In Strasbourg, the Rhine divides two very different countries from each other with a thin blue line. We live in a seemingly barrier-free Europe (still) but to me there is and has always been something almost mythical about continental Europe and her rivers, about their traditional and symbolic meaning as borders between people and cultures.
I’m thinking and writing again and you’ve probably already guessed it - I’m on the train, leaving France after yet another wonderful project abroad with Klangforum Wien. A normal tour for me usually lasts just a couple of days or a week, but this time I’m returning home after more than three weeks with Klangforum playing Philippe Boesmans’ Pinocchio at the Aix-en-Provence festival, the second biggest opera festival in the world.
We had a fantastic time. And as the TGV rushes through the Provence and proceeds through the central parts of France I keep thinking that I don’t want the landscape to change this fast, that I want to stay in this dream for a little while longer, in the same way I sometimes want to stay in bed the morning after a concert, watching the flowers and remembering that it all maybe wasn’t a dream after all.
I don’t need to bring flowers home this time, but I want to stay in the memory transforming into a dream for longer, stretching the time. This is a dream of fountains, of joie-de-vivre, of wonderful people, great food and, reflecting over my last three weeks, it seems to me like the perfect combination of work and pleasure. Aix-en-Provence is such a beauty and I already now miss walking around in this city: too perfect to be true but genuine enough to believe in.
The French expression for a musical world première is ”création mondiale” - two words forming an expression that is as posh as it is tasty. The ”création mondiale” of Philppe Boesmans’ Pinocchio turned out to be a sincere pleasure (admitted: a very tonal pleasure) with a fabulous cast of singers. Klangforum Wien in the pit also got some well deserved attention, Financial Times wrote after the premiere:
”At the top of the list is the presence of Klangforum Wien in the pit and Emilio Pomarico on the podium. These are people who can turn any score into a masterpiece; the musicality, the polish, the warmth and skill are breathtaking.”
So, after all, reading newspaper articles afterwards, remembering the scents, flavours and pictures of Aix and all the adventures and night-long conversations with my new and old friends playing, visiting, sharing these experiences with me makes it bearable and possible to think back with a big smile on my face.
Life goes on and this coming week, Salzburg is waiting. From Saturday we start rehearsing for a very different kind of festival, in a very different country, much closer to home. Still at the border, still by a river. Let the music flow!
All the best and musical greetings,