Chronicles of the online concert with Antonii Baryshevskyi

Chronicle one

Technology against art

̶B̶r̶i̶t̶i̶s̶h̶ ̶s̶c̶i̶e̶n̶t̶i̶s̶t̶s̶ Standup comedians claim that the best monologue is possible when the author is angry because something annoys the hell out of him. The day before yesterday in the comments on the National Philharmonic of Ukraine Facebook page at least 219 people had a reason to write enough material for a standup tour of the rooms of their own homes. Because on 15 May at 8.00 p.m. (according to the plan) there was an online concert of one of the best Ukrainian pianists Antonii Baryshevskyi. Unfortunately, those 219 connoisseurs of high-quality music who had bought a ticket on were in the comments on the Philharmonic Facebook page, but didn`t enjoy the Column hall interior and more importantly a concert. 

An online concert during qu@®∆#%ne – is …? Firstly, it is an opportunity to come with food or drinks (constant companion to the “circuses”, isn’t it?), to be late, to discuss the performing, to let yourself get distracted by phone calls (probably, to implement the last points some listeners weren’t stopped by offline concerts too). Secondly, it is the opportunity to escape reality that thanks to qu@®∆#%ne merges work and life, personal and social life in limited space and with accelerated time (I hope now lots of people will think before getting a hamster and buying him a wheel). That’s why a concert is a ritual with all its attributes: special clothes, special time, special place.

19:52 – “Ready”

20:03 – “Why did I update? Probably, the service is overloaded now” 

20:15 – “I’ll go to Facebook. Most likely the Philharmonic explained what had happened and how to join the broadcast”

But there was nothing from the organizers. Although the comments were full of confusion, jokes and even indignation from subscribers.

Lisa Sirenko: What was your reaction to the mistakes with the broadcast?

Anthonii Baryshevskyi: It was stressful. I realized this after I had played. I immediately went to Facebook and saw angry comments there. Unpleasant, but it was solved somehow.

L. S.: In fact, these curses weren`t addressed to you, but to those who organized it. 

The next day after the concert, the press secretary of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine Ilona Tamilina gladly provided written comments on technical problems:

“The National Philharmonic of Ukraine provided the performance of the program by a soloist and the broadcast the concert on a platform. A partner was responsible for the sale of paid access and a playback the concert on the platform. Now we are waiting for their conclusion on the technical problems of broadcasting the Antonii Baryshevskyi online solo recital. Giving that it was the partners integrated the access sale with the broadcast platform. Therefore, we can provide comprehensive information on the reasons for the failure only after receiving this conclusion.

Yesterday we had to react immediately to the situation in order for all the fans of the exquisite classic and performing of the unsurpassed young pianist could hear Antonii’s performance. Therefore, the Philharmonic posted a recording of this online concert on the official Facebook page and its YouTube channel immediately after the live concert.

Unfortunately, during the concert, the administrators of the Philharmonic Facebook page did not respond to comments, and later – hardly contained themselves from public boorishness.

The server error is quite predictable due to the obvious difficulties in online broadcasting, the simultaneous flow of visitors, so the server should be checked more carefully. In addition, in 2020, the world’s leading philharmonics and theatres have been practicing the system of online broadcast and test problems occurred when it was a novelty, today it’s a wheel, albeit with complex construction. However, later on the Facebook page did appear explanations and online broadcast of the concert recording.

Chronicle two

Art against qu@®∆#%ne

A loud banging of Anthonii’s shoes on the stage floor and an echo in the almost empty post-apocalyptic hall.

L. S.: As I could understand, only your girlfriend was sitting in the concert hall? 

A. B.: Yes, we had thought there would be a shading – but we were surprised that she had been visible. She said it had been weird, like a concert for her.

L. S.: What are your impressions of this concert format? 

A. B.: The excitement remains, but I will be honest – much less. Thus, the feeling of a concert is still almost gone. Your playing seems to be as for yourself. It’s also music making, you do your best, you do the same things you have planned, practicing. It’s all there. But the concert situation gives some sort of energy, which is impossible to measure scientifically, apparently. Some may say that this does not exist at all, but I feel something like that exists, some kind of interexchange. 

You can imagine that you are watched in the broadcast, but you don’t see anyone in fact: you don’t see their faces, eyes. But there is a plus from this isolation because you don’t hear many things that are usually heard in the concert hall – someone’s conversations, sadistically slow opening of candies, phone calls and so on. Although in fact, certain noises even help to understand the audience, the general mood. If they start yawning loudly, you realize that something is wrong.           

However, there was no time to yawning even in front of your own screens, because after the announcement of the concert there had been an intrigue in its form. Whether enjoying a spirit of the time and style of Wagner-Liszt, Haydn, Chopin and Ligeti with the ability to refresh impression by Prokofiev “Vision fugitives” coffee beans. Or the cycle of “Visions fugitives” with an extension of the effect of some plays by long-running works, which, however, formed a slightly pessimistic picture. “Death of Isolde”, “Blocked keys”, measured mourning Nocturne.

A. B.: No, not pessimistic. Even “Death of Isolde” is very uplifting. Nocturne, in my opinion, is not tragic, but rather nostalgic, with some degree of melancholy, of course. It’s a memory of drama, of what happened a long time ago. And it ends in major, which also hints at the fact that the memory is scattered. I wouldn’t say it’s a super-tragic program, but I agree that it’s quite melancholy and meditative. Although there are many moving moments. But in general, there’s a sense of contemplation.

L. S.: Only Haydn with a major sonata stood out. Although it’s drama in the first part, and rhythmic regard to Beethoven, and minor fragments. Why this sonata?

A. B.: I won’t make up anything. I just love this sonata and have been wanting to learn it. I didn’t plan it to be a sentimental evening.

However, the semantic of the concert program was focused on “Vision fugitives”. Namely, a Prokofiev`s sarcasm, irony and outbursts of emotion from Feroce (fierce) and Inquieto (restless), Giocoso (playfully) and Ridicolosamente (ridiculously) to Poetico (poetically) and Pittoresco (picturesque) took the seriousness and thoughtfulness of Prokofiev predecessors off.             

A. B.: I was also interested in how it would work. I didn’t want it to be hard trolling. Because I had thoughts to play the fourteenth vision fugitives Feroce after Wagner. But it would be tough because I wanted smoother transitions.

Since today musicians are almost unable to express themselves in their usual live audio format, numerous recitals become concentrated messages. On the Kyiv Contemporary Music Days Facebook page, you could see a piece of Anthonii’s playing and his comment: “We are all blocked by qu@®∆#%ne [encrypted by an article author] <…> that’s why Ligeti “Blocked keys” <…> way forward by standing still”. Therefore, the qu@®∆#%ne concert program included nostalgia for the past in Nocturne; “Die so as to live only for love forever endlessly united” (© Isolde); “moving in circles” by vision fugitives and returning to the first vision fugitive sounded at the beginning of the concert – to the moment where we have “saved”. It is like the concert never happened, and it was a dream, the end of which returned to reality. But this “escape” from it into art was necessary.

My depravity of humanistic views led to a happy end, as well as the situation with the concert broadcast turned out okay. After all, now anyone can watch the concert. So we look forward that the confidence of the National Philharmonic in the success of the next online concerts is not in vain. And the audience will be able to join the Philharmonic space and spend time with Ukrainian musicians, at least mentally.

* Interaction with Antonii Baryshevskyi was at a safe distance of 500 km

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