2017 Stradivarius and organ at the Black Church

Stradivarius at the Black Church: Bach with Valeriy Sokolov

Black Church | Tuesday | 13 Jun 2017 | 6:00 pm

Around 5:40 pm the Black Church is already full, there are people who still want tickets, but… the tickets sold out long ago. There is a good reason to want to get in. The air is filled with the sensation that we are going to get #vibrationsworthsharing again.

The concert opens with the phenomenal Steffen Schlandt and sets a special, unique Pulse, that only the huge organ from the Black Church could generate: it seems that the discussion is carried in terms of hope, height, maybe even a kind of rise over the urban noise.

It is Bach, it is full, heavy classical music, which can hardly be comprised as it romps, plays, runs.

In this context, at some point it seems that time is a joke, because the organ stops it, or, better yet, stills it. It is impossible to ignore a feeling of general astonishment. The only reactions are those of the church – the wood revolts, sometimes squeaks under certain movements in the audience. Then, a child who claps when he wants to.

But the organ is sovereign and seems to tell a story perfectly synchronized with the history that emerges – the tones gain gravitas, and the music deepens, reminds us of calamity, struggle, faith and unity in the face of time and other adversities… It pulses in each of us whether we were ready for it or not.

Then the register changes, after it turned us towards ourselves and plunged us into the past, it seems to want to tell another story – now we can unleash, express our joy, vivacity, creativity and playfulness. Now we can be happy because we are protected by the already created energy.

Bach seems to encourage us to have strength, the strength of being in the world, together, after it made us reflect upon ourselves, separately.

The applauses sound so nice!

Sokolov ‘s Stradivarius carries you away. A huge mental space seems to unfold instantly, then a continuous back and forth that seems to have a destination but it doesn’t define it but searches for it more and more intensely. Something in the violin’s Pulse is unearthly, and Sokolov has an incredible capacity to cover his instrument. If you didn’t know it was a violin solo, you could think there are a few separate instruments … it’s magic!

What could the subject be, you wonder, other than the intense and continuous adventure of the spirit trapped in restlessness, suspense, limit, always running between question and answer. What kind of moods must one compose to develop such music, to interpret it, to find its keys?

The states change quickly and again, as if on a staff, hope, vivacity, risk, play, joy show up.

How contemporary is Bach! How modern the rhythm, how it transpires fear, madness, regret, the mistake that engages the conscience… if one read the souls by notes there would probably be some Bach in each of us. It’s even more intriguing if we think that both then and now we are almost the same…

The music is played as a philosophy about the incredible human being, about the absurd day-to-day, about possibilities, about time, rhythm, sound… Pulse – an ongoing search for sense, support, coherent movement. An impossibility to keep, to hold a plurality of speeds and the amazing performance of the musical virtuosity of Valeriy Sokolov and the guardian Steffen Schlandt.

Next, a symbolic turn to the altar, where the gathering, the duet, the mix awaits. Stradivarius and organ.

Almost naturally, the instruments intensify each other, they refine each other’s edges and all of a sudden we are enveloped in gentleness, understanding, we harmonize our opposites… but not for long as we get back to sadness, maybe obsolescence… but in a couple, I think we can talk, musically, of course, about love.

While I write about this concert, Brașov is taken by a short hailstorm.

Text | Răzvan Zlăvog

Photo | Andrei Paul