VI Tartu Early Music Festival 14-19 May 2001During the Middle Ages, Europe was uncontestably most influenced by Arabian culture; still, to the excitement and satisfaction of scholars, also more distant connections can be drawn and explored. Yet, although the historical connections and facts supporting our knowledge and views of the past are undoubtedly important, they should not become an aim in itself. There are many things which can never be conclusively proved: it is more important to comprehend the historical as well as the contemporary world in a wider perspective. Different cultures are a source of wisdom: we can draw much practical knowledge from them, be it in terms of the technique relating to an instrument or the methods of teaching music in general.
Beside the medieval music of Europe, the focus of this year's Festival is also on Indian classical music and on the bamboo flute in both of these cultures. In our days, the technique of playing this nuanced and resonant instrument has been best preserved in Indian culture. The use of bamboo flute in early European music is, however, also extensively documented in the visual arts. Its technique, influenced by the flute's construction, differs significantly from that of the later (XVI century onwards) European transverse flutes and opens up an auditory field of entirely new kind for interpreting medieval music.
The star performer of the VI Tartu Early Music Festival is the blind virtuoso flutist V. Hemapala Perera (Sri Lanka), who thanks to his personal style and rare skill remains one of the most noteworthy players of bamboo flute today. Of Indian musicians, the programme features also Dr Mustafa Raza (India), a master player of the rare string instrument vichitra vina, as well as the tabla player Vasi Ahmed Khan accompanying both masters. An intriguing concert will be offered by the Lithuanian group Svara, interpreting Lithuanian folk music in accordance with the principles of Indian music. For the first time, the audiences in Estonia have the opportunity to see the different styles of Sri Lankan classical dance, presented by Prof Mudiyanse Dissanayake (Sri Lanka) together with his students Chinthaka Bandara and Issuru V. Perera. A window to the world of European early music will be opened by the groups Kvinterna (Czech Republic), performing medieval music from Spain and Bohemia, Dobranotch (Russia), playing music from the skomorokh tradition, and Alba (Denmark). Traditional Japanese and Chinese music is represented by the group FĂ»dĂ´. As always, the festival programme makes provision for joint sessions bringing together representatives of different cultures; there are also lectures and music classes.
The Festival starts with the opening of the "Little Academy of Houdon" exhibition at 2 Lutsu St by the artists of Tartu. The sculptor, graphic artist, and curator of the exhibition TĂµnis Paberit will give an introduction to the evolution and meaning of the European sculptural tradition. By way of an interesting coincidence it may be remarked that the well-known French sculptor J.-A. Houdon, whose work has inspired the exhibition, lived at the same time that one of Tartu's oldest remaining wooden houses was built. The house, situated at 2 Lutsu St, home to the festival club and venue to the concerts, dates back to mid-XVIII century. It is for the first time in decades, if not centuries, that it will again fill with the sound of live music.
Welcome to the Festival!