Ears are not enough. Use your heart!

Let’s take Mozart: how many different ways are there of expressing and playing his music? I guess as many as there are people, and probably most ways are valid. Each one of us feels a composer in a slightly different way, but Mozart seems to have the peculiarity to sort of embrace more solutions at the same time. In Mozart everything is so complex in its simplicity, that the characters change as fast as the clouds in the sky change their shape. What starts light and joyful might reveal, seconds later, a death mask, and vice-versa.

Valentina with Boris Belkin and Yurij BashmetI am so grateful to have had at my side as soloists Boris Belkin and Yurij Bashmet performing the Sinfonia Concertante.  They are absolutely incredible musicians whose approach towards the music is deeply sincere and generous. Their natural sensitivity offered me the chance to discover an intimate dialogue between the three of us, something I’ve never experienced so strongly. The connection we created was something so special that once we found it, any small change in the mood or in the character, or even any different way to feel the same passage from the violin to the viola, sounded right and manifested at the moment in a very natural way.

In order to allow this connection to happen, it is essential to be and think in a flexible way. I believe that the key is to be open, not only in the mind or in the way of conceiving a passage, but more importantly, to be open in our heart and to be sensitive enough to feel the soloists before they even play, from the way they breath or the way they raise the bow. We can understand each other just through a glimpse or a gesture, feeling that there is no separation between the three of us, that we are just one soul and one breath. Sometimes the music is already in the air, and we have just to lift it from there. Sometimes we need to create it ourselves.  To simply accept the variety of expressions is not enough, we ourselves have to be the place where all things can happen, the very ground that gives rise to all possibilities.

After this concert, I’m even more convinced that nothing is farther from my vision than the idea of “accompanying”; it doesn’t work and it is deeply wrong, in my opinion. If you “accompany” you use your ears to listen, and you try to transfer what you hear from the soloists to the orchestra with the result that you will inevitably be disconnected from them and late. In my view, we have to play “with” the soloists, feeling them, anticipating all their thoughts and ideas. To deeply connect with them, the ears are not enough, we have to use our heart. It is not easy, but I promise it will be beautiful.

Written by Valentina Peleggi

Notes from Valentina’s debut with ORT – Orchestra della Toscana
Chigiana International Academy
5 August 2015

Concert Program:
Arvo Part, Silouan’s Song*
Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante
Mendelssohn, Symphony 4

*the Part transitioned into the Mozart with no break.