Spring is the time of nature's rebirth, the time when all desires are reborn, as the famous painting by Botticelli that we reproduce here teaches us : we dance, we touch each other in a nature in bloom, against a backdrop of fragrant orange trees. A scene that breathes a kind of serenity and hope.
But in this year 2020 "Adorable Spring has lost its perfume now", as Baudelaire says ((Charles Baudelaire, The flowers of Evil, Spleen and ideal, Poem LXXX, The Taste for Nothingness)). We are all confined in a Europe which, in this case, shows, facing a unique shared misfortune, its faults and cowardice – we were beginning to get used to it and we have the confirmation of it – in its inability to respond together to the most important challenge it has been facing for decades. As we know, the virus has no nationality or borders, it is anything but foreign, and it is also an element of the nature that surrounds us. Some people shout "let's close borders" justifying coronavirus as they used to bark at it, "in ordinary times", as if a border protected us from anything. Between China and us, borders exist with as many visas and distances, and yet the coronavirus has crossed them. Nonsense ! A foolish political display for mediocrity. Walls and fences are nonsense.
History has shown this to be the case. But as we know, the lessons of history are rarely followed. Confining oneself to one's home and isolating oneself as much as possible has nothing to do with gestures that here are more political than sanitary.
Music, on the other hand, like art, has no and has never had any borders. Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with the Ermine is confined in Krakow, just as Botticelli's Spring is confined in the Uffizi or the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, which are currently banned from our view, works of art that belong to everyone and have never had a "nationality".
As for the confined music lover, he, at least, has the chance to be able to listen to his music even today at home or in streaming.
For the music lover, spring is the season of the Easter Festivals, all cancelled, the moment of season announcements, which make one dream all the more that the hope that they will take place remains obeyed by the evolution of the epidemic, and one can wonder about the Summer Festivals, because of the preparation, the rehearsals, the confinements, the internationality of the participants, depending on the conditions to which technicians or artists are subjected.
Yes, "Adorable Spring has lost its perfume now".
However, most music institutions have made their stock of streaming recordings available to confined music lovers, and a dream programme of opera, ballet and concerts can be put together. The initiative came from the Berliner Philharmoniker, who first opened the Digital Concert Hall, a genuine treasure chest of the greatest of orchestras, soon to be followed by all the great opera houses or major orchestras, when they have easily accessible online video archives.
And then there is the marvellous initiative of one of the greatest pianists of our time, Igor Levit, who to his exceptional qualities as an artist adds a love of the human, a sense of the role of the artist in the city, a hope in the man pegged to the body that can only arouse admiration in a very grey and poorly human world. He proposes, live from his home, a piano concert every day between 6 and 7 pm, in conditions that demonstrate the pre-eminence and essentiality of the gift, on an individual level certainly, but also on a social level before any other technical consideration. Gift is indeed a social and anthropological phenomenon as defined by anthropologists after the Essay on the Gift by Marcel Mauss ((Marcel Mauss, The Gift : The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies (Routledge Classics) available online)), giving as anti-utilitarian. So, right away, subscribe to Igor Levit's twitter account @igorpianist.
Of course, sites like Wanderersite.com could be out of food, but that's not the case for the moment, because many articles about concerts or operas seen since last January are in the boxes, unfinished or still outlined, and new articles will therefore not be missing in the coming weeks on the Wanderer spaces, both on Wanderersite and on the Wanderer Blog (in French with possibility of autom. translation); the period is also a good time to reflect on the future and on the novelties we could offer our loyal readers, but also on new articles, reflection or analysis.
It is more generally conducive to reading, because if the theatres are closed, the books are on the shelves, ready to be read or reread. This damned virus nevertheless leaves us with a rare commodity, very precious in these dark moments : the time. If we are not “Wanderers” in physical space, let us be “Wanderers” in mental space and let us make sure that Spring finds its perfume again.
This post was written by Guy Cherqui