What wears leather, shaves half their head, wears doc martens, stays up all hours of the night screaming, sweats like a pig, and dances and walks like they’re always looking for a fight? Teodor Currentzis, composer. And he is insane.
Teodor works an orchestra like a tormentor waterboarding a source for secrets. He breaks them in like that second-hand store owner in Pulp Fiction. He often records pieces until 2–3 in the morning even if his orchestra, MusicAeterna, begs for sleep. But Teo don’t give a fuck. He’s going to get the best he can get from you, whether you want to or not. He’ll take a talented player and squeeze the living shit out of them until every ounce of precious talent oozes into his greedy little fucking mouth. Most of his players, in the end, say, “It was torture. It was gruelling. It’s the best I’ve played in my life.” Classical music usually has a certain way of playing pieces that have been established through time. But Teo don’t give a fuck. He looks into the page and goes directly into the zeitgeist of when that piece was written. In opera, he makes his singers get so into their characters that he’ll sacrifice tone and quality for authenticity every single time. People love or hate him. This is the most common phrase said about him. Sometimes, instead of conducting with his hands, he’ll just start dancing in the middle of the band like a punk rocker, well … a punk rocker with perfect timing. Cause, yep, that’s right, Teo don’t give a fuck. He’s not here for you. How could a giant audience or listener ever believe that? No, he’s here for the music.
Albums like this are accumulations of lifetimes and probably some of the more interesting interactions with insane characters that have ever been experienced. Would I be surprised if I one day read Teo drugged his entire orchestra? Not even in the slightest. In fact, I’m not even sure it would make the news. This motherfucker will do absolutely anything for his idea of perfection. In the end, this shit ends up tighter than a duck’s asshole. And, I have to say, bravo. The recording is precise. Each instrument is clear and audible. It’s romantic fucking music so it’s supposed to be over the top. So, if you want chill classical to play at work, this is not it. This is the result of hundreds of bleeding fingers, sleepless nights, and over the top egos and maniacs thrown in together in an hour. After the first 10 minutes, almost exactly, this piece takes off like a goddamn jet.
Symphony No. 6 from Tchaikovsky is very spirited. And with Teo driving the semi-truck of this fucking thing while spitting out the window, it’s twice as much. It’s a piece that is supposed to recreate the human life. What’s that? Ya. It’s supposed to recreate the human life. Shortly after Tchaikovsky wrote this, he died. And it might be this thing that fucking killed him. It’s an incredibly well-known piece, and this is one of my favourite versions of it even though it just came out last year. There are lots of pieces Teo shouldn’t play. But if you want a little punk rock meth-addicted speed freak added into your classical, he’s your man. And it’s exactly what Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 was begging for. It kept knocking on doors and getting answered by bored men offering out tea. When Teo finally opened the door, it was given a dozen dirty hookers, two garbage bags of meth, a bathtub full of cocaine, and a freezer full of vodka. Now it’s alive, greedy, and fun. Tchaikovsky is ready to jam. Open sesame.