The participants and audience share their thoughts with us about the FS&MM 2018.
The current FS&MM was opened by the Tenor Raffaele Antonaglia and his partner Guglielmo Lana. The two Italian musicians have a specific work in their pocket: a fellow composer from the Triest Conservatory, Davide Coppola, took their participation in the FS&MM as an opportunity to write ‚Vermächtnis‘ (Legacy), which he dedicated to Antonagalia and Lana at the end.
Since the first round lasts three days, it is only fair that the results are given after all the duos have finished their performance. The two musicians have plenty of time to „rehearse, listen and also try good food from Graz„, they tell us with a laugh, „and naturally drink a lot of coffee. For us Italians that’s very important.“ (Subsequently a just as detailed introduction to Italian coffee-culture as their introduction to their programme).
Incidentally, Antonaglia and Lana browse through the roughly 130 page competition brochure, in which photos of each ensemble and the exact competition programme can be found, „very practical and insightful„. You can get to know the other Duos and be inspired by the programmes of the other applicants.
Creation and Exhaustion
The category „Duo for Voice and Piano (Lied)“ consists all in all of 4 rounds. Finding a context and an internal motto, is a challenge for the Lied duos. Whenever you find yourself in conversation with Lied duos, you can tell that the participants have thought a lot about their selection of compositions. They read research and try to reconstruct the thoughts and desires of the composers and poets.
The duo Milkhail Timoshenko and Elitsa Desseva name the process of putting the programme together as „creation but also exhaustion“. The Russian singer and the Bulgarian pianist studied music in Wiemar. Now, Timoschenko lives in Paris and Desseva still in Weimar. „We practise literally between Paris and Weimar„, during the long train journeys the notes and lyrics are closely studied. Scheduling becomes an art, „sometimes we can sit on the train for 16 hours for a two hour practise„.
Both musicians are no strangers to competitions nevertheless they claim that they have „never thought so much about any other competition„. Since there are no recordings for majority of the works, they have rifled through all in all more than 700 doubled sided pages of notes and have tried out most of them. „Although I am a man, it felt like giving birth„, explains Timoschenko, „with lots of blood, pain, blood, guts!“ Desseva elaborates. „However we now appreciate and love the program that we have prepared for this competition all the more„.
Surprisingly Timoschenko becomes more serious, „To be completely honest, the competition programme has become a part of my life, our lives. If you are constantly thinking about it then it becomes a part of you.“
Regardless of whether Timoschenko and Desseva are eliminated (they are one of the last duos to perform today), they feel as if they have grown. They’ve taken the competition programme into their fixed repertoire; they’ve also already performed it as a full-length concert. Their audience were enthused by the programme changing between classical and modern. „Sometimes modern music takes you to a completely different world„, says Desseva thoughtfully and refers to the concert with their FS&MM programme, „I have never experienced such an atmosphere. In modern music there are often very special moments of silence. This silence is really physically stirring.“