Concert “Music in the Gardens”
Patrick Scheyder (piano, France).
Performance by: Marie-Christine Barrault, Monique Scheyder (France).
Programme: Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann compositions. Hugo, Baudelaire, Ronsard, Sandi, Charpentrea and Goethe texts.
Producers: Prantsuse Instituut and Eesti Kontsert.

In an increasingly crisp November it is hard to imagine music in a garden: colourful blossoming flowers, cared-for flower beds, the bustling of insects and all the bright greenery, which comes to life in the spring. In the middle of November days have already become short, the supermarkets are filled with Christmas products and people are wearing thick layers of clothes. It seems as if gardens seize to exist until snow and the snow ploughing routine arrive. They exist somewhere at the background of life. And yet there is one that exists in a very visible place in the centre of the city – the Estonian National Opera’s Winter Garden. Straight from the city buzz, the bleak late autumn, I enter through its garden gates.
Created by the husband and wife Patrick Scheyder and Monique Scheyder the concert series “Music in the Gardens” unites music, literature and nature in a refreshing way. The French pianist Patrick Scheyder performs music from classics such as Schubert, Chopin, Bach and Mozart as well as his own works. He does this with a special kind of gracefulness and free interpretation. Actresses Marie-Christine Barrault and Monique Scheyder read out texts by famous writers such as Hugo, Baudelaire, Sand etc to accompany the music. Perhaps its wrong to say “accompany”, like it also says in the programme, because it is only with the excerpts that the concerts come truly together. I am sure I am right when I say that the excerpts have been carefully chosen. One wouldn’t exist without the other, at least it wouldn’t be as impressive. Every new word from the mouths of the actresses melts into the endless notes of the piano music and vice versa. Thanks to these ladies I can keep up with the French texts looking at the Estonian translation in the program and without knowing the language. During Scheyder’s two improvisations two students from Estonian Music and Theatre Academy accompany him on stage, making the whole show even richer. Luckily it doesn’t take anything away from the wholesome concert performance, which has been brought to stage in over 40 European cities – on the contrary, it makes it more colourful, a lush garden of music.
Estonian National Opera’s Winter Garden is a smart pick for a concert that deals with closeness with nature, although I imagine I would feel much more comfortable at the Botanical Gardens for the reason that the plants at the Winter Garden are scarce and the bleak hall with its stone floor fails to create a vision of a beautiful lush nature and life in its proximity – where the concert, on the other hand, succeeds in.
Not knowing what to expect from the concert at “The Gardens of Music”, it propelled me to take part of Scheyder’s improvisation workshop a day earlier at the EMTA. In the main discussion on the essence of improvisation two different approaches to improvisation emerged in the context of classical music. The professors and students of EMTA attending the workshop saw improvisational music as a certain collection of means which allows the musician to perform the music. Improvisation the way Scheyder performed it, was for the participants a melisma-filled interpretation of the music of classical masters. “Ornamentalism not improvisation”, someone said from the hall. However, Scheyder speaks of improvisation as a way to learn to listen to sounds and a sense of freedom, passed on from generation to generation; improvisation as a way to understand the world at the centre of which is sound. “Improvisation is a mental attitude,” he explained. Scheyder also talked about how great 20th century composers like Chopin and Debussy used to perform their own music, adding that composers allow themselves greater freedom in performing their own music than pianists later allow for themselves.
I don’t think I would have found my way to Patrick Scheyder’s improvisational piano concert on this Friday night in November, if simply because of the title “Music in the Gardens” (“Musique aux Jardins”), which doesn’t exactly stand out in the busy weekend culture schedule of Tallinn. On one hand it is nice to have such an abundance of events, but it also goes to show how powerful words can be. I am grateful, though, because it was this particular concert in that particular moment that rendered something more beautiful and a bit brighter in my world. The concert holds a very special place in the list of all the concerts I visited. Why? Harmony. Beauty. Charm. Wholesomeness. Freedom and pure aesthetics. Not a single drop of the deep and dark undercurrents of the human soul, no contradictions, pain or anything bitter this evening. People sometimes ask – why culture? Why the arts? Do you see now? If it were possible to be doing only this… Although one must deal with the undercurrents as well from time to time. At the same time I acknowledge that I am enthralled by emotions and not thinking rationally. But is it hurting anyone? Hardly! So let all blossoming moments come, I am yours! I step out into November again, into the streets and parkways with bare trees and lined with roads. I walk on, wearing headphones, to greet the winter, carrying a memory of a green spring evening in a late autumn night.