Centuries of tradition

The Tel Aviv Soloists will host early music maestro Philip Pickett in three concerts.

British maestro Philip Pickett (photo credit: Courtesy)
British maestro Philip Pickett
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The young and vigorous Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble will host renowned British maestro Philip Pickett, who will lead his music forces through the second concert of the 2013-14 season. The program features Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, as well as sonatas and concerti grossi by Albinoni, Locatelli, Corelli and other Italian composers of the period.
Pickett is the artistic director of important British early music ensembles such as The New London Consort and Musicians of the Globe, who perform on period instruments. In addition, Pickett, who started his career playing the recorder, has been conducting major orchestras throughout the world in classical and early romantic repertoires.
He has recorded numerous discs conducting his two ensembles, and earlier he performed as a soloist with leading European orchestras.
On the eve of his Israeli performances, he confides that as a youngster, he played in a British electric folk rock group.
“You can’t imagine how many connections there are between various kinds of music, and I am happy that I perform them all.
As for the extra musical activities, I am fascinated by the fact that in the past, all the arts were far more combined. Symbols that you find in painting, sculpture and literature are similar to those that you find in music. For example, in mythology there is a character named La Fama, the Fame, which was depicted with trumpets. But aren’t these the trumpets that symbolize fame in Bach’s Second Brandenburg Concerto? While the recorder symbolizes Dante because this instrument was associated with love and passion. There are many such examples. I am very interested in symbolism, in rhetoric, because these things were a part of everyone’s education. So how can you interpret the music if you don't know the symbols that inspired the composers of the time?” What does folk music have to do with all this? “Folk music is a survivor of early music, although many early music performers ignore the fact that the music they play has roots in folk music. Sometimes they are too affected, over-stylish and not robust enough,” he says.
In regard to Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Pickett says, “Granted, the text was written in the Middle Ages, but the tradition of setting it to music survives. Many people know Pergolesi’s piece, but not so many know the Stabat Mater by Vivaldi. Pergolesi wrote his music to replace Vivaldi’s.
When I was in my 20s and 30s, I spent a lot of time playing medieval music, and my advantage is that I know at least part of these earlier settings of the text. And what excites me most is that the rhythmic approach did not change between the 1300s and 1700s.
So my performance approach is informed by centuries of tradition. This and many other things that I know may give a different flavor to the music.”
Pickett describes his relationship with Israel as a “long and a very happy one.
Soprano Revital Raviv, who will perform with the Tel Aviv Soloists, was a member of my ensemble in England, where she studied. I also worked with her when she appeared with the Barocada Ensemble, and I will come back to work with Barocada later this season,” he says.
Among the other soloists in the concert are countertenor Alon Harari and trumpet player Yuval Shapira.
The concerts take place November 7 in Kfar Shmaryahu (Weil Community Center, (09) 956-9430); November 10 in Tel Aviv (Conservatory, 054-494- 0317); and November 11 in Haifa (Rapoport Hall, (04) 836-3804).