08/06/2022 Juliana Széchenyi

An inspiring concert for climate change and in support of Ukraine

The cold and rainy weather last night influenced many people not to go to the concert after the rain, so that especially the young audience did not completely fill the Summer Theatre at Križanke for the charity Concert for Climate and Social Justice. The title of the concert was ALARM / H2SO4. The latter label suggests a musical group under that name, and something else; a collection of Slovenian rebel poetry, but we could not find out, as there was no concert list. The Ljubljana Festival has to justify and, above all, present the content of all its events, even if they are co-produced. People do not know a lot of things by heart.

The concert was performed by the Symphony Orchestra Music for the future with conductor Živo Ploj Peršuh and violin soloist Maja Horvat, and in the second part the main rapper Masayah, but with many guests who slowly came on stage and joined the musical flow without a pause, as well as commentaries, this time of a more literary nature, without the singing and rap dancing of Dr Igor Saksida.

Alarm - Concept for a concert for climate and social justice H2SO4 was created under the musical and artistic direction of Live Ploj Peršuh and directed by Matej Filipčič. The concert began with a performance of Antonio Vivaldi's composition for string orchestra and percussion (Negotovi) Four Seasons - Ljubljana 2050 and artificial intelligence algorithms. The basis is Vivaldi's music, also with violin solo, but we heard many changes, so that what remained of Vivaldi were meaningful thematic or motivic quotations and structure, complemented by a video projection of the "seasons" with presumably typical photographs above the stage.

The Seasons setting was very interesting and the solo and ensemble performances were flawless, with the necessary gusto and skill, which is not so obvious with the "seductiveness" of Vivaldi's well-known melodicism. While listening to it, I got the impression that this time's reworking of Vivaldi was essentially about its Ukrainisation, about changing or altering the tonality, rhythm, even the jazzy, martial mood, with some more militant insertions or symptoms.

The violinist Maja Horvat was excellent and once again highlighted her talent, the conductor Živa Ploj Peršuh had not only organisational tasks, but also musical and interpretative ones. All her managerial positions are her own, so there is no fear of any concessions in the future.

In the online presentation of the concert, it was said that Antonio Vivaldi's (Uncertain) Four Seasons - Ljubljana 2050 and the algorithms of artificial intelligence are a direct sound picture of a heavily disturbed environment and the uncertain future of nature. One could argue for a duality of meaning in the images, but we did not see the actual catastrophic images from nature, and so the horror that looms before us was absent.

"Open your eyes and speak up," the messengers of the younger generation told us, with Masayah, one of the most recognised artists on the Slovenian hip-hop scene, and rappers Emkej, Drill, Slick, Vazz, N3, Matter Dacho, Tunja, Woman, La Bagra, Smirbe, Chiro, Ghet. Finally, Zlatko came on stage, but he was not announced, as well as some other announced Ezra, Hyu, Leyre, so it is not quite clear who was there and who was missing. Things are not as obvious and understandable to everyone as the organisers thought. It is also not clear whether or not the composer Matija Krečič wrote the arrangements of the otherwise five songs for the accompaniment of the symphony orchestra.

In their own style, they activated, thematised and interpreted the poems of our literary giants Prešeren, Župančič, Zajc, Šalamun and others, collected in a book of Slovenian rebel poetry and an album. H2SO4. Of course, a lot has been added, one would think.

They shared the stage with musicians from the International Symphony Orchestra Music for the future. This time with the largest ensemble (Vivaldi was only for strings and percussion).

"Their united voice is the spirit of the times, the voice of the future, the hope and the heart offered," I observe in the presentation of their performance. The concert was certainly spontaneously convincing, both in its content of singing, full of quirks, topicalities from the lives of young people, the equivalent of the reality of thinking and behaving, so that the young audience went crazy with enthusiasm when the individual rappers came on stage. They were great.

The whole rapper's performance was performed without pauses, perhaps only Dr Igor Saksida's recitative commentary should be understood in this sense as an "interruption".

At the end, everyone had their photos taken, especially the Ukrainian musicians, so that they can send their photos home wherever possible. But they are certainly not alone in Slovenia, and the conductor probably deserves the most credit for that. Živa Ploj Peršuh.

Medium: Kritik.si
Date: Wed 8 Jun 2022
Link: An inspiring concert for climate change and in support of Ukraine