24 May 2016, 21:00

Russian National Library, Main reading hall. Address: Moscow, ul. Vozdvizhenka 3/5


Pianist and composer, whose early years were spent in the wonderful forests and mountains of the verdant Thuringia, Martin Kohlstedt belongs to the group of musicians who seek salvation from the modern world’s aggression in the harmonising piano pieces. Following in the footsteps of Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds, Kohlstedt composes watercolour-like piano etudes, occasionally using non-traditional techniques of sound articulation and electronic patches. His music is laconic, dramatic and supremely emotional. Kohlstedt may begin with a timid keyboard ripple and gradually hit a stride of the menacing staccato storm, only to end the piece with conciliatory melodic lull.

The artist’s live performances never fail to impress the public: during his concerts, Martin enters a state of fervent ecstasy, fusing with his instrument in ritual trance.

This will be Martin Kohlstedt’s first performance in Russia.

St. Petersburg resident Igor Vdovin is a very versatile composer who writes music both for the modular synthesisers and for the symphonic orchestras. He is known and loved both for his slick electronic pieces from the Gamma album that was released in the early 2000s, and for the skilful soundtracks to the best examples of contemporary Russian art house movies, such as Renata Litvinova’s The Goddess, Alexei German’s Garpastum, Anna Melikian’s Mermaid, and Nikolai Khomeriki’s TV show Dragon Syndrom. Vdovin’s name is most often seen on the posters of the Symphonic Kino orchestra project that’s touring Russia. For this project, the composer took the songs of the Russian rock star Viktor Tsoi (of the Kino band) and re-arranged them, using the musical vocabulary of Wagner and Brahms. Maneuvering between academic music and popular culture, Igor Vdovin is neither a part of the philharmonic world, nor a night club regular, and that’s just the way he likes it.

Vdovin’s latest album is called 24. 24 stands for the 24 piano preludes, so romantic they remind the listener of Chopin. The composer used 24 tonalities, writing a laconic piece in each of them. The formats are all different, there are plenty of melodic experiments, tributes to all of Vdovin’s music heroes — from Johann Sebastian Bach to Valentin Silvestrov and Salvatore Sciarrino — and even some musical jokes. Unlike the majority of contemporary acoustic music, which is written in a traditional manner and for traditional instruments, Igor Vdovin’s work extends beyond just one or two methods, is full of original ideas, but short on the runtime, making the pieces easily digestible to the contemporary audience. Each composition from the artist’s “quiet statements” can be seen as a separate story with its own set of circumstances — the hero’s appearance, the evolvement of his personality, youthful whims, dreams, and delusions, conflicts with superior adversaries, and final battles. But everything ends well. “In the end, all of these pieces are about love, and how good trumps evil, and enlightenment trumps ignorance and vulgarity,” sums up the composer.

Moscow premiere of 24 will be a part of the SOUND UP festival. The collection of grand piano pieces will be performed by the winner of numerous international competitions Peter Aidu.

The winner of numerous international competitions Peter Aidu is a truly virtuoso pianist. His mastery and performance range regularly astound his audiences: from Baroque to contemporary, from the delicate performance of the finest compositions to grand scale opuses that require two-hands performance on two grand pianos at the same time.

Peter Aidu has been a part of everything new and vital that’s been happening on the Russian acoustic scene for the last ten years. The graduate of Moscow Conservatory with specialization in piano and organ is an architect, archeologist and artist of sound. He plays a number of instruments, some of them common, such as the harpsichord and grand piano, others — less common, such as the hammer clavier and lute. He performs on a giant bagpipe in Moscow parks; or arranges a show with marimbas, rung ladders, and rusty gear-wheels; or puts together a construct of sliced metal sheets that explores the correlation of sound and form.

Peter Aidu has organized a hospice for elder pianos and spends part of his time reconstructing vintage rarities. Using the 18th century textbook, he reconstructed some French dance music. His other creations include an experimental orchestra without a conductor, and Popov sound machines — clunky, but touching monsters that “speak” in place of thunderstorm, trains and fighter aircraft. His latest work is called the Sound Landscapes performance: it’s a presentation of four audio canvases made with a help of old-time theatrical machinery, and as a result the audience experiences a transcendental listening experience of alternate injections of sounds such as a carpet bombing, or a tropical rain, or the Atlantic surf.

As part of May performances of the SOUND UP festival, Peter Aidu will perform the pieces of Russian composer Igor Vdovin from his academic album 24, a Moscow premiere of this work.

  • 21:00
    Igor Vdovin performed by Peter Aidu
  • 22:00
    Martin Kohlstedt
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