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Fef1e187 02ac 9dc5 3fc3 00067faec223 Gwendolyn Masin

The Space Between the Notes - VIII –
GAIA Music Festival | Götterfunken 25-29 August 2021

Beethoven wasn’t known to be a patient man – so imagine how he would have reacted if he had known that his birthday celebrations would not go as planned?

It is most likely that he would hardly have noticed, for he made little fuss about his person; Rossini was already shocked at how poorly the famous Beethoven lived. Whether with empathy or frustration, one thing is clear: Beethoven's impact is greater than ever, it seems that his power to inspire musicians and audiences around the world is ever increasing.

In the 13-year history of GAIA we have never rolled out the carpet for someone as we will for Beethoven. Previously we have worked hard to ensure that one of our responsibilities is to encourage contemporary composers by commissioning new works from them for our festival. This year, it is Beethoven who is our composer-in-residence.

Our journey through Beethoven’s Universe brings us down paths of not just his own music, but of others inspired by him. Students, such as Ries, contemporaries such as Moscheles, and predecessors such as Mozart, all orbit around him. Some figures in this year’s festival have been either largely forgotten, such as Dussek, or underestimated, such as Spohr. Nearly all are overshadowed by Beethoven. In a world where classical music remains a niche art form, the fewest can’t sing the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, or don’t recognise one of the most uplifting choruses in history: his Ode to Joy.

GAIA Festival 2021

1 MG 6233 Gwendolyn Masin Gwendolyn Masin

It’s been 27 months since the last GAIA Music Festival took place.
In that time, we have planned and cancelled our festival three times; we have done what we can to keep the original roster of artists in a position to be with us; we have kept in touch with you, our audience, via personalised newsletters, letters in the post, or emails. We have worked closely with the councils of Oberhofen and Hilterfingen, and the Canton of Bern; with our sponsors, and the foundations and individual donors who have ensured our survival. We have met as a team of committee members and volunteers as safely and frequently as we could and… we have missed you. We have missed being with you, in person; playing for you, exchanging ideas with you, and being part of this community with you.

Thank you for your continued support. It’s nearly impossible to express how happy we are to be back. Perhaps only Beethoven’s Götterfunken manages to communicate the elation that fills our hearts this August 2021.

Recital with Finghin Collins in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the National Concert Hall International Master Course 2021

Streaming our Recital at the National Concert Hall 2 Gwendolyn Masin

When we created our programme “An Imaginary Tale of Love and Music” we didn’t imagine that we would find it quite as physically taxing as it turned out to be. At the centre of “An Imaginary Tale of Love and Music” are two major sonatas for violin and piano from the 20th century by Debussy and Poulenc. Shorter pieces by a diverse range of composers from Saint-Saëns to Tabakova seek to put the sonatas into context. An overriding theme which emerges is a string of strong women who were either the dedicatees, the first performers, the composers, or the inspiration behind virtually all the works, such as Ginette Neveu, Jelly d'Aranyi, and Emma Bardac.

Despite the brevity of many of the pieces, such as Lili Boulanger’s “Nocturne” or Béla Bartók’s “Romanian Dances”, both Finghin and I felt utterly exhausted when the final notes had sounded. Whether it was the magnitude of meaning hidden in the music of Poulenc’s Sonata – an homage to Federico Lorca upon his death – or exultation that it could take place mixed with fatigue after working very intensively to conduct the course, we felt we had run a marathon.

National Concert Hall International Master Course 2021

With Finghin Collins at the National Concert Hall During Rehearsal Gwendolyn Masin With Finghin Collins at the National Concert Hall During Rehearsal

The live-streamed recital is available on YouTube and Facebook until 5 September 2021. You can watch it at the following links:

On YouTube

On Facebook

Thank you for tuning in, thank you for coming to the concerts at the end of August – it feels like nothing short of a small miracle that we can be together again!

Yours, joyfully,