10 May 2015
The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev gave performances during the XIV Moscow Easter Festival in 27 cities across Russia and in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan
The XIV Moscow Easter Festival came to a close May 9th with a concert in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra for which Valery Gergiev conducted Tchaikovsky’s First and Sixth Symphonies.
The Fourteenth Moscow Easter Festival was held from April 12th through May 9th 2015 with the support of the Moscow City Government, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, and with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Extremely generous in both its geographic coverage and the number of excellent musical events, the Festival commemorated two crucial dates in the history of the world and musical culture: the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II and the 175th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
In just 29 days the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev travelled 17,000 kilometres on a train specially commissioned for the Moscow Easter Festival and appeared in 27 cities across Russia, from Smolensk and Volgograd to Kemerovo and Barnaul, as well as in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. For its part in the Festival the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev conducting gave a total of 49 concerts.
The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev followed an itinerary that went from Smolensk to Vladimir, Moscow, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhniy Novgorod, Votkinsk, Izhevsk, Perm, Ekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Astana, Magnitogorsk, Orenburg, Penza, Samara, Kazan, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Volgograd, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, Moscow, Klin, and finally back to Moscow.
To mark the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s birth the Festival’s programme offered performances by the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev in Votkinsk where Tchaikovsky was born and in Klin where he spent the final years of his life, as well as in cities that are intimately connected with the course of his life—Moscow, and Saint Petersburg.
Both in Saint Petersburg on May 1st and in Moscow on May 7th, which is Tchaikovsky’s birthday, Denis Matsuev and the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev performed all three of Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos.
The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev at the podium gave concerts to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory in the Hero Cities, Moscow, Smolensk and Volgograd; and in cities that distinguished themselves for their military role, Belgorod, Voronezh, and Kursk, as well as in Samara and Moscow the concerts featured Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony. In the officers’ cultural centres of Orenburg and Ekaterinburg, in the Tyumen Presidential School for Cadets, and also in Vladimir, Voronezh and Omsk there were concerts for veterans, persons in the armed forces and their families, and for the cadets and officers in training.
In anticipation of the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the Fourteenth Easter Festival presented Competition winners from previous years: pianists Barry Douglas, Denis Matsuev, and Boris Berezovsky; opera stars Albina Shagimuratova and Mikhail Kazakov; and cellist Alexander Buzlov. Among the Festival’s participants were also musicians who had applied to become contestants in the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition: pianists Behzod Abduraimov and Daniil Kharitonov; violinist Pavel Milyukov; and cellists Ivan Sendetsky and Dmitry Ganenko.
The Festival also featured pianists Alexei Volodin and Haochen Zhang.
Even though the regional tour had been filled to overflowing, there was also a full complement of concerts in Moscow as part of the symphony programme: the Festival opening (April 12th) and the closing (May 9th) along with the concert performance (May 2nd) of Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson and Delilah with Mariinsky Theatre soloist Olga Borodina all took place in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. There were charitable concerts for students and teachers of Moscow State University (April 13th); a charitable concert by the Symphony Orchestra of the Ministry of Defence and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra for those serving in the armed forces and their families in the Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army (May 8th); a concert performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera “The Lefthander” (April 13th); all of Tchaikovsky’s piano concertos (May 7th matinee); an appearance of the Sino-Russian Youth Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev (May 8th); and a concert with young soloists, Pavel Milyukov on violin and Alexander Buzlov on cello (April 30th) in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. The Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra with Valery Gergiev at the podium made its first appearance at the new Philharmonia-2 Hall (April 30th matinee). And of course there was the traditional concert open to the public for veterans of World War II at Poklonnaya Gora (May 9th).
For many years Valery Gergiev has been devoted to the advancement of choral singing in Russia. To this end the Russian Choral Society was revived at his suggestion in the beginning of 2013, and he was unanimously elected its President. And for the third straight year the programme of the Moscow Easter Festival has fostered new regional choral groups, especially children’s choirs, and also popularized choral singing in general.
This year the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev appeared in Penza, Magnitogorsk, Barnaul, Ekaterinburg, and Vladimir alongside local choirs. The culmination of the “choral line” of the Fourteenth Festival was the colossal concert in Ulyanovsk (May 3rd) featuring the Thousand-voice Children’s Choir of Ulyanovsk Oblast.
This year the unprecedented geographic sweep of the Festival’s choral programme ranged from Hero City Novorossiisk on the Black Sea to Anadyr, the capital of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, located at the very edge of Russia’s Northeast. There were also concerts in Hero Cities Moscow and Tula, and in other cities that contributed to victory in World War II such as Tver, Arkhangelsk, Dmitrov, Mozhaisk, and Kozelsk, as well as in Tobolsk, Salekhard, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Zaraisk, Kirillov, Mytishchi, Korolyov, Kaluga, Alexandrov, Murom, Istra, Vologda, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl, Kolomna, Noginsk, Khimki, Yegoryevsk, Staritsa, and Serpukhov.
