As an exclusive part of their Kickstarter campaign, Goeyvaerts String Trio let themselves be interviewed by ...their own fans on social media. We collected some of the most exciting questions and even mentioned the names of their authors. In this interview: why musicians turned to crowd-funding*, what "just intonation" is and what's on the menu of the dinner "a la Flamande" with the trio (which you get as a reward).
(*The funding of the trio's album needs your support! To help the trio and fund their album, click here!)
1. How did you come up with the idea of crowd-funding new album?
Today's reality is much different, than few years ago. To bring out classical on the CD isn't sufficient at all. To maintain a close contact with our audience we believe this crowd-funding project is a perfect tool. To fund a recording as an ensemble that doesn't receive any support by a government or organization we depend on our fanbase and some filantrope supporters. We are very happy that Challenge Records is a label that is also a very open-minded team of creative brains. They help us enormously in this project.
2. Was Arvo Pärt's "Stabat Mater" recorded at the AMUZ Festival or is it a new recording yet to be made? (Alan Teder)
The concert for AMUZ was not recorded for a few reasons. First of all, our soprano just gave birth to a daughter Alina (yes she is indeed also a big fan of Pärt), so the soprano was a planned replacement. Also the conditions in the cathedral were not perfect: a lot of noise from the outside and a very cold weather on that day. But the atmosphere was great, because of the program we made especially for the festival and, last but not least, the great audience in the packed cathedral!
3. What is a "just intonation" and how can you recognize it on the recording? (Sabine Meeus)
This is a very interesting question and also very difficult to explain in few words. "Just intonation" is an intonation that was common more then 500 years ago. Our modern ears are influenced by well-tempered intonation you can find on every piano. Our artistic decisions to play "Stabat Mater" without vibrato confronted us with some intonation obstacles. Playing without vibrato in well-tempered tuning made it impossible to reach the simplicity, clearness and purity we were looking for. For us the radical choice to play in just intonation is similar to the radical switch Arvo Pärt made in his career in the seventies. We went really far in looking for this purity in the harmonies that we even slightly retuned our instruments to realise the maximum of harmonics in chords. On the other hand, there is always one knot in the scale of a minor. So, the distance between A and D is for our modern ears out of tune. But the return is that at certain points you don't get a constant kind of neutral beauty but a movement from real perfect harmony passing an instable moment and back.
We hope this answer is clear, if there is more to ask on this topic we are open for discussion.
4. How did it happen that Ivan Moody specially composed for your album? (Denise Malzer)
We know Ivan Moody since he wrote the liner notes for our previous album with music by Gubaidulina, Knaifel, Paiberdin and Kancheli. Since "Stabat Mater" by Arvo Pärt was years on our wishlist to perform, we had a commission in mind for the same cast. We thought his style could make a complemetary pendant to "Stabat Mater". In the beginning we discussed about what texts to use and finally Ivan Moody came up with the great idea to use some texts about the resurrection. As he is an Orhtodox priest, his knowledge can not be questioned. We were very happy with the result, as the piece is, in a way, similar and different to "Stabat Mater" at the same time.
5. Where is the album recorded? How did you decide to work with Vox Luminis vocalists on it?
We decided to record this album in the south of Belgium. A small church in Beaufays was the place of crime. The decision for this cast is because we think that for performing "Stabat Mater" you need a lot of skills in one singer. They have to be soloists and ensemble singers together. The style of Vox Luminis matches with our musical idea about performing Pärt. And they also adore his music.
6. What does the work "Stabat Mater" personally mean to you?
"Stabat Mater" means to us thinking about special concerts. Playing this is a strong experience for a performer but also for an audience. Every performance we were confronted with a great intensity between us and the audience. It's also fantastic to meet an audience that is not the average classical music audience at all. Arvo Pärt has really big fans of all kind, ages and interests.
7. Can the Trio give us a little preview of the new album? (Eva Sinjan)
This is a very technical question. We will ask our sound engineer Piotr Furmanczyk to edit some minutes especially for you. With a little of patience you will be rewarded with great harmony.
8. How long is the webcam concert (one of the Kickstarter rewards) and what will you play? (Silvia van den Berg)
The plan for this webcam concert is to perform about 30 minutes of music that we can discuss. Besides we introduce the work and we are open for discussion afterwards. Our standard repertoire we play by heart.
9. What stands on the menu when you cook for one of the Kickstarter rewards? (Alain Van Eeckhout)
Dear Alain, we are concerned about environment and therefore we will choose some products from the 'terroir' (we use this beautiful french word) and the season. But we can already give away that the drinks are the best Belgian beers. Of course we will pay attention to allergic people, vegetarians and vegans.
10. Is that a coincidence that Kris Matthynssens from the trio looks like a brother of Arvo Pärt? (Valery Lambert)
Not at all. It is Arvo Pärt that looks like Kris Matthynssens. To recognise each of them Arvo started wearing a hat. A nice anecdote is that the first time we met Alexander Knaifel (a good friend Arvo Pärt), he shouted out "Arvo!!".
11. Where will the release concert take place and is there anything special you prepare for it?
The official release is planned in Willebroek (Belgium). The decision for this location is because of the beautiful church and the special relation we have with the programmer there. For this concert the author of the liner notes of the CD Philippe Grisar will present us in a speech.
12. What is your favorite reward on your Kickstarter campaign?
To be honest: a house concert. It's a unique way to perform music with a direct contact and, of course, a great thank you for the maximum support.
13. When can I expect the reward (CD) to be sent to me? (Glen Michel)
We hope by the end of february/beginning of march 2014.
14. After the Kickstarter campaign finished, what will you do?
We hope to drink first some Champagne on a succesful campaign supported by our fans. Afterwards - business as usual: preparing our next season's concerts and planning the second part of our next recording.
15. If one of your students wants to perform "Stabat Mater", what could you advice? (Dirk van Doorn)
This is very complex to answer, because the notes look very easy, but performing is a matter of a hard work. We can give some elementary advices as following:
Practice the scale A minor in just intonation. Try to play as simple as possible
(no vibrato), listen to polyphony to understand voices and read a lot about Arvo Pärt.