Viktoria Mullova

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News & Press

The Peasant Girl

April 2010

Viktoria’s new musical project with the Matthew Barley Ensemble and special guest Julian Joseph is touring from April to June. Check the Concert Dates section for the details and in the meantime here is what Matthew Barley has to say about the project:

The initial criterion for music to be included in this programme was simply that we loved it. However, we found as the programme took shape that certain themes were emerging – obviously Hungary was in there with Kodaly and Bartók, as was the world of the gypsy – Bartók’s inspirations, as well as the Django (Rheinhardt) that John Lewis’ ballad immortalises. The world of jazz is also represented in this last piece as well as the Weather Report tracks, and of course the presence of the magnificent Julian Joseph in the lineup.

But there seemed to something more in there, something that lay in Viktoria’s basic aesthetic of how she relates to the world, and more importantly to the music she loves and plays. She loves simplicity, and emotional directness and power, as well as virtuosity that comes from the heart and for the heart (as opposed to showing off). While I was musing on all this, we listened to The Peasant by Weather Report, and it occurred to me that this was the key that I’d been searching for! Just 2 generations ago, Viktoria’s ancestors were living off the land in a tiny village in the Ukraine, and it was this peasant quality that is so deep in her – of course not in any pejorative sense, but in the sense of a deep, calm honesty and simplicity. Couple that with a personality that has conquered one of the most sophisticated of European art forms in its core repertoire of Bach and Beethoven, and that’s an interesting combination. While this latter area of her life has been represented onstage around the world for 25 years, this programme shares something of her other side.

The word Peasant has its roots in the French – pays, meaning country or land. We have looked for music that has the simplicity and beauty of the land, or that has come from the land in some way, like Bartók’s magical series of 44 duos, the themes for which he collected on ethnomusicological expeditions in the fields of Eastern Europe. We hope it is music that has emotional weight, be it peace or turmoil, sadness or joy, and that this binding factor will prove more important than any definition of genre. Music is music.

Programme to include:



BARTÓK - 5 Duos

WEATHER REPORT - Pursuit of the Woman With the Feathered Hat

BARTÓK - 4 Duos

JOHN LEWIS/BRATSCH - Django

WEATHER REPORT - The Peasant

KODALY - Sonata for violin and cello

BRATSCH - Er Nemo Klantz, Nane Tsora, Bi Lovengo

YOUSSOU N’DOUR - Life



Musicians:



Viktoria Mullova - violin

Matthew Barley - cello/arranger

Paul Clarvis - percussion

Julian Joseph - piano

Sam Walton - percussion



Visit the Youtube channel for footage of the group HERE