Yes, it is certainly a special experience to be part of Side by Side by El Sistema, the festival area for the Volvo Ocean Race, next Götaälvbron.
The weather into play of course. The clear blue sky and the bright sunlight comes as a relief and a relief after so many days of rain, bad weather and cold.
But the meeting between the hundreds of young people participating as a musician and singer in the international music camp Side by Side, and the members of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, is also full of light and utopian hopes. It’s hard not to suffer the enthusiasm and joy of playing, and the seriousness that occurs when the transfer of knowledge and the conversation about art’s meaning takes so concrete form.
Those Beethoven songs you play together, the anthem from the Ninth Symphony and andantesatsen in the seventh symphony, which otherwise can sound so worn out and deceptively simple. Here, in the sunshine, they get a noticeable glow. The humanistic warmth and revolutionary fervor becomes a common dream, also about how society might look like. A better world, a better city. It is noticeable that the human exchanges between amateur and professional musicians in both directions, the orchestra gets new life by getting into this democratic context. So proud concertmaster Per Enoksson looks when the concert is over and he looks out over the sea of people!
But how easy would it be to be an individual and temporary projects, kidnapped by political ambitions, much like the phrases hanging on billboards and frames the festival area: A sustainable city open to the world. One can only hope that there is enough wisdom of the politicians and officials currently are positive about El Sistema-bet, so that the business can grow in the long term, and cultural schools receive the necessary support. Just as human confidences, it takes time to build the culture. It is not a commodity that you can buy and sell small anyway.
Gothenburg is a different city, with different conditions and a different history than the Venezuelan capital Caracas. It lets in a special way here and the local sound sensation that occurs when the Symphony Orchestra in front finale of Sibelius’s second symphony, while the tram rumbles past on the Gota Älvbron, just above the orchestra, is probably impossible to find elsewhere. Sibelius and Beethoven simply feel very good to end up in the middle of the city noise and ongoing life, and one of the points of El Sistema project is well precisely the emergence of second contact surfaces, other social issues.
I will However little late and arrive at the concert already started. I was not prepared for the long queues at the ferry link from the opera to the free port, but can also appreciate the crowds and congestion that occurs, and the importance of the classical music culture fall into close contact with completely different expression. In the distance I hear the scattered orchestral sounds when they mix with the wind and rhythms from Mix Megapol standing in a tent on the festival grounds.
One of the closing numbers are Laleh-song Goliath sung by the great chorus, led by Birgitta Mannerström Molin, along with the orchestra. The text of his willingness to make the earth whole again, and his invocation of the romantic yearning somewhere else – What were we cried when the dream carried us beyond the town, on the way home over the football field? – Gets a special charge when it is presented here, in the middle of the segregated town with its shootings and their open and hidden conflicts. For this is after all a city that is anything but good, rather full of holes. The music tells of duality, of what binds people together and allows knowledge takes hold, but just as much about what is broken and needs fixing.
Footnote: Error earlier today. The festival area is located next Götaälvbron nowhere else.