Friday, 10 February 2012

Local Musicians and Artist Collaborate

“Summer Celebration” by Francine Gravel.  Some of Gravel’s paintings were on display at the concert 
Music of Our Time on Jan 29 at Saint Saviour’s Church in Penticton.

Musicians Antonia Mahon and Christine Purvis are faculty members of the Penticton Academy of Music

Whereas famous pieces of classical music that we know and love from TV commercials and movie themes wash over us with warm familiarity, when we think of modern instrumental music we cringe.  We anticipate dissonant chords and jarring rhythm changes.  Nothing could be further from the truth, say musicians Antonia Mahon and Christine Purvis, and concert-goers witnessed this for themselves at “Music of Our Time,” a concert on Jan 29th, that featured music of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It was the third in the 2011-12 Chamber Music at Saint Saviour’s concert series.

As an added attraction at this event, there was an exhibition and sale of selected paintings by well-known Okanagan artist Francine Gravel, with the artist in attendance.  Francine Gravel is a long-time friend of Antonia Mahon through numerous music connections, so the art-music collaboration was a natural.  Also, Gravel’s works often have a musical theme, with dream-like musicians painted in golden tones (see  Her work was featured on the posters advertising the Music of Our Time concert.  

Gravel herself had a close connection to music throughout her childhood, and subsequently through her own study of violin as an adult, and her marriage to pianist and composer, Dale Reubart.  As an artist married to a musician, she always attended rehearsals with a sketch book in hand.  “I did hundreds of drawings of musicians with all kinds of instruments… [and] eventually I could transmit the emotion I felt from the music into my work,” explains Gravel.  “I let my Muses guide me.  I do what I love and it is always coming from the heart.”

In planning their concert, musicians Antonia Mahon and Christine Purvis decided to build on the success of their 2011 sold-out performance for flute and organ held at the Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Summerland.  Whereas last year they played entirely Baroque music, in looking for something different this year, they made an interesting discovery.  “[It] would mean moving into the 20th and 21st centuries, as there was no organ and flute music written in the intervening 350 years!” explained Mahon.

Some of the selections from modern composers were easy to make, such as one by American composer, Lowell Liebermann, who according to Mahon is “one of America’s most frequently performed and recorded living composers.”  They played his Air Op 106 for flute and organ (2008).  Other pieces included Prayer of Saint Anselm (2011) by American composer Barbara Koenen Holm, Sonata da Chiesa (1938) by Swiss composer Frank Martin, Fantasia on “Down Ampney” for Flute and Organ (1996) by former UBC professor Elliot Weisgarber, and a few solo pieces for organ and one for flute.

For the final piece of the concert, