Lets open and get some air !

New Year Wishes from the Artistic Director...

It was already difficult last year to formulate my New Year wishes: I have even more difficulty doing it this year. 2015 was full of pain, and in this month of January, just beginning, I can only offer you a superficial optimism. I have to try then something else for 2016.

To be perfectly honest in formulating these wishes, it seems to me that I must come from the profound hopelessness which forms me more than it takes hold of me, and from the implacable observation that the human being is certainly the most destructive animal living on this planet, capable – we know it – of the worst abominations: violence, aggression, flattery, dishonesty, ugliness, thoughtlessness, rigidity, blindness, perversity, pettiness...

The list is long, interminable in truth, and each person can add his own nightmares to it, but I am persuaded that all these aberrations can be summed up in one: stupidity. This strange quality particular to man–as much as the laugh which does not lack an odd relationship with it – we all have it in us, and it depends neither on our intelligence nor on our cultural level: it is elsewhere that its origin has to be searched. So much "elsewhere" besides, that it is not easy to define it and yet its deepened study would probably be the science which would advance most the understanding of human nature.

In reflecting on it like this, rapidly, some hours before throwing myself into a new year of work, laziness, joy and pain, it seems to me that what characterizes this astonishing component of the human being the best is the shutting out of the outside world; whether it concerns relationships with others or with nature.

Search well and you will see: in each of the violent acts made to decency or to reason, there was a closing up. Something in us puts up a wall before we begin to function in closed circuit. A defence mechanism no doubt, which probably has its place in the great "Mecano" of Mother Nature, as do many unexplained mysteries.

Besides, art also can be stupid, particularly when it indulges in staring at its own navel instead of opening its windows to the world. A window! There is the very word I was looking for to get out of my "Epiphanic" pessimism, as it is well, as you suspect, what I intend to do at the end of the day: tradition requires that one rejoice with the New Year!

Then the image comes to me of the beautiful circular window, open to the ever changing sky in Brittany, before which I had the chance to spend New Year's Day in fraternal company. So many other windows have illuminated my thoughts and my life... The window not only allows light to pass across a windowless wall, it also creates a frame, which by limiting it, gives order and sense to reality.

These windows of which Brel sang, the poets compared them to our eyes that open – as everyone knows – on the heart. When a room is missing windows, we cannot stay in it more than an hour, to the point where one deprives prisoners of windows when one wants to make them particularly suffer.

The too rare works of reconstruction undertaken now across the world make me think of the windows in the inexorable wall to which our society rushes: work of a French sociologist whose name I have forgotten, who thinks we can help the jihadists to start anew, the work of the Salgado couple to replant the Mata Atlantica [the Atlantic Forest] in the Minas Gerais in Brazil...

Like the work of the Salgados, giving life to the myth invented by Jean Giono in « L’homme qui plantait des arbres » [the man who planted some trees], our work as musician-interpretors seems to me to be simultaneously simple and essential: keep music from the past alive and transmit a savoir-faire. Learn, teach, read, listen, perform, transpose, dramatize... in a way that there will always remain, from generation to generation, women and men capable of making the treasures left to us by our ancestors resound.

There we are neither in the great exaltation of creation nor in a hopeless enterprise of reconstitution, but in the maintenance and revival of a tradition that still lives, that of music practiced by human beings for human beings, with the objective of opening minds.

From the art-of-offering-oneself-a-beautiful-bouquet-of-flowers-when-the-sheriffs-are-almost-there (which my late mother practiced to perfection) up to the sublime singing of Aruna Sairam, which opened a vertical and definite window in my mind, I have always seen art as a window on real life, on a world more real in every case than that of our alienating daily closures.

Let's see then, in this month of a still gentle January, which window each of us can open in the wall of a closed building, society, or mind, and let's take a deep breath before starting the year off in a great rush!

Marco Horvat, in Les-Loges-en-Josas

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Translations by Sally Gordon Mark

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