Please read this only if you’ve heard Mozart more than in mobile phone ring tones, soap opera and spelled.
This is not about the happy bells of wedding, about kissing under the mistletoe, or any other practical combination between bells and kisses. And Ludwig Van is a piece of subtle humor, arising from assimilating the nobility particle „van” with a middle name, American style. He does not play for Real Madrid. Never has.
Also, Paradise is not a word of Hawaiian origin. It comes from pairidaēza, a word in Avestan, a Persian ancient language – it means a wall around a garden. Like most walls, it is supposed to keep something in and someone out.
If you feel you’ve missed some of the information revealed here, please, PLEASE, do not hit the „Read more…” link.
Joshua Bell played Tchaikovsky. Evgheny Kissin played Beethoven. Bell replaced Vengerov, who had a sore hand. Kissin was the honored guest and the piano peer of Vengerov, same generation, same school. Bell was dressed in light black pants and rustic shirt. He played almost alone, like the orchestra was a part of the nature around him. But that’s subjective. He played a Stradivarius. Kissin was dressed in full classic apparel. He tried his best to connect with the orchestra – with Sir Colin Davis in particular. He screwed a note while doing so. (I couldn’t help but think that La Scala would have produced an „ooooh” and a „bleaah”, but our small stadium of grunts managed to actually miss the ending of the concert, as they applauded earlier – so no, I wouldn’t expect miracles from them).
Joshua Bell was exquisite, unpardonably so from the point of view of a poor hungry soul like mine. He was called on stage frantically and played a piece from „The Red Violin”, the movie – which was kind of like being a Shakespeare addict and seeing Barrymore play Henry V.
Evgheny Kissin was decent, barely. He was called on stage once and played twice. Beethoven (not unexpectedly, as the whole evening was dedicated to Van, and Van himself had a soft spot for the piano, so he’s got plenty of solos for the large L).
That’s the setting. So I thought – if we’re all wrong and Paradise is like Van would imagine it, what would it be like? I think it would be a place for music only, where your only form of expression is with a violin or a piano, or even a trumpet, or simply your voice, your musical, hallowed voice. It would be a place where people do not see, cannot touch, cannot smell, cannot taste. They hate or fall in love with each other simply because of music. Lovemaking is a duet, where on the climax, acute notes, you release all your happiness, your troubles, your passion, yourself entirely. Duels are counter-duets, where the actors play in turn, or if they play at the same time, their notes are opposed, cannoning. They duel in musical phrases, arguments, not in volume. There’s no mistake in Van’s Paradise, no bad music, every music is good and each group of people have their own cultural signature – Mozart-ians, Tiesto-s, LLCoolJ-s, Jackson-s, Puccini-s, Elvis-es, Paganini-s, Manson-s.
And you know, you feel or you’re being told that you are beautiful, simply and honestly, because your Chopin Cello Sonata is heavenly; you’re told by a man that he’s in love with you – and that too is simple and honest, because there are so few variables, so few pieces of you that could be bad, or ugly, or unhappy, or not wanting. There’s one great, wonderful you, the monolith playing a wooden instrument, full heartedly, not holding back – and you don’t play by a program: you play Chopin to cry, Mozart to feel happy, Wagner to gather courage, Stravinsky to get drunk, Tchaikovsky to feel the magic, Brahms to fall in love, Schubert to gather faith, Liszt to dream on, Bach to forget and find peace.
And you hear everything, from the moment you are born to Van’s Paradise to the moment they cry for you. You don’t dissipate your senses, you don’t forget, you don’t choose. The sounds come to you, there’s no filter between the sounds and your mind, no impairing, no distortion, no delay. They are your entire world. And when this entire world channels to a single person, and all other sounds go into the background, to make room for that magnificent solo, the lone player, the wonder, the godly, then your life is complete.