Ludmila Kamelina :Italian Bel Canto on the Volga bank

Samara Philharmonic organist Ludmila Kamelina presented the concert "Italian Bel Canto" in Kazan. The very name of the concert immediately allows you to feel the atmosphere of amazing Italian music. Italy is the homeland of opera, country of outstanding violinists and violin makers. The concert included the famous Antonio Vivaldi violin concerto in organ transcription and melodious, almost "renaissance" variations of Girolamo Frescobaldi. The correspondent of newspaper "Music of Russia" interviewed the Samara guest on the topic of "Italian Bel Canto" and Russian musical life.

Two organs differ in more aspects than two violins, or two pianos. There are no two identical instruments, and there are no two identical halls. The organists have to re-adjust every time. How did you feel in the Kazan Hall while playing Kazan organ?

- The Kazan Hall is favorably compared with the Samara Hall by good acoustics, which is important for performing of organ music. But the Samara Hall has its advantages - it is very comfortable, although it has seats for nearly 1,000 people.  In addition, this hall is dear to me. I meet there with beloved Samara public. As for the organs, both of them are made by the best European companies. Both of them are high quality instruments, but they do not look alike. German craftsmen who built Samara organ focused on the sound of baroque instruments. The Kazan organ created by experts from the Netherlands is a vivid example of the romantic direction of organ symphonic music.

- You devoted a long period of life to playing the piano, and then came to the organ class. In your opinion what is the major difference between organists and pianists? Not every pianist after meeting initial interest will be seriously engaged in studying the organ music. Nothing is by chance; maybe some qualities unite people who have chosen the same instrument. What do you think about the personality traits which predispose for choosing organ classes?

It seems to me that playing the organ requires more attention, than playing the violin or the piano. During the performance the organist should not only play – with hands and feet, but also control the sound change colors by changing registers. In some ways, this is similar to the conductor's profession: it is necessary to monitor each of the groups Orchestra. Anyway, I think is just as important, for a musician to find an instrument as to find the path in life for any person-. 

- You graduated from the Kazan Conservatory, but for a long time lived and studied abroad. These are postgraduate studies of the Higher School of Music in Freiburg, and master classes by leading European organists: P. Ke, G. Bove, L. Lohmann, H. Fagiusa, H. Vogel, J. Laukvika, L. Gielmi etc. At which point Kazan influenced on you as a musician? And what part of knowledge and skill has been obtained abroad? 

- Kazan in my professional life is the beginning of all beginnings. The foundation of all my skills, knowledge and experience. I think my greatest successes have occurred here in the native Kazan. But we cannot forget the fact that "the language is best to learn among native speakers." That is why it is important to for me dive into the European way of life, learn the centuries-old organ culture of Western Europe by communicating with outstanding teachers and performers, through familiarity with excellent organs, mindful touches of Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart ... Each of these artists during the composition of a particular work was intended to use in the tone the organ, for which he worked. Fortunately, many of these instruments remain. A brief meeting with the "old-timers" replaces the hours spent for textbooks.

- There is a certain "golden fund" of the organ repertoire, and, of course, all organists play Bach, Franck, and Buxtehude.  But it often happens that in certain periods of life, or in certain situations performer leans toward a particular style, or composer. What do you prefer to play and when? 

Like any person in the service, I have certain responsibilities, the concert schedule. I make the repertoire for the upcoming season in the autumn of the previous. And I cannot predict what I want to play at one time or another month.  But I do know that, if I dive into work on that or other writing, I enjoy and experience the feeling of being in love with this work. Even if you know it for the whole life.

- Lyudmila Kamelina is not only an organist, performer, but also one of the organizers of the musical life of Samara.  In the city there are several unusual projects related to organ. Among them are particularly noteworthy series of programs "organs of the capital of the world", every show is devoted to the characteristics of organ culture of a particular country. Perhaps this idea was supported by a concert in Kazan - only Italian music was heard there. In Russia, "Organ Italy" is not very popular. What can attract listeners in this repertoire? 

- Yes, you're right, organ culture of Italy we know only in part, by the Baroque period.  It is with great reverence about music Frescobaldi G., D. Tsipoli, B. Pasquini, we study methodological literature on these authors and get on stage, with thoroughly theoretical knowledge. And the Italian music, written in 19-20 centuries, traditionally evokes musicologists condescending attitude: there is no philosophical reflections, intense dramatic development. This music is not staggering in its depth. But it was noted in review on my concert in newspaper Rheinpfalz: "Who said that the organ cannot make you have some fun?" In the Italian music of the late 19th early 20th centuries there is melodic beauty, witty timbre colors, sincere joy! It brings a smile as, for example, like Polka by Strauss.  The listener needs this music, I'm sure… 

- It is believed that children can be quite an early age to listen to almost any music. Do you have a series of children's concerts? What are their features? Do you have a specially selected repertoire for children's shows?

- Children's Organ concerts in the Samara Philharmonic - the subject of my pride and great love. Of course, I carefully pick up the repertoire and invent brilliant name for a concert. But in those programs I work with artists from other genres - instrumentalists, readers. I also get different roles and have to learn the text, rehearse some mise en scene. For us, Sunday mornings are always a holiday!

People of Samara love and respect you. Has the city become your hometown, and what traits of the city had once attracted you?

The city attracted me in such a way that I was invited to work in the wonderful Philharmonic Society, which preserves the tradition and keeps respect for the artists. As you know, we, organists, live there, where the work is. But Kazan was and always will be my hometown. There are my roots, teachers, and friends. But Samara is dear to me because it believed in me, gave me the opportunity to realize my talents. Here I met talented, wise leaders, whom I am very grateful for given carte blanche. As for the city of Samara as an architectural whole, then it is still possible to meet Russian modernism buildings, which, unfortunately, did not remain in Kazan. And there is the beautiful Volga embankment and organized clean beaches, which turns Samara in a cozy resort town in summer. 


Svetlana Sinitsyna