Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.
Attendees of the opening of the annual Mozart Week in Salzburg, Austria, this year received quite a treat, courtesy of the combination of music and horses.
A dozen horses from the equestrian academy at Versailles preformed patterns arranged by legendary French horse choreographer Bartabas to the sounds of French-American conductor Marc Minkowski’s direction of Mozart’s cantata “Davide Penitente.”
The setting could not be more stunning or appropriate. The horses preformed inside an arena at Salzburg’s 17th-century former “rock riding school”, which was later transformed into a concert hall. On opening night, the horses had center stage, while the orchestra and choir appeared in three stories of stone arcades that were backlit and carved into a mountainside.
The entire performance was the brainchild of conductor Marc Minkowski, who counts music as his first passion and horses a close second. “The horse is a naturally musical animal,” Minkowski told Reuters, “his rhythm is already musical and he’s the best interpreter, the best dancer, you can find – of course with a decent rider.”
And Minkowski adds that the link between horses and music should come as no surprise, since some of the same architects who designed riding schools built the first concert venues. We at 100% Sound could not agree more with Mr. Minkowski, and would add that this tradition is still alive and well on polo fields, racetracks, and the like across the land. And we only wish that a trip to Salzburg had been on our January calendar!