Spirit

Dispelling the myths: what we are not

We are not just a group of musicians who play together without a conductor. Such groups already exist, often with a concertmaster who acts as conductor, rehearsing, leading and cueing the orchestra.

We are not a group who does impromptu flash mob performances as a publicity gimmick, although we do enjoy playing in unusual venues, reaching new audiences beyond the traditional concert hall.

We are not a group who rehearses intensively to produce a safe and beautiful concert. We rehearse so that we can learn together and between us build a common conception of the piece - one which we can then share with our audiences.

Who we are

We are a group of committed and passionate professional musicians who want to study music together – "a musical laboratory".

What is this musical laboratory?

It is Spira mirabilis. The numbers of players studying on each project may change – that is determined by the repertoire.

But what never changes are the reasons and integrity of our work together.

Why did we start Spira mirabilis?

In September 2007 we opened our "professional laboratory".

We needed an outlet to express our creative ideas.

And to our surprise, we found that our new kind of music making attracted an international audience, one that was seeking something beyond the traditional concert format.

Getting rid of the clichés

We are not just an orchestra working without a conductor. We are fortunate to be working with some of the greatest Maestros outside of Spira, and it is from them that the inspiration of Spira mirabilis evolved.

We are not just an orchestra following the direction of the Leader.

We are a group of musicians who have found a third way.

What is this third way?

It is one where the musical interpretation is the responsibility of each individual within Spira mirabilis. Every single musician comes to the first rehearsal having studied the complete score, and amassed as much information on the piece as possible. It is what a great conductor will do in preparation for his first rehearsal and it is what we, as a democratic collective, emulate.

How do we rehearse?

Together, as a group, each contributing his or her musical ideas. Debate – and sometimes arguments – are lively, but we enjoy this process which continues for days on end until we reach a unified musical consensus based on a common way of reading and interpreting the score. It is a very slow process.

Also on period instruments?

Studying classical - early romantic repertoire on period instruments is a crucial ingredient for our work, allowing us to build a deeper common understanding of that language.

And the result?

Creatively, this has to be very strong to avoid being incoherent, a mosaic of our different ideas all blended into a cohesive whole. We work tirelessly until we achieve this. We don’t think of this as something final: it is a musical snapshot as we are constantly evolving.

Why do we do it?

The answer is what makes this project unique to us.

We don't rehearse to prepare a concert. We rehearse to learn and build a common interpretation of a score. The time we spend together studying and experimenting is the raison d'être of Spira mirabilis.

We take risks in what we do and how we do it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

But we always do things for a reason.

What is so risky?

For example, in the middle of a concert, one player could take a spontaneous initiative and the rest of the group reacts to it.

We can take this risk only because of our shared understanding of each other’s musical taste and language. This is high risk - but exhilarating.

Why only one piece?

In order to have as much time as possible so that we can delve deep into the score.

Our way of working is very slow.

But every time we play a work, whether in rehearsal or performance, it becomes a very special and intimate experience of a masterpiece.

What do audiences think?

They have responded enthusiastically, eager to come back, wanting to listen to more. They share our ideas, react to them, question us, respond back. By performing just one work, we give our audiences the chance to concentrate and understand. Instead of saturating a need for music, we are truly creating it. It is, perhaps, the start of their own musical journey.

Where do we perform?

Right from the start, we took the decision that we would work outside the mainstream musical circuit. We looked for isolated venues, sometimes street corners and market places, where we could play to audiences who had probably never heard the piece before and therefore had no preconceptions. This was not done as a media gimmick, but as a genuine desire to inspire audiences unused to classical music with the sheer love and energy of performance.

Do you never play in concert halls?

Yes we do. We hope, now, to have found the ideal solution. The core of our work remains in small towns like the Italian Formigine, but from there we go out into the big world and play in other small towns, in different venues and concert halls. Above all, we love having direct contact with new audiences, gauging their reactions and response to our fresh way of making music.

Formigine

This small Italian town near Modena very generously offered us the chance to have a permanent rehearsal base – and such is their commitment to us that they have now built us our own concert hall.

How we reach out to the people of Formigine

In Formigine we meet several times a year for intense periods of study and rehearsal. And we find that here we can connect directly with the local population, establishing human relations and experiences which find their way into the concert performance. It is always extremely moving when we can touch people with no previous involvement in classical music.

Our audience, our future

We were not looking for a new audience for classical music but we think we have found one – a virgin one, eager to discover and know more about it. Now, more than ever, we feel we are truly being listened to.

This is the spirit of Spira mirabilis.

Spira mirabilis

Spira mirabilis is a mathematical form or geometric figure which has the peculiar characteristic that, whatever its size, it is always superimposable on itself.

Next Project

Beethovenfest Bonn

02/09/2022 - Beethoven-Haus Bonn (Bonn - Germany)
02/09/2022 - Collegium Leoninum (Bonn - Germany)
08/09/2022 - Pantheon Theatre (Bonn - Germany)
09/09/2022 - Rhein-Sieg-Forum (Siegburg - Germany)

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