"The years, they haven"t changed us, really,
We live the way we did before,
Fantastic years, we love them dearly
And will remember evermore...
Their spirit is in azure darkness,
Their ashes in the urn of dust.
It"s more and more relaxed and lustrous
To breathe remembering the past."
A.Blok May 30th, Sant Petersburg 1906.
It is said that new - it is "well-forgotten old" ... One has only to carefully look into the past, as in Through the Looking Glass. It is possible that this is where you will find answers to the questions of today ...
The idea to perform songs of the first half of the 20th century, and, more specifically, works of Alexander Nikolaevich Vertinsky, one of the brightest and unique artists of the Silver Century, came to in 2012 during our Germany tour. People from the audience were saying then: "His every song is like an entire play. Although we don't know Russian, we still somehow understand what he wanted to say".
We think, Vertinsky's works have this effect on the audience because they are international in nature. When combined with music, lyrics don't need a translation and emotions have no boundaries. Vertinsky spent 23 years in exile after fleeing from the Russian Revolution in 1917 and there, far away from his Homeland, it was music that helped him to survive.
His best songs were written in exile. He "absorbed" culture and traditions of his host countries, but hasn't lost his own cultural roots. He sang his ballads and romances with his intrinsic artistry, at times with irony and at times with a pinch of tragedy. We like to experiment with his music: in his works we hear Argentinean tango, Parisian waltz, New Yorker blues, Hungarian polka... At the same time we have great respect for his original works and try not to change the core of his music and perform "variations on Vertinsky", which would, in our view, be equal to tampering with nature of his works.
With the end of the Silver Age ended also the age of Russian Art Nouveau, which has been being replaced by the heavy-paced Social Realism. We think, that the spirit of the Silver Age has never been as necessary as now, in our age of consumerism, passion for routine and obsession with wealth and success. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but we need more than that in our lives.
The 20th century has been tragic indeed. The humanity has went through one of its most difficult tests for the right to live and to love on this Earth.
During that time Vertinsky wrote fairytales, that were as essential to him as a breath of fresh air. It appears that it might be just as essential to us, people living in the 21'th century.