Sunday 26 February 2023, 19:30
The Hague: Paleiskerk
Around Maxim Shalygin
Preludes, Letters & Canti: Three solos
Maya Fridman cello
Emmy Storms violin
Antonii Baryshevskyi piano
Canti d’inizio e fine for cello solo (2018)
Letters to Anna, symphony for violin solo (2009/10)
Preludes for piano solo (2008)
Concert with two intervals
Beyond their limits
For more than a decade, Maxim Shalygin has been working on a project that he hopes will become his life's work: a series of cycles for solo instruments. He is convinced that only a single instrument can express the most hidden and intimate aspects of our existence in music. In his eyes, a musician who plays more for himself than for the audience is comparable to someone who prays. In his solo works, Shalygin aims to achieve a state of ecstasy.
Shalygin writes his solos for musicians with whom he has developed a friendly relationship. This is necessary as he often pushes them beyond their limits. Letters to Anna is a Symphony for solo violin, which the violinist Emmy Storms worked on for months. Dark and powerful is Canti d’inizio e fine, written for cellist Maya Fridman, in which each movement symbolises one of the angels of death from Jewish mythology. Shalygin composed his hushed Preludes while still a student in St Petersburg. They will be performed by the eminent Ukrainian pianist Antonii Baryshevskyi. He is our Artist in Residence this season and has worked with Shalygin for many years.
Maxim Shalygin has caused a furore at festivals at home and abroad with his challenging solo works. These pieces have never been performed in his home town of The Hague. Classical NOW! will change that. The musicians for whom the pieces were written will be on stage.
“Maxim Shalygin’s Canti d’inizio e fine is a perfect match for her: she not only plays, but also sings ... the music is penetrating because of the intensity, beauty and purity of Fridman’s playing. In the final movement, everything comes together as she fuses vocal chords, bow and strings in a breathtaking fusion. ”
Frits van der Waa in de Volkskrant *****
“The quasi-orchestral richness conjured from the mere four strings of a single instrument, as well as the odyssey through the most diverse regions of the human soul, more than justify the claims of the work’s subtitle: Symphony for violin solo ... The most striking merit of Letters to Anna is that it is imbued with a spirit that is lacking in much contemporary Western music: a penchant for the transcendent that can only be convincing when expressed by a master who is sovereign in his medium. In this, Shalygin is an heir to composers like Ustvolskaya (or filmmakers like Tarkovsky) who, in a broader sense, are akin to Bach, the spirit of whose chaconne resounds in Shalygin’s ‘symphony’.”
Review by Stefan Beyst
“An authentic musician with a strong stage character, someone who walks her own path and profiles herself with ease in various musical genres.”
The jury that awarded Emmy Storms the GrachtenfestivalPrijs in 2009
“The 9 Preludes for piano are perhaps the first large-scale work in which I managed to find the subtle connections inside musical matter that invite the listener to move inward. Everything in the Preludes is aimed at gradual immersion, avoiding the use of external effects. I consciously relied on well-known historical genres to allow the listener to enter the gate of introspection with ease. From there on, the labyrinths of various and new feelings can be discovered and we begin to experience a different sense of time. While writing the work I often composed at the piano or played the preludes for my friends. Always in the company of candlelight. This intimate and dark atmosphere allowed me to become one with myself without the distraction of external factors. This is what I wish for the listeners as well; sometimes the music is so quiet that we begin to hear our own breathing.”