Because of all the shortages in the cultural section, there was no money to pay train tickets for the group, a bus was hired instead. So a very uncomfortable trip started: where to place the legs, as this bus really was not a long distance bus. But good will and some pepper vodka helped me through the night.
I like to go by bus, because you have the chance to see more of the everyday-life, but at night? I just fetched a glance of the beautiful town of Yaroslawl and then tried to fall asleep. We arrived in Vologda in the early morning and got rooms and breakfast in the former 'Hotel of the Communist Party'. Good standard.
This is the third time now, that I came to Vologda, and every time it rained. This is quite northern climate already and winter comes early. As Moscow is quite 'modern' now, Vologda still has the charme of a sleepy russian beauty. If your look isn't so poetic, you will notice that there are nearly no streets, only water puddles. Pedestrians developed a special style to jump over this water holes when shopping in the city center.
I walked through the city, while the musicians rested or rehearsed. As the range of goods is a good index for the quality of life, you can study the changes in the russian economy very well if you visit department stores or other shops. And especially in the small provincial cities, where modernization wasn't so successfull, there is still a chance to find some typical russian products, let it be toys or writing materials or beautiful russian tea cups. (Jason Hwang awarded me a 'master degree in russian shopping' later in Arkhangelsk).
Vologda belongs to the Russian Golden Ring, like, f.e., Yaroslawl. It is a very old place with an old Kremlin and many old churches, mostly along the Suchona River. The name Vologda means Light in an old finno-ugrian dialect.
The Vologda Kremlin hosts many churches and a beautiful museum. This place is also used very often for folklore festivals and concerts. So the Russian TV spreads Vologda's beauty all around Russia. But today I couldn't enjoy the beauty as much as I liked to because I had to be aware of every step I made: water everywhere! When I find time, I will add more information about the history and the buildings of Vologda.
The evening concert was the second concert in a three days festival, dedicated to Sergej Kuryokhin and Dmitry Pokrovsky. The local organizer, Edvard Sivkov, who is member of the Moscow Composers' Orchestra, was not successfull enough in collecting money for the festival. So the promised fee for the artists could not be paid and there was no money for advertising left.
The evening was was opened by the St. Peterburg Duo, Vladimir Volkow and Slava Gaivoronski.
The audience in Vologda is difficult, most of the people come because there is no other entertainment, and some of them are drunken already before the concert starts. But the duo was a good 'opener' for the delicate music of Vladimir Tarasov, Jason Hwang and Peter Veale. Their composed and improvised music demanded great attentiveness and found an agitated audience.
After this great performance, the attentiveness of the audience (and of the technical staff) was finished. During the perfomance of Heinz-Erich Gödecke's project Under the Wood, the light engineer 'changed the train' and started to torture the actors and the audience with his stupid disco-light-effects. So, a lot of effect of this interesting performance was lost. The artists (Cornelia Georgus and Oleg Soulimenko, dance, Heinz-Erich Gödecke, didjeridoo, trombone and gongs, Stephan Kersting and Reinhart Hammerschmidt, double bass) were really unsatisfied. The only consolation was that the situation in Arkhangelsk, the next station, would be better, for sure.
Because of the packed timetable, we had to take the train to Arkhangelsk the same night. We couldn't stay until the end of the festival as the festival in Arkhangelsk started the very next day and some of the artists had to perform at the first evening there. (As we were told later, this last evening performance in Vologda really had the right spirit, Sainkho Namtchylak's performance, spontaneous improvisations on the stage and the concert of Dieter Glawischnig and Andreas Schreiber brought Kuryokhin's spirit on stage.)
At 3.00 p.m. a bus brought us to the train station. Our group of 13 people got beds in the same wagon, but we didn't get empty coupés. We had to share the coupé with sleeping people, who were very amazed about these new 'neighbours' with so strange luggage like gong cases and trombone cases, which had to be stored in the nearly dark of the train.
Exhausted and tired, we spent the night and the day relaxing, drinking tea and eating cookies. No one of us went to the train restaurant, but we heard a lot of interesting stories about it.
My russian underwent a hard proof, but I managed. Later, this man turned to the wall and fall into sleep. The wodka was stronger than his curiosity.
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