Music and dance resonating in Helsinki Baroque Orchestra’s concert

I dare to say it is an achievement in the field of art when a renowned orchestra of baroque music welcomes “another” art form to the same stage, venturing to challenge their sophisticated black-suit-varnished-shoes-audience with a new perspective on music masterpieces. Helsinki Baroque Orchestra under conduction of Aapo Häkkinen together with special guest tenor Werner Güra, Helena Romppanen’s dance and Kriistina Helin’s installation created an alive evening on the stage of Helsinki Music Centre.

The figure of Romppanen’s body, attached to a real birch tree with fresh green leaves, shows up in the delicate light on the side of orchestra’s ensemble. While the vital orchestra’s sound resonates through the whole conductor’s being and finds the respond in his expressive and eloquent body language, Romppanen’s movements on the contrast are hardly noticeable. As long as a durational symphony of Josef Martin Kraus lasts, it takes for her tree to go all the way down to the floor and rise up again.

Undoubtedly the music’s infectious vitality resonates in the whole dancer’s being as well, but at a different frequency, I suppose.

Helena Romppanen introduces a slow movement meditation dance called Bisoku, what means “subtle speed” in Japanese. Bisoku is one of the modes of Butoh dance, which requires total body awareness of moves from one position to another, the awareness of every change in the body weight and shifting the balance. The dancer moves not only slowly, but also lets all the body parts have equal speed.

Among numerous vigorous and virtuosic orchestra’s violins, flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and timpani, I feel a strong sympathy towards a single tree on the side, but at the same time I admire its solidity and powerful presence.
Romppanen’s Bisoku dance is echoed with Kriistina Helin’s installation in the second part of the event. On the big screen right over the musicians’ heads the rotten flowers perform a reversive dance of turning back into fresh colorful bouquet as an attribute of baroque-style still life. Such marvelous technology effect for so-popularized-nowadays-idea to bring the viewer’s focus into the present moment was made from Helin’s words by setting the camera to shoot the composition every 40 seconds for about a month. On the stage in the reversive picture in a hardly visible motion it takes for those faded stems and drooped buds to attain the initial image as long as another durational symphony of Franz Schubert lasts.

For a few moments I forget about the numerous vigorous and virtuosic orchestra’s violins, flutes, oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets and timpani and get charmed with the journey to original inspiration of life.
The whole evening on the stage of Helsinki Music Centre has become a multidimensional space where an open and curious viewer could experience a different sense of timing, diverse interactions of energy flows, contrasting motion speed and “another” quality of movement.

In addition to audible and visual pleasure it is only an open and curious viewer who could fully join the artists in the celebrative event of aliveness.

Maria Prokhorova

Writer is a dancer, who tries out different ways of viewing and reviewing dance.
Werner Güra & Helsinki Baroque Orchestra
Kraus, Schubert

Werner Güra, tenor
Helsinki Baroque Orchestra
Aapo Häkkinen, artistic director
Kristiina Helin, video installation
Helena Romppanen, dance
Vincent Bakkum, installation setting

Huippusolistit -sarjan konsertti 10.5.2016

Photo: Teemu Lampinen