News | 24.10.2018

The world of music meets with the abstract world of clownery in a lyrical and poetic spectacle – SNOWSYMPHONY.

Based on the Slava’s SNOWSHOW – a production that has been moving the audiences all around the world for over two decades, SNOWSYMPHONY is a project created by two masters of their own art – clown Slava Polunin and violinist Gidon Kremer.

In a conversation, maestro Kremer mentions that he has been fascinated by circus and clowns since his early childhood. In Riga, where Gidon grew up, besides going to the theater, opera theater and classical music concerts, one of his regular pastimes was going to the circus. Gidon remembers: “At the circus, I was not so much taken by tigers or elephants, I was always taken by clowns. Clowns have this language that allows us to feel more freedom.”   When I asked Gidon Kremer how the concept of the Snow Symphony came to life, he replied: “As it happened many times before, I was interested in a personality and wanted to work together with an artist from a different field. For example, I started to play tango music because I was fascinated with Astor Piazzolla. In the same way, driven by an interest to the Russian painter Maxim Kantor, I and Kremerata Baltica created a project “Masks and Faces” – a combination of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and paintings of Maxim Kantor.

In the case of the Snow Symphony, I was interested in the personality of Slava Polunin. I saw him performing in different sketches and in his Snow Show and I wanted to create something together. When we met with Slava and the door was open for a possible conversation, we started to discuss what kind of performance it could be. It was Slava’s idea to use an already existing structure of Slava’s SNOWSHOW and to create on its foundation something with live musicians, with us. Since the structure was already determined, my task was to find, propose, discuss and choose the appropriate music. We were looking for a common ground, for a mutual language between the clownery and the music. It was clear that the musicians would be on stage and that I would be a part of the show as well. I was trying to find the pieces that would help Slava’s expression and wouldn’t conflict with it. In fact, the art of mime and music are very similar – they are two languages without words, an abstract expression of emotions.

In this combination of two different art forms every second is filled with a specific emotion. I would even say that the Snow Symphony is a union between poetry and music. The performance of Slava Polunin is not only humorous, it is often full of tragedy. The microscopic accuracy of Slava’s expressions is an example for us, musicians, of what we need to strive for using our sounds. We must be incredibly precise in what we express! On the other hand, we see that the clowns are constantly improvising, and it demands from us a certain sense of freedom as well.”

Even though there are two different fields in the Snow Symphony – the field of music and the field of mime, often these fields meet – the musicians become actors and the clowns become a physical manifestation of music. When I asked maestro Kremer how he feels in the role of an actor, he replied: “I don’t see myself neither as an actor nor as a writer. At the same time, I don’t want to only be a violin player. I want to be a musician, an artist. I try different roles for myself, but I can’t say that I feel comfortable in all of them. I try to follow the rules of the genre and when the director asks me to do something, I am trying to do what was suggested. How well it is done changes from show to show. Acting is a part of a musical performance as well.  Just like actors in a theatre take on different characters, we [musicians] play different pieces, different music. In a different context the same material can have a different function – something that might be overly sentimental in one situation, becomes very burlesque in another. During the upcoming eight shows I hope we will keep serving this connection between two different art forms and keep communicating with each other and the audience in our mutual, abstract emotional language.”

Join us October 24 – 31 in the Moscow Palace of Youth to see and hear our Moscow premiere of the Snow Symphony.