As a reflection of her artistic, music, pedagogical and spiritual work, Xenia Jankovic founded Inspirimus in 2010.With idea to inspire and connect through the power of music, power of nature, it is aimed as an educational-humanistic project.
Inspirimus Academy is a centre based in the vicinity of Berlin where different projects are going to take place, all sustained with very integral and wide-ranging approaches and systems of work, with ideas such as:
- gathering young artists and helping them to engage in art in a more personal and enthusiastic way
the influence of arts in life, community and education
inspiring and activating not only people who are interested in arts, but everyone else
through the social activities/artistic projects, trying to discover new ways of establishing this approach and way of thinking in society
- respecting the development of individuals and cultures with encouraging sharing of ideas
The phenomenon of stress, from which musicians suffer especially to cope with the enormous pressure during auditions and exams, is already known to the public. Complaints such as tinnitus, great tension and the widespread use of beta blockers are documented. What can we do about it, how can we find a good balance between making music and the desire for technical perfection?
In order to practice a holistic approach that allows young musician to structure the musical work and put it on a stable basis, I have developed a method. The intellectual knowledge is combined with intuition and imagination, with the aim of playing the music as it was created by the composers. In this way, the joy of making music, and also of practicing, is increased many times over.
Through the application of this method, one learns to understand subtle artistic processes and to observe and practice one’s own mental and emotional attitudes
The lively musical exchange in practice between professors and students is enormously important and enriching. We are lucky to be able to make music very well together as cellists among ourselves. Cello can imitate all instruments quite well: Flutes, violins, oboes, horns, and double basses. So I practice studying complex symphonic works with the class, which we work on together for our cello ensemble to work through thoroughly and practice together. In this way, we have studied the most important cello concertos in depth over the past few years, edited them, and performed them with solo cello and 7 cellist orchestra. All students and I play alternately as soloists and in the cello orchestra. Our arrangements have already aroused great interest in cellist circles. With the Shostakovich concerto, we had more than a million clicks on Instagram. The well-known sheet music platform Nkoda will publish our arrangements.
CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin or Cello Sonata in A major (1886)
The violin sonata by César Franck was his wedding gift to the violinist Eugene Ysaye, and was presented to him on the morning of this special day, on 26th of September 1886. In that same period Franck was working on one of his most beautiful works, the Symphonic Poem Psyche for Orchestra and Choir.
As Franck mentioned to his pupil Arthur Coquard, he had been contemplating Psyche over many years in his mind, and composed it in his vacation retreat at Combs-la-Ville- Quincy over the summer of 1886, together with the violin sonata.
The story of Psyche is drawn from the second century Metamorphoses of Lucius Apuleius, which tells of Greek god Eros’ nocturnally veiled love for the mortal Psyche, Psyche’s wish to behold her lover face to face, and the lovers’ parting and then reconciliation. In Franck’s retelling, Psyche first dreams of Eros, then she is carried by zephyrs (gentle winds) to Eros’ secret garden, where they spend many wonderful nights together. Psyche is warned that she must never seek to see the face of her mysterious lover. But she does not obey, and thus loses Eros. The aftermath of her transgression is very dramatic; Aphrodite sets her impossible tasks, but due to Psyche’s unbounded love she receives help from Zeus and becomes a goddess herself. The story ends with the wonderful reunion of Psyche and Eros and their wedding.
In my personal reading, the music of this sonata also inhabits the world of this wonderful myth:
1st Movement: Psyche and Eros, their nocturnally veiled love.
2nd Movement: Psyche’s transgression, suffering and love.
3rd Movement: Aphrodite’s tasks, Psyche’s transformation
4th Movement: Psyche and Eros again together, their wedding, divine power.
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Cello Sonata Op.65 (1845-47)
From 1838 to 1847 Frédéric Chopin was in a romantic relationship with George Sand, who was a very famous French writer at that time. It was a relationship between a strong, extravagant, pragmatic woman and a sensitive, delicate man. Throughout his life Chopin had quite a sensitive, weak body and unstable health. He was not especially well organized in his everyday life, and spent most of his time teaching in high class society in Paris. Luckily, for several years he had the practical and emotional support of George Sand. He was mostly composing in Nohant, her country house, where he did not have to teach and where he felt physically and emotionally well enough to work. At the time when he was working on the cello sonata in 1845 they started to have bigger conflicts, mainly because of her children. (Chopin was very protective towards Sand’s daughter Sol.) 1846 was the last summer he was in Nohant.
