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Austrian Musicians in Moldova

In the history of music January is the month of Mozart's birthday. By the age of 35, he wrote 620 compositions practically to all musical genres. He was less well-known also as a pianist-virtuoso. Being a representative of the Viennese classical school, Mozart together with Haydn and Beethoven generated reference samples of the sonata, symphony and concert. He ingeniously transformed typical samples of an opera-seria and opera buffa to a synthetic genre of tragicomedy in his opera "Don Giovanni" and the fairy-tale-comic "Magic Flute". His genial "Requiem" represents a top of democratization of the highest religious symbols accessible to perception by any person. Mozart became an embodiment of the maximum aspiration to an ideal in art, and his music serves as an eternal indisputable standard.

Mozart was a court musician, and at the same time a carefree representative of artistic bohemia of 18 th -century Austria. His name was "solar", and his soul was full of deep philosophical plans, and Mozart's destiny meant not only glory, in fact it was tragic.

It is very difficult to play Mozart and not because of the technical complications. Mozart's music is difficult because of its in-depth style and meaning, and it demands many years of persistent work and studying all articulations and subtleties of interpretation. Mozart becomes more accessible interpreted by Austrian musicians: conductor Wolfgang Gollner and pianist Albert Sassmann. They visited Moldova with concerts of Austrian music for the fifth time. This time the Organ Hall audience was lucky to appreciate not only Mozart's masterpieces, but also the brilliant art of Johann Strauss, Franz Schubert, Arnold Schonberg, Jeno Takacz and Ernst Toch.

Both musicians studied in both Vienna and London, which is perfectly felt in their graceful-strict manner of playing. These musicians always work together. They played in Perm, in Odessa, in Minsk, and it is very pleasant that Chisinau is especially important to them. And despite the already considerable five years' experience of cooperation with Moldova, they are full of numerous and various plans for the future.

The experience of joint concerts between musicians of Moldova and Austria is very productive. The Austrian school is one of the most perfect in the world, it has kept the valuable old traditions developed within many centuries. Albert and Wolfgang play both old and modern music, but do not aspire to "false" modern interpretations, leaving Mozart as Mozart, Schonberg as Schonberg.

Wolfgang Gollner for many years conducted on ensemble of “ancient” music and worked in symphonic programs of the Viennese Philharmonic Society, being a serious expert in all styles and directions of the Austrian music. Albert is a very inquisitive person, prefers a solo career, teaches in the Viennese Academy of Music and likes to read lectures about the history of cultural traditions since the times of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy.

The concert was attended by Mr. Reiner Schubert, cultural attaché at the Austrian Embassy in Romania who arrived in Moldova specially for the occasion. The diplomat attaches great importance to Moldo-Austrian cultural ties. "We try to intensify the cultural relations between Austria and Moldova and we hope that this concert will help us to build up the relations between our countries. Our musicians perform in Moldova for the fifth time already, and we have an Austrian Library in Street Kogalniceanu,” said Mr. Schubert. “We have no embassy in Moldova. I have come from Bucharest and want to note that our embassy in Romania sponsors Albert's and Wolfgang's concert in Chisinau.”

After the concert our guests kindly answered a few questions.

Question: How has the position of a musician in Austria changed since Mozart's times?

Answer: The changes are enormous: in Mozart's epoch it was a court art, intended for and supported by aristocratic dynasties. Now Mozart is accessible to all – to the widest democratic layers. In fact politics and art used to be closely interconnected, and it is impossible to comprehend Mozart not knowing the cultural and dynastic traditions of Austria. Aristocracy always supported classical music. Today the Government and cultural centers help to popularize classical art.

You have collected an enormous audience in Chisinau…

Fortunately, our concerts always collect full halls both in Chisinau, in Romania, Russia and Ukraine. The interest to Austrian music is always very high, therefore I would like to give master-classes in different countries, and I want to play with young musicians from Moldova very much.

What is your opinion about Moldovan audience?

The Moldovan audience is very sensitive and I keenly feel it. It is very susceptible to every kind of music. I am very pleased with your chamber orchestra, it is absolutely at European level. I shall especially note magnificent string traditions in Moldova.

Our chamber orchestra includes the best musicians from Moldova. What is the difference between string traditions in Moldova and in Austria?

Most noticeably the difference lies in the pedagogical sphere. You have a Soviet-Russian school, it is more strict and academic.

Last year Moldova was visited by Austrian musicians, their interpretation was aristocratic, refined and sounded charming. It is probably connected with the traditional court purpose of Austrian musical culture, called to please the higher strata of the society. Mozart is more romantic, he sounds as in paradise. Do you prefer only chamber music?

Not only. We play everything, especially Wolfgang. He is a violonist by education and his collaboration with orchestral players is very productive. There is a CD with the music by the famous Russian composer Alfred Schnitke in our interpretation.

Are Moldovan composers of interest to you? We have many talented names in new music…

We want very much to record a CD with contemporary Moldovan music. It is necessary for our future plans.

We expect a lot of interesting in the future. And as to the last concert, we could wish all our concert halls such an attendance. The beginning of the concert with the formidable overture to “Don Giovanni” was magnificent! The andante from piano concerto No. 13 was miraculously performed by Albert Sassmann. A special shock became adagio and fuga for strings. It is a deeply psychological piece, describing the tragical essence of Mozart's uncomfortable life. Bravo and many times bravo! Mozart is really great in glazioso and in dramatic episodes. And the skilful piano technique of Albert Sassmann makes them sound like the most thin frosty winter day. Mozart is an eternally young morning of the humanity, its unique and universal genius, and at the same time he will always be regarded as a sphinx, a monument to human paradoxicality.

By Elena Uzun

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