Music under open air
Second season of Classics Near Town Hall opens in Minsk
Alexander Chakhovsky, the art director and producer of the Classics Near Town Hall Festival, tells us that the summer stage near the Upper Town Concert Hall has been expanded this year, to accommodate the State Philharmonic. He notes, “The stage is permanent, hosting the Nemiga Orchestra every Saturday from 3pm to 4 pm, as well as other activities. It’s been enlarged to house the State Academic Philharmonic Orchestra, with chairs, microphones, music stands and sound equipment, this year, funded by Minsk City Executive Committee, for which we’re very grateful.”
This year, the festival has doubled its capacity, with eight Saturday concerts instead of four. The opening passed in 3D format, as the organisers joke. The programme began with a quartet of trumpeters performing Salieri’s Fanfare, on the balcony of the Town Hall, followed by Partita soloists. The second part saw the State Academic Philharmonic, conducted by Alexander Anisimov, perform an original ‘duet’ with the Orchestra of the Armed Forces. Moreover, church bells were used, thanks to bell ringers from Bogdan Berezkin.
“I understand nothing about major and minor keys, but it sounds fantastic!” noted Matvei, having come to Svobody Square with a bouquet of flowers for his girlfriend. Matvei usually prefers to go dancing but appreciated the romantic atmosphere that an open-air concert of classical music offers: of prime concern for him at present.
Conductor Anisimov tells us, “It’s wonderful to perform music outside in the city in summer. I think it’s especially important that we offer classical music, not just because it’s my own love, to which I’ve dedicated years of my life, but because we lack enough performances at concert halls and, especially, in the open air, in open spaces. You often find such events in Europe; I’ve attended various concerts in London, Madrid, Vienna and Berlin, which gathered large crowds. They listened rapt to musicians and orchestras of the highest level. This is perhaps the first such experience for the State Academic Philharmonic before a large crowd in Minsk, but we hope it won’t be the last.”
There’s no doubt that something magical happens on hearing a full orchestra in the open air. It’s impossible to remain unmoved on listening to the symphonic poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Strauss. Meanwhile, the bells and guns of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture cannot be ignored. The festival has begun marvellously and continues every Saturday through until August 13th, promising classical works and more.
By Irina Yevseeva