The Cello Sonata Op. 65 turned to be Chopin’s last opus, written between 1845-47 in Nohant and Paris. This wonderful work is his only duo sonata. We know from the letters to his family that the process of writing was not easy (there are more then 200 pages of sketches), because he was looking for the perfect fusion between such different instruments.
In my opinion, Chopin felt that the best inspiration for writing for the cello is the voice, the Lied. Perhaps this is why he chose the cello for his duo sonata, and why the piece was such a success. The sonata is not only an enrichment for the cello repertoire, but also for the chamber music in general – it is such a wonderful example of combining or even “melting” a string instrument with the piano.
Right at the beginning of the cello sonata we hear the motive from the first song of Winterreise by Franz Schubert. The harmonies in the third movement of the cello sonata are the same as in Frauenleben und Liebe by Robert Schumann. Can it all be just a coincidence ? I don’t believe so. I think Chopin did know these songs and felt very connected to the world of Lied, he just did not have yet time or courage to develop and publish his own songs. The music of his cello sonata is also closely related to his own beautiful and unknown songs (op. posthum 74). He asked his friend to destroy after his death all the manuscripts of the songs he had written during his life. But fortunately for us, with the permission of Chopin’s family, some of these precious and beautiful songs were published posthumously. Many sad songs with texts about ‘Polish destiny’ under Russian occupation, about injustice, death, melancholy, songs about love, unhappy love and some light and funny songs.
The characters of the four movements of Chopin’s Cello Sonata could be described like the characters or stories in his songs:
1st Movement: Wayfarer destiny (like at the beginning of Schubert’s Winterreise) – Chopin’s wayfarer story looking back at his life, singing about injustice, love, generosity, pride, sadness, passion, patriotism.
2nd Movement: Dramatic Scherzo – alternating dancing and menacing moments. Trio – untroubled, comforting and openhearted waltz.
3rd Movement: Song from the deepness of the soul, conversation with death.
4th Movement: Tarantella/Rondo – alternately anxious, restless dance, beautiful song from his childhood and happy, light tarantella. The end is in G Major, happy and free.
The films of the Bach Cello Suites were made in the Church of St. George in Staro Nagoricane, North Macedonia. Built in the 14th century, this church is considered one of the finest examples of Christian churches of its time and is situated on the border between Macedonia and Serbia.
As a child I visited many old and beautiful churches in former Yugoslavia with my father, who was a choral conductor and a great admirer of the fresco art. The atmosphere of orthodox monasteries and churches like Studenica, Sopocani or Staro Nagoricane, as well the sound of the choral music which I heard there, stayed in my heart and had a profound influence on my imagination and experience of art and music in general.
When I first started to play Bach at the age of 7, I imagined playing it in these churches. I immediately sensed (and learned about) the deep connection which Bach’s music has to religion and the bible. For me, this world was in these churches. The powerful and colourful frescos would come to life and could speak to me. This was in 1960s and 70s during the communist era; I lived in Belgrade and Moscow, where any connection to religion and the church had to be hidden.
Even in the last 30 years, I faced another problem in my wish to play Bach in one of these churches: that the Orthodox Church forbids instrumental music; only singing is allowed. After several unsuccessful attempts I had to accept that this was impossible, but still held on to the dream of doing so one day. Finally, miraculously, it became possible for me to record in this church – just for a single day! I feel extremely lucky and grateful that I was able to get permission to record these films in one day in the exceptional Church of St. George in Staro Nagoricane.
The limitation of one day and one church turned out to be just right for this project. In the films we see always the same church and frescos, but at different times of the day and with changing atmospheres inside, according to the character of the particular suite. To me personally, each fresco has many layers and varied meanings, which gradually came to me through seeing and experiencing them in different periods of my life. In listening to the music and seeing the images in this film it is not necessary to know which fresco is shown and why; the approach could be more like that of the Orthodox church service – simply emotional surrender.