Anne-Marie Segers

Dora Schwarzberg & Eliane Rodrigues

Música Romântica 2010 - Review

Music as a reminder and as a monument

This summer Saas-Fee saw the world premier of two arrangements by Jorge A. Bosso, who adapted Claude Debussy’s Violin Sonata for the symphonic orchestra, as well as Maurice Ravel’s Violin Posthume Sonata. Dora Schwarzberg embraced the violin solo with immense skill.
Jorge A Bosso was born in Buenos Aires but moved to Italy twenty years ago. He studied as a cellist with Jakob Ludwig, Paul Szabo (Sandor Vègh Quartet). “Apart from that I don’t do much in Italy, it is a difficult country, complex and contradictory. And the culture itself is suffering, although this nation has given to the world so much through the history”, he confesses to me on a festival terrace in Saas-Fee. “Or in Argentina, for that matter. I don’t go there very often. Though I frequently travel to Russia and other countries too”.
He met Eliane Rodrigues and Ernest Smeets two years ago at a festival in Norway, in the company of Dora Schwarzberg. World class musicians are not restricted by a continent or two... “And now we are sitting here together”, smiles Jorge A Bosso. “I am particularly happy with this invitation, because this is a special festival in a special location. And I am extremely impressed with Eliane Rodrigues”.
As regards the transcriptions, Jorge A. Bosso has been working on the icons of the repertoire, as he calls them, for a long time: Johann Sebastian Bach (Der Frühling der Minnesänger-Bach/Bosso- for solo violin and mixed choir based on the second partita), Strauss Violin Sonata, Debussy cello sonata etc. The first question that could come out to the listener that is used to have a relation with these works is Why? "Which is the purpose of taking music that was already written, performed and even more: it acquired a position of privilege, the right of becoming icons throughout the History of Music and therefore in the repertoire of every solo violinist or cellist?"

"In Hebrew heritage is nahalà that comes from nahàl that means river. I find this etymology particularly beautiful and that gives a clear idea of a flow, of an evolution, of a slow but continuous transformation through the time. Parents and sons are in the same flow. Of course, we have to intend not only the material heritage, but the result of a belonging to a tradition, as the river, nahàl, that descends. As the symbol of the water, the symbol of the river was since ancient times metaphor and representation of life.

The world of the sounds is almost overloaded of a fusion of styles, a blend of tendencies. Some of them happier than others, but without any doubt at the moment in which happens that that association of experiences creates a whole with the need of its reception, at that precise instant the miracle becomes visible.

The prodigy of beauty of which the man becomes unwillingly its witness.”

With his arrangements of these musical titans he wants to construct a monuments. The term monument comes from the Latin 'monere', which means the same as recall, remember, honour and celebrate. Monuments raised to build a collective memory composed by  bricks that connect and relate us to a common History. A monument locks up a commitment.
A monument is in itself a contractual obligation. Finally, a monument implies a responsibility undertaken with the past  of a society and at the same time a duty towards the future.

“Just look at Johann Josef Imseng” (6 June 1806 Saas-Fee – 5 July 1869 Saas Almagell)! He was a priest and alpinist here. There is a statue of him in the village square in front of the church. “The big idea that this person had of creating!”, exclaims Bosso. He was a pioneer in emerging tourism, and encouraged it one hundred percent. He offered shelter in his vicarage to the first tourists, organised mountain hikes and was involved in building hotels. In 1849 Imseng apparently put wooden boards on and ‘flew’ to Saas Grund in this manner: his first skiing excursion of the whole area…

In our quest to discover the best possible way to pass on the Great Classical Works in their truest form, arrangements are an excellent ‘mode of transport’. And to give that mode of transport adequate form, we have to take our inspiration from diverse sources of inspiration: the visionary spirit of Johann Josef Imseng, as well as of the literature of the twentieth century in general, the ancient Greeks, or the minstrels…

"The sound was created before the word, before the possibility of communicating through the word among the human beings. The birds appeared before Adam and Eva. And God said: …that the birds can fly over the earth and throughout the skies.” (Genesis, I, 20)"

“The arrogance of the man in his aim of climbing  towards the divinity was punished through the spoken language. The Babel tower was condemned by God  because the human kind tried to rebuild, against his will, that axis between heaven and earth, broken by the original sin. God not to let accomplish their purpose gave birth to the different languages. And on the other hand, He did not take away, from the man the possibility of communicating through the music. Because the intrinsic nature of the music, its essence in itself does not belong to us. The representation of any entity to which we could arrive through the musical language belongs to a superior state of existence. Parallel, metaphysical.”

Jorge A. Bosso is quiet for a moment and takes a sip of his drink. Saas-Fee is at its most beautiful at this time of day, midday: the sun caresses the mountainsides with such tenderness that it almost hurts the eyes to watch, and a few tables away Eliane Rodrigues and Dora Schwarzberg are locked in conversation, two birds of paradise. It is only after he’s told his story that I notice exactly how much Jorge A Bosso’s external appearance resembles that of the minstrels of yore. And how those extraordinary eyes promise a great deal more beautiful music…

Anne-Marie Segers