The Tarkovsky Quartet – François Couturier, piano; Anja Lechner, violoncello; Jean-Louis Matinier, accordion; Jean-Marc Larché, soprano saxophone – at the Nostalgia Festival, Poznań in 2013.
Andrei Tarkovsky is my favourite filmmaker. “Andrei Rublev” was a revelation for me. Since then I have seen all his films over and over again… They are long poems, hypnotic in their slowness, and pervaded with spirituality. There is very little music in them. Tarkovsky used to say, “It’s my personal conviction that a film does not need music at all.” Anyway, he was a master of using it.
So I did not seek to make ‘scenic’ music of any kind but have tried, instead, to represent in each piece a specific emotion linked to the universe of this director – to his films, of course, but also to some of his favourite actors (Anotoli Solonitsyn, Erland Josephson) or composers (Bach, Pergolesi). Or even to the very original way he plays with shades of colour (“Crépusculaire”). This is our way of paying tribute to this great artist.
Le Temps Scellé: Hommage à Andrei Tarkovsky
From the first time I listened to the album “Nostalghia – Song for Tarkovsky” by François Couturier, followed by “Un jour si blanc” and finally, “Tarkovsky Quartet”, the last part of the trilogy dedicated to my father’s cinematic work, I’ve been overcome by a singular sensation. As the music began, a multitude of familiar images arose before my eyes, some connected to a specific scene, some just fragments of voices or feelings related to the films. Amazingly, the music was capable of creating a particular emotional state, a sense of meditative contemplation and involvement, so characteristic of my father’s art. Yet the musical compositions were completely free from any imitation or dependency, the images arose naturally and spontaneously, one after another, following the delicate and profound inner rhythm. I felt strangely familiar with these notes, as if their story was also mine a long time ago, a musical evocation of a mysterious interior world of Tarkovsky’s cinema, so personal, but strangely, so deeply familiar to everyone of us.
I have always believed that an approach to my father’s films should be an emotional involvement, an empathy with the author’s feelings, rather than intellectual analysis of the contents. To a certain extent, this parallels musical composition, where pure emotions are predominant. I think that François and the members of the Tarkovsky Quartet have found that correct approach. Their music is more than a simple ‘dedication’. It is an independent creation, inspired by the same artistic idea and philosophy that inspired my father’s work, thus, capable of producing a strong artistic image, profoundly linked to Tarkovsky’s universe.
Later, when François and I met, I was so enthusiastic about his project that an idea of working together came to our minds. The idea was to create sequences of images to go on together with the performance of “Nostalghia – Song for Tarkovsky”. This time, it was the image which followed the music, directly inspired by the musical improvisation. I gathered pictures, screenshots and image sequences from my father’s archives in order to illustrate as accurate as possible that almost tangible visual experience, provoked in me by François’s compositions. Then, during the concert, while listening carefully to the musicians, I followed their performance with those images, directly inspired by the music played in that precise moment on the stage. It was a truly interesting artistic experience for me, François, Anja, Jean-Louis and Jean-Marc, a mutual inspiration, a new way to perceive a film image.
Many artists of different backgrounds and cultures have been inspired by my father’s work, yet few of them have managed to achieve a necessary freedom and independence in order to create their own artistic image, their own universe. I believe François and the musicians of his quartet are amongst them.
Andrey A Tarkovsky