Author: Allanna LESKENLI
It becomes a good tradition to visit cultural events held at the Centre for Azerbaijani-German Friendship in Kapellhaus (Hall of Chamber Organ Music) with the support of the German Culture Centre in Baku. These events are quite diverse and help residents of Baku interested in different types and genres of art to receive information about modern art development in Germany.
This time, it was the female quintet Själ with the art of vocal performance. Själ in Swedish means spirit or soul. Group’s name fully corresponds to unusually harmonious and spiritualized sound that the vocalists from Leipzig brilliantly demonstrated.
In 2005, they gave their first concert making it possible to predict the brilliant future of the quintet. Since then, ensemble has visited concerts in different countries of the world, has been a frequent participant of international music festivals each time taking prestigious prizes. The creative life of the collective is also connected with peacekeeping activity with various seminars and concerts held in Israel, Palestine, Jordan. Since 2016, the vocalists became ambassadors of an international charity organization to support orphan (SOS).
It was their first visit to Azerbaijan, where they presented a whole concert program consisting of 14 performances including pieces of European poets and composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. They noted with pleasure that the audience in Baku was perfectly prepared for the perception of classical and jazz repertoire. Performing without musical accompaniment, the girls periodically entered into an open dialogue with the audience, resorting to "cribs", from which they would diligently read the words of greeting in the Azerbaijani language. To the delight of the audience, the pronunciation of the text was almost impeccable: intonation and stresses fully corresponded to the rules of orthoepy.
The concert began unexpectedly. It was unusual indeed: without usual stereotypes when the host comes out, presents the band, and then announces the concert program. The girls did not come out from behind the scenes, as artists always come on stage. They went through the door and after finding a point that provides for perfect sound resonance, stopped between the aisles, performed the first act of Veni Creator Spiritus (lyrics by Martin Luther, 1524, music by Kempten). Then, while the audience applauded, they climbed onto the stage, and, with the help of a tuning fork, determined the height of the voice sound, performed the next piece. After completing it, they used the "cheat sheet", appealed to the audience in the Azerbaijani language and gave a brief information about their band, and also shared unforgettable impressions about Baku and its people. In the finale of the concert, they told in English about their impressions from the audience. According to the band members, our audience was “very professional, understanding and emotional.” They underlined that singing for such an audience was a joy. Because the eyes and emotions of listeners, their applauses gave the joy of joint creativity.
Outside academic forms
During the entire concert, which lasted just over an hour, vocalists descended to the hall, then returned to the stage, taking a position at the point of the best acoustic harmonization. On the stage, they were standing in line, facing the hall, then lined up in a form of a semicircle. In this elegant movement, which was invariably accompanied by the tuning fork, there was something very appealing, devoid of academic framework, and at the same time rigorously calibrated, worked up to a second, to a sigh! There was a sense of involvement in the Art, which was created here and now - in the hall of Kirche and with the participation of a large number of enthusiastic spectators. The audience, knowing the price of genuine Art, appraised each performed piece with deafening applause. A hundred years ago they would shout to the artists "forehead!", encouraging them to perform later. Today it is customary to express delight, recognition of professionalism, high-quality artistry with another exclamation. One could hear "bravo!" throughout the entire concert.
When the concert was over, the audience did not want to leave the hall for a long time, as the artists did not hurry to hide behind the stage - with unconcealed delight and joy, the desire to prolong the communication, which was connected not only with rituals of our days such as selfies and a collective photo for memory, but also with a sincere desire to communicate with each other. It turned out that even without knowing the language, you can communicate with pleasure, communicate for a long time and, oddly enough, understand each other even without an interpreter.
A piece of dialogue between two women accidentally heard by me ("next time, we should bring some postcards or magnets with views of Baku") says about the desire of the audience to bring joy to the performers in return for sensations received during the concert. Then I remembered that once a Russian journalist taking part at a children's play was pleasantly amazed at how little children at the end of the play happily rushed to the stage to give flowers to the character they liked! Because children know how to distinguish between heroes and actors. Therefore, they usually take flowers to positive characters. But here all the performers were "positive" heroes. Including those two ladies from Baku.