Kamerfest 2019 finale evening

A final full of joy can be called the closing evening of the 2019 Kamerfest Festival in Pristina, which was the twentieth anniversary of this festival organized by Suhana Badivuku.

Twenty years ago it started simply, with the passion to light a candle that could comfort the woes of war-torn Kosovo, today a Europe-based Festival that has gathered hundreds of prominent artists, enriching the soul and pride of the public Kosovo.

Last night, among the thousands of little or more important elements, there were two to three striking facts that are worth commenting on and analyzing.

First up was the wonderful execution of Igor Stravinsky’s Ballet Suite “The Flaming Bird” from the Pristina Symphony Orchestra. Despite the fact that this work was not unknown to the orchestra’s collective, the evening featured unique sounds, believable colors of Stravinsky’s artistic landscape, precise timing as well as emotion and technique to praise. Unfortunately I have never heard them like this, especially the brass and spirit sector more beautifully than at this concert. Stravinsky’s “Flaming Bird” ballet suite is from the colorful and very delicate paintings of a very individual style of the beginning of the century. She is known for her thematic and orchestral fragment as much as for her unity. The subject is based on the feathers of the Bird with magical feathers, which excel and offer beauty and protection. That’s why it’s called the “Flaming Bird”. Prince Ivan catches the bird that was eating golden apples. The bird offers him a magic pen and he drops it. The prince looks at the 13 princesses and decides to rescue them from the immortal Kashei even for falling in love with one of them. The prince manages to save the princesses and marry his girlfriend thanks to Zohu’s magic pen.

I came to the premise that the heavy burden of the “fiery bird” would crush the orchestra but this bias was crushed in the notes of the first measures. Of course it was the credit of the young American conductor Gregory Charette, who surprisingly did not impress in the first two acts, but apparently, for Stravinsky managed to attract and organize all the orchestras in a unique and exciting play. I think this concert has set a remarkable standard in the executions of this lineup, which is already completed, and is operating on the basis of a good spirit of artistic cooperation.

The second fact was completely unusual. In the hall came the elected Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Albin Kurti, just without a guard, no fuss, no companion. I even noticed at the break of the concert that he was talking to one of Pristina’s most cultured musicians. Maybe, I thought, he has a distant vision and knows how to listen to specialists and, most importantly, knows the value of art and culture. After the concert he congratulated the artists with modesty and with the confidence that I did not know in Albania.

It is precisely the concept of the value of art and culture that has left us behind. We seek to grow the economy by inspiring people, without turning them into sentient and creative beings who pursue the beautiful and noble dream with passion.

The third fact was a short but quite good work by Valton Beqiri, played on the violin by Sihana Badivuku and on the violin by Blerim Grubi which left deep impression and was applauded. It was an alliance of archery techniques with contemporary compositional techniques, within a genuine communication with the public over an essentialized folklore. It was precisely the bravura of the work that inspired the instrumentalists in an organic, harmonious play at their name level.

If only that would be enough to close a festival like the one in Camerfest.

However, there was something depressing: The trajectory of music development in Pristina (which should extend across Kosovo) is surpassing the levels of music development in Albania, even though the relationship was once different.

Nestor Kraja

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