During World War II, Koprivnica synagogue was devastated.
The partially salvaged and preserved liturgical items are today part of the permanent exhibition of Koprivnica City Museum. The synagogue’s organ, however, was rescued and moved to the five-hundred-metre distant Franciscan church of St Anthony of Padua. It is still there, and is fully in use. Prompted by this particular fact, I conceived the performance For a Beginning.
In the empty Church of St Anthony of Padua, the camera shoots PavaoMašić playing on the organ. Image and sound are transmitted live via Web streaming to a large screen put up in Koprivnica Old Synagogue. In the midst of the synagogue, a thousand oranges are glimmering. Pavao is playing. A hundred or so people are sitting in the penumbra. I am squeezing the oranges. The air is redolent of their scent. The pure, clear sound of the organ is in the ether. On my right is a big picture of Pavao on the screen… Before us, there are forty five minutes for a new beginning. Six compositions for organ, a hundred glasses of fresh juice. And then, the playing stops. I leave the oranges alone, wipe my hands, take up a glass, and approach the people. I treat each person individually with freshly squeezed orange juice. I bring the evening to an end. At the way out of the synagogue, I say farewell to the people as they leave. End of performance.
In that evening, after seventy two years, the synagogue has heard the sound of the organ again. After the performance, many of the listeners mentioned this to me. Among them, a lady whose father was once the cantor in the Koprivnica synagogue. I think about the kindness of the Koprivnica Franciscans. With the loan of the organ, they contributed to the evocation of a historical sketch. The execution of the performance unfolded exactly as had been imagined at the beginning.
Fantasy in C minor
EsisteinRos’ entsprungen, op.122
Pierre Du Mage
Suite du premier ton (1er Livre d’Orgue, 1708)
Andantino in D major (Pièces posthumes)
Offertoire ou Communion in E minor (L’Organiste)
Sortie in F major (L’Organiste)
The performance For a Beginning was executed on October 11, 2013, in the Koprivnica Old Synagogue
Organ works selected and played by: Pavao Mašić
Camera, web stream, postproduction: Miran Krčadinac
Photography, camera: Boris Cvjetanović
Translation: Graham McMaster
The project For a Beginning was funded with resources from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the City Office for Education, Culture and Sport of the City of Zagreb, Koprivnica Municipal Museum and the City of Koprivnica.