This music requires dissolution to exist and faith to surrender. It is the celebration of the Symbolists idea that the material reality is nothing but a distorted echo of another realm.
The story of The Fiery Angel is symbolical and at the same time as real as any other creation born in the Silver Age. The way I understand it deeply affected my work on the arrangement. I do not attempt to explain or rationalize my adoration for both Bryusov’s and Prokofiev’s masterpieces here. My aim is to tell you about my relationship with The Fiery Angel and where it brought me. While the last saying may sound presumptuous, the only important thing for me is the music itself which obsessed me with its utmost beauty, madness and love.
The idea of this work came to me in December 2014. A few months before that, I started to play with Artem Belogurov. His genius and charisma prompted me look for a piece which could develop into an exciting and mystic adventure. I knew what I wanted to find: the depth embracing the light and the dark, a story that could transcend time and language, music itself. Going back to December I was sharing my ideas with my mother, when she spontaneously suggested to arrange Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel. The prospective of working on this piece thrilled me and at the same time seemed impossible.
While working on the first movement, it still felt as an impossible task. Like watching life forming in smoke with its own laws and rules to which I had to obey. I felt prisoned in Renata’s delirium and lacked clarity. Just as her idea of an Angel was crystallizing in her mind, the music became tangible by itself. It triggered me and I could not stop working until the chapters were finished. Often, I had the impression that as in Renata’s case, the radiant image of the Angel was fleeting from my hands. Just like her story this music is a paradox, the essence of which is the union of ecstasy and suffering. Her burning was an act of symbolic death in which she united with the Angel, through the ecstatic destruction of self. This music requires dissolution to exist and faith to surrender. It is the celebration of the Symbolists idea that the material reality is nothing but a distorted echo of another realm.
Classical – Contemporary (> 1920)
Muziekcentrum van de Omroep – Studio 2, Hilversum (NL)
February 4th, 2018
"The transcription of Prokofiev’s opera is full of uncompromising spirituality, emotions pouring through the musicians at every step."
Henryk Majda, Multikulti Project
"The violoncello sounds lively and dynamic on the recording, the full range of the instrument can be heard, and details are well represented. The piano, which as is said before, is a period instrument and sounds fantastic."
"The music is, variously, brutal, passionate, and desperate, with the two performers negotiating these emotional hairpin curves fearlessly. Sonically, this is the first chamber music recording I’ve heard that rivals my #1 reference of over 20 years …"
Jeff Wilson, The Absolute Sound
"Torment and obsession, reincarnation and blood-curdling hysteria, but also a work that is filled with an extraordinary poetic beauty. Whoever can create such an arrangement has to be a great musician."
Aart van der Wal, Opus Klassiek
"Fridman plays with a hardrock attitude, at times she seems to literally wish to shatter her cello. On the gothic CD cover she poses in a black leather suit, like an angel with wings of fire."
Thea Derks, De Cultuurpers
"Reverbs, decay, details, differentiation in terms of tone and dynamics are unprecedented. What attracts attention particularly is the dynamics, because only now one can hear what one’s system is capable of in this respect."
Wojciech Pacula, Positive Feedback
"The technical staff has yet again succeeded in making the recording as if you’re right there. And also here, Fridman performs with Belogurov as though her life depends on it."