This weekend marks the year anniversary of the Aspects of Landscape exhibition, right before Doug and I returned to England. A year into the pandemic and at last, signs of life are emerging. One of these months Doug and I will get our 'Fauci ouchies' and then... be able to at least have small dinner gatherings with vaccinated friends. There's still plenty of stages before we emerge back into public life. But as we are, ourselves, still burrowing up from below the dirt, some green is poking through already. More music and projects are on the horizon, including continuing the thread of the Hitchens creative correspondence.
Revisiting Old Grounds
I encourage you to revisit the post from last year that summed up Doug's and my trip to England, just to refresh on the creative correspondence. The threads of paintings and music inspiring each gains new threads all the time it seems, so while it is John's turn to weave the next strand in our string of From Sombre Lands-inspired pieces, John took on rendering my English countryside-inspired string orchestra piece Grounds into paint.
A year to the day after the having the chance to perform one of my pieces for solo piano in front of this marvelous painting, I finally completed drafting my answer to John's creative response. Grounds, Retraced is a roughly 9.5 minute string orchestra piece that aspires to capture the sweep, gentleness, and luminosity of this gorgeous painting. Begun in mid-January, this has continued the string (har har) of pieces for bowed string instruments that I composed in 2021. It was a challenge to find the voice of the world of Grounds again, especially immediately following the voices I have embodied in my recent projects: the expressionism of the Persephone pieces, the genre-specific satire of Healthy Holly, the wedding piece for my sister Holly, the mannered humor of Trifle. Returning to the shimmered simplicity of Grounds was itself a journey, creating a piece that connected to the original but retained its own identity, and, most of all, had the kind of formal fluidity of the original. With so many recent, highly structured pieces, it took effort to 'learn to relax' enough in the sunshine and oxygen of the West Sussex hills, fields, and rhododendron jungles. It will be a while yet before it will be safe for a string ensemble to perform it, but I can't wait for that chance!
Save The Date: Celebration of Spring Piano Livestream, 7pm EDT Sunday March 28th
As the hours of daylight are (at last) lengthening, I will be putting on another livestream concert to play in spring. While I may be competing with other events, as it is both Passover AND Palm Sunday, I hope you'll have a few moments around 7pm EDT on Sunday, March 28th to tune in for a listen. You can either set yourself a reminder through this YouTube link. Or you can return to this blog post and use this embedded video to play it at the right time.
Colleague Spotlight: The Bergamot Quartet
One of the disadvantages to having a minimal social media presence is missing some things, but better late than never! I have just learned about the brilliant Bergamot Quartet's virtual festival, Bergafest, with events happening all throughout March, including one event tomorrow night (March 15 at 7pm EDT): a mini-concert from their residency at Gloucester Arts on Main. I have worked with the Bergamot Quartet in the past as well as with individual members from as far back as the distance Precambrian days of my Peabody degree and they are truly special interpreters of instrumental music and real movers and shakers in contemporary chamber music. You won't want to miss (any more of) their (upcoming) programming!
Everyone keep staying safe. We're nearly part of the way through the first stage of getting through!