GoPro Gets the Classical Treatment
GoPro is all about sharing a unique experience and gaining a new perspective by finding never-before-seen points of view. In a revolutionary and exciting project, world famous violinist Lidia Baich and former child prodigy pianist Matthias Fletzberger got together for a classical masterpiece, filmed from novel and intimate angles.
Have you ever wondered what a classical performance looks like from the point of view of an almost 300 year-old violin worth around 3.5 million Euro? These musicians were bold enough to provide you with the answer.
What moved you to use the cameras during your performance?
We felt it was a great opportunity to be able to film and watch ourselves so closely. It allowed us to share the very personal perspective of our performance. Musicians—especially in classical music—are always viewed from a distance. We felt it was really important to get rid of that distance and invite the listeners to take part in the experience.
What was it like for you to watch the performance from so many different angles?
Many perspectives we already knew, but there were moments that surprised us. It is interesting to see what happens with us and around us—we have never been able to experience that while we play. It was really rewarding.
Did you enjoy coming up with so many new perspectives?
Yes, and we hope to find many more! During rehearsals, we are already constantly trying out new perspectives and hope that we will be able to share them with our audience in future.
About the Artists
Violinist Lidia Baich was born in St. Petersburg. At the age of eight, she won her first international competition, and numerous other awards followed. In 1998 she won the Grand Prix d‘Eurovision and was nominated as one of the European Musicians of the Year. Since then she has been performing in all major concert halls around the world with some of the globes’ best orchestras (including the New York Philharmonic and St. Petersburg Philharmonic) and conductors such as Lorin Maazel and Vladimir Fedoseyev. In 2002, Lorin Maazel invited her to join star tenor Andrea Bocelli on his world tour. The following year, she took part in the ten-year anniversary of Pavarotti and Friends in Modena. In 2008 she released her first CD on the Deutsche Gramophone label. In 2009 she was the official ambassador of the Haydn year. Lidia Baich also serves as a jury member at prestigious violin competitions such as the Eurovision contest or the Menuhin competition. In 2011 Lidia released her second CD/DVD on the Deutsche Gramophone label together with pianist Fletzberger featuring their own arrangements of symphonic ballet-music “Violin in Motion”. Lidia plays a violin made by Joseph Guarnerius del Gesú “ex Guilet” in 1732, made available to her by courtesy of the Austrian National Bank.
From child prodigy to classical pianist, conductor, and opera producer, Matthias Fletzberger has done it all—worked as a recitalist, soloist with major orchestras, and chamber music pianist, and now as a conductor. These different influences have had a great impact on his deep understanding of music and its varied interpretation. Discovered at the age of five, when he was accepted as a violin and piano student to the University of Music in Vienna, Maestro Fletzberger was soon known as a piano prodigy. He won top prizes at prestigious international piano competitions, including the Busoni, Rubinstein, and Bösendorfer competitions. As a young performer, his career took him around the world and in a span of only five years he participated in over one thousand concerts, winning numerous prizes and performing with major orchestras (including the Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Bordeaux, Orquestra National d’Espagna) and conductors such as Ferdinand Leitner, Carl Melles, Jesus Lopez Cobos and Jan Krenz along the way. After deciding to follow a second career as a conductor, he acquired a huge repertoire within a short period of time in Salzburg (including Figaro staged by Peter Ustinov), at the Prague State Opera, the Vienna Festival and the Theatre St. Gallen (Switzerland). His North American debut as a conductor was in January 2013 as part of the “Salute to Vienna” concert series in Montreal and Quebec for an audience of more than 5.000 people. Since 2009, Fletzberger has been working on his comeback as a classical pianist with solo-recitals and as chamber music partner of the Austrian/Russian violinist Lidia Baich. In 2011, Deutsche Gramophone released the CD/DVD-Album Violin in Motion featuring arrangements of famous ballet-music by Lidia Baich and Matthias Fletzberger.
The Violin – Violin Guarneri del Gesù “ex Guilet“ (1732)
Built 1732 in Cremona
Label: “Joseph Guarneri filius Andreae” with a dedication to Saint Theresa
Value: around € 3,5 Million
Giuseppe (Joseph) Guarneri lived 1698-1744 in Cremona and was a descendant of a long line of Cremonese violin-makers. He referred to himself as Joseph Guarnerius and added a cross and the letters “IHS” (perhaps: “In Hoc Signo” or “Jesus Hominum Salvator”), so he was later remembered as Guarneri del Gesù, outside Italy also Guarnerius del Gesù. About 150 to 200 violins were handmade by Giuseppe Guarneri. His first violins date back to between 1723 and 1730. Due to a simultaneous increase in productivity and quality, the years between 1730 and 1734 are also called his “golden period”. His violins were bought primarily by professional musicians who were looking for robustness, sonority and great value for money. Lidia’s violin is named after one of its former owners. Daniel Guilet (1899-1990) was born in Rostov / Don as Daniel Guilevitch and grew up with his family in Paris. In 1954, he invited his fellow musicians Bernard Greenhouse and Menahem Pressler to play “a little Mozart” with him. As a result of this the ensemble gained worldwide fame as “Beaux Arts Trio”. In the past, the Guarneri “ex Guilet” was also played by other famous Violinists like David Oistrakh, Henryk Szeryng, and Joshua Bell. The Austrian National Bank has been collecting Violins since 1989. It is of great concern to the Bank not to let these instruments rest in vaults, but to make them constantly available to selected Austrian Musicians.
About the Music
In the Soviet Union of the 1950s, Spartacus was considered to be, in the words of Karl Marx, “a true representative of the ancient proletariat.” It was, therefore, only logical for him to become the principal character in a ballet composed by Georgian-Russian composer Aram Khachaturian. Despite opening to great acclaim in 1957, it only really became popular after its adagio was used as the title theme to the 1970s TV series The Onedin Line. The major influence exerted by Georgian and Armenian folk music gave the music its own unique character. The plot of the ballet is embedded in the history of the slave-uprising of the years 73-71 BC in the Roman Empire, focusing on the slave leader Spartacus and his lover Phrygia on the one hand and the Roman commander Crassus and the courtesan Aegina on the other. The theme of the famous “Adagio” is used through the whole ballet as a kind of “leitmotif” for the love of Spartacus and Phrygia, culminating in the great love scene that stands as a high point in the middle of the ballet. The “Variation of Aegina” and “Bacchanalia” are part of the festivities in the palace of Crassus, where actors and courtesans entertain the guests. Crassus’ lover Aegina increases the passion with her dance so that the feast ends in a bacchanalia of the wildest exuberance.
Arranging Music for Violin & Piano
One of the most wonderful things about music is its eternal nature. Many great works have been written for violin, but even more have been written for orchestra with all its manifold possibilities. Frequently we took tunes and melodies home from opera and concert halls and started playing them at home, breathing new life into them. Thus we developed the idea to adapt and arrange this music for violin and piano.
We have therefore studied the original scores very carefully in order to properly use the different voices and create a colourful and manifold sound-image using only two instruments. We were particularly anxious to ensure that the piano does not simply play the role of an accompanying instrument, as it happens so often in works written for violin. Much rather, the idea was to shown both instruments as equal partners in a musical exchange. The extensive usage of the full potential of both instruments however leads sometimes to the limit of what is still playable. The process of writing and arranging was, and remains, incredibly creative and exciting, but it cannot be done without a proper dose of humility and respect for the composer of the original work. It is in this spirit that we have tried to arrange each piece in good faith and to the best of our ability, and we hope that also the creators would be happy with the outcome.