The story of this album begins back in 2015 with a young Syrian musician playing in the streets of Istanbul just to scrape buy. Denied access to Europe, Moutaz Abass sat on a small stool and casually played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy without attracting much attention from the passers by – a tune we know too well and meaning of which we often forget. The irony of this was startling – a war refugee, abandoned to his own devices, stringing along a melody that symbolizes the humanitarian values we cherish so much – brotherhood, equality and acceptance of all.
Arian, as Moutaz calls himself now, is dreaming to live freely without the fear of being drafted in the army of Asad’s oppressive regime, and to be able to write for a full symphony orchestra. In essence, his story is nothing new. Would we know of Mozart’s musical genius if he hadn’t left the mundane service of the Archbishop of Salzburg for cultural riches of Vienna? Would Igor Stravinsky had become such an influential figure of 20th century western music if he had remained in Soviet Russia? Composers with Jewish ancestry like Paul Hindemith and Alexander von Zemlinsky would probably had simply not even survived if they had remained in Germany and Austria during the WWII, but Arvo Pärt’s traumatic exile from Estonia eventually lead to this deeply religious man becoming one of the greatests living composers – something unthinkable under Soviet rule.
Arian found his way out eventually and now is living in China of all the places. He was kind enough to dedicate a composition for this album titled Borderless. It’s a story of immigrants encountering obstacles on their way to freedom – a work full of yearning and sadness. And, just as Arian’s personal story, it has a happy ending. Many of men, women and children however are still suffering in the middle East. Who are we to judge, if the young Pārt, Stravinski or even Mozart is not among them? Who are we to judge whether they have the right to freedom just the way we do. After all – these humanitarian values embedded in our culture and so strikingly manifested in European anthem are only thing that separates the man from the beast.
Enjoy the playful spirit of Carion at it’s best in this delightful one-hour program. All time favorites like Ligeti’s powerful Six Bagatelles are complimented with tuneful stage and film music by Shostakovich – Tahiti Trot, Romance from Gadly, Galop from Limpid Stream and of course the famous Waltz No. 2 from Suite for Variety orchestra. Stravinski’s playful Suite No. 2 will surprise you with theatrical stage interpretations and humor, but nothing will top the mephistophelian virtuosity of Liszt’s Grande Etude de Paganini arranged specially for Carion.
Beethoven and Nielsen. What do they have in common? It is a well known fact that Nielsen drew inspiration for his quintet of 1922 from Mozart’s divine Sinfonia Concertante for winds. Beethoven on the other hand took example from Mozart’s Piano quintet in E-flat major for his op. 16 masterpiece. For the first time Beethoven’s joyous Quintet is liberated from the chairs, music stands and scores and takes a dramatic stage performance only equal to Carion’s acclaimed interpretation of Nielsen’s quintet.