Going to the source of the symphony, with Anima Eterna
‘Working with Anima Eterna will open up a new world for me. I’ll have the opportunity to explore the history of music step by step from the perspective that historical instruments can provide, ultimately ending up in the twentieth century. With every work I conduct, I want to feel what came before it’.
A love of historical instruments and admiration of the great models of the historical performance practice movement run like connecting threads through Bart Van Reyn’s rich career path. The Flemish conductor attended countless rehearsals with greats like John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe and of course Jos van Immerseel. Since 2005 he has been experimenting with historical sounds with his own ensembles, Octopus and Le Concert d’Anvers. As the chief conductor of the Danish Radio Choir and as musical director of the Flemish Radio Choir, he has continued to develop his vocal language. With Anima Eterna, he now has his hands on a full-fledged, historically informed symphonic orchestra: an important new step for Van Reyn.
‘I’ve been a fan of Anima Eterna for more than twenty years. I have all their CDs, and I attended so many rehearsals as a beginning conductor. Yes, the first time conducting them is going to be really special’.
With Anima Eterna, Van Reyn will be taking a path he has dreamed of for a long time: tracking the evolution of the symphony from its first cautious steps in the eighteenth century to its mature, romantic form in the nineteenth century, using works by Johann Christian Bach, Mozart, Brahms and other composers. Bart Van Reyn sees this as a slow process. He aims to create time and space to really feel the evolution of the symphony in his fingers, always starting from the sounds from before a piece was written – just like his illustrious predecessors in historical performance practice did in their time.
‘It’s a huge gift to be allowed to stand on the shoulders of the previous generation. Not only do we inherit a mountain of knowledge about historical performance practice through them, we also have a huge pool of musicians now who really know what they’re doing. Our task is to continue the path of that earlier generation’.
Time and space: these are key words for Van Reyn. To reflect and to investigate. To grow and to marvel. The members of the orchestra are delving into the latest insights in performance practice, and Van Reyn is surprising them with the fresh and fiery spontaneity that is so unique to him. A new artistic alliance is in the making.