any, is your favourite football team?
Gavriel Lipkind: Real Madrid.
Alexander Ivashkin: Chelsea.
Ivan Monighetti: I do basically like football, though unfortunately my love of horse riding leaves no room in my life for other hobbies.