Thursday, August 4, 2011: The Chain

Who should be sitting alone on a small kitchen chair but Mr Touvron himself?

Frenchman Guy Touvron regularly tours internationally, and appeared in Prague July 8 at Prague Proms.

The Shortest Chain in the Universe

It was a very hot, humid July night at St Agnes Convent. The Golias Orchestra of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra was rounding out the second half of a Prague Proms concert. The first half had featured French trumpet player Guy Touvron.

Mr Touvron had received well-deserved, enthusiastic applause, played an encore, accepted his large bouquet of flowers, and left the stage.

At the finish, slowly the audience dragged itself into the heavily setting sunset in the humid evening.

And who should still be sitting alone on a small wooden kitchen chair against the monastery wall, all alone, but Mr Touvron himself?

After cheerily signing autographs for adoring fans, Mr Touvron invited Opus Osm back into the monastery for a chat. He shared his philosophy about music and life, and his special energy which the audience that night had caught and passed around.

“Music is like a chain, beginning from God,” he explains, his dark eyes shining under his thick eyebrows. “I don’t mean religion – excuse me, my English is not …”

But we can understand him perfectly. He nods. “I mean, it comes from those – people – ‘above’ us. God gives music to the composer. Then as the interpreter, I have to join God, through the composer.”

Oddly enough, we literally saw just what he means: It was visible in the way his face expressed pleasure, agreement, surprise; and in his gentle swaying to the orchestra’s music. He communicated more than just the notes when he played his trumpet earlier that evening.

“Then I have a second job,” he continues. “That is to give what I have received from – again, something with No Name, a Force of the Universe – and the composer, and to give it to the audience. God, the composer, the interpreter, the audience: Without those four, it’s no good.”

But what about the more than 70 recordings he has made with no audience? Doesn’t that break the chain?

The Golias Orchestra features top musicians from the Czech National Symphony Orchestra

“No,” he says, then pauses, choosing his words. “It’s still there, it’s just put on pause, it’s just delayed until the listener plays the CD,” he says.

Although Mr Touvron enjoys the old composers – he likes playing Martinů’s Sonatina for trumpet and piano, and listening to Dvořák – he really enjoys exchanging ideas with contemporary composers. “They’re received something,” he explains, “and we can speak about it: ‘No, I prefer this sound instead of that one’ – according to the direct message the composer has gotten.”

Mr Touvron performs live in Prague about once a year and has made several recordings with the Prague Chamber Orchestra. Either way you hear Mr Touvron, it’s especially rewarding to make yourself the fourth link in his musical chain. – oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Top: Prague Proms; bottom, Miroslav Setnička

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