The choirs in the Festival included the Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, the Alexandrov Russian Army Ensemble, the Choir of the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic, the Sveshnikov State Academic Choir, the Patriarch Choir of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the Moscow Synodal Choir, the Russian Northern Folk Choir, the Blagovest Ensemble, the Orenburg Russian Folk Choir, the Yaroslavia Capella Philharmonic Choir, the Preodoleniye Choir, the Men’s Choir of the Krutitsy Patriarchal Metochion, the Russian Rhapsody Folk Instrument Ensemble, the Masters of Choral Singing Grand Choir, the Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir, the Massed Choir of Vasily of the Forest Orthodox School of St. Alexi’s Hermitage, the Pomorskye Kruzhaniya Vocal Ensemble, the Popov Choir, and the Festival Male Choir of the Danilov Monastery. Excellent groups from abroad also took part—the Saint Alexander Choir (Athens, Greece), the Yerevan Chamber Choir (Yerevan, Armenia), the Mdzlevari Choir (Tbilisi, Georgia), Divna Ljubojević and Melodi (Belgrade, Serbia), Zero8 (Stockholm, Sweden), and Yulangelo (Sofia, Bulgaria).
Among the children’s choirs that participated in the Fourteenth Festival there were: the Viktoria Children’s Capella Choir, the Krupitsa Childrens’ Folk Ensemble, the Popov Large Children’s Choir, the Partes Concert Choir, the Boys’ and Young Men’s Choir of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, the Sveshnikov Boys’ and Young Men’s Choir, the Moscow State University St. Tatiana the Martyr Choral School Choir, the Veretentse Folk Ensemble, the Vladimir Choir for Boys and Young Men, and also Rosarte (Athens, Greece), the Bratislava Boys’ Choir (Bratislava, Slovakia), and Mdzlevari Choir (children’s choir, Tbilisi, Georgia).
The opening of the choral programme was held in the Hall of Church Assemblies in Christ the Saviour Cathedral (April 14th). The finale of the programme was a gala concert in the Tchaikovsky Hall (May 6th).
The chamber programme stretched across a broad swath from Gadzhiyevo on Kolsky Bay in the Barents Sea to Yakutsk. Concerts, vocal master classes and open rehearsals were also offered in Moscow, Klin, Zelenograd, Lipetsk, Yoshkar-Ola, Kostroma, Abakan, and Murmansk.
Soloists of the Mariinsky Theatre Academy of Young Singers Olga Pudova, Irina Shishkova, Ilya Selivanov and Grigory Chernetsov along with the Academy’s Artistic Director Larisa Gergieva presented special programmes called “Songs Scorched by War” and “Tchaikovsky—Opera Masterpieces and Songs”.
The chamber group Ensemble 2012, a project of the Russian-German Academy of Music, made its first appearance at the Festival in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory (May 4th) and then in Klin (May 5th).
The bells programme this year for the first time extended beyond Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Public concerts of musical bell ringing by today’s best practitioners of the art were heard in Zagornovo and Ilyinsk in the Ramensky region, in Istra, Zvenigorod, Sergiev Posad, Rostov Veliky, as well as on the Solovetsky Islands and in Veliky Novgorod and Rzhev, both cities with distinguished war-time records.
The bells programme rang out from these bell towers and churches: Church of Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles in Starye Sady, the Convent of John the Forerunner, the Resurrection New Jerusalem Stauropegial Monastery, the Epiphany Cathedral, Church of the Assumption of the Holy Mother in Gonchary, the Savvino-Storozhevsk Monastery, Church of the Holy Virgin’s Kazan Icon on Red Square, the Troitsk-Sergiev Monastery, the Novgorod State Museum and Park, the Museum of Folk Wooden Architecture, Church of the Feodorovsky Icon of the Mother of God (Feodorovsky Cathedral), the Church of the Lord’s Presentation, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Church of Flor and Lavr at Zatsepa, the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in Ostankino, the Church of the Holy Virgin Shroud in Krasnoye Selo, the Church of the Ascension at the Serpukhov Gates, the Nicholo-Perervinsk Monastery, the Church of St. Gregory of New Caesaria in Derbitsy, the Church of the Venerable Sergius of Radonezh in Krapivniki, the Cathedral of the Okovets Icon of the Holy Mother, the Spaso-Preobrazehnsky Solovetsky Monastery, the Church of the Martyr John the Warrior on Yakimanka, the Sts. Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy, the Church of the Holy Virgin Shroud on Lyschikov Hill, the Rostov Kremlin State Museum and Park, the Danilov Stauropegial Monastery, the Church of the Holy Resurrection in Sokolniki, the Church of the Holy Trinity in Nikitniky, the Church of Michael the Archangel, the Church of the Presentation of the Holy Mother of God and the Sts. Peter and Paul Church, the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra in Staroye Vagankovo, the Church of St. Mitrophan of Voronezh, the Church of St. Nicholas at Bolvanovka, the Church of the Annunciation at Petrovsky Park, the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Holy Mother, the Church of St. George the Victorious on Voznesenskaya Square, and the Moscow State Museum and Reserve “Kolomenskoye—Izmailovo—Lyublino—Lefortovo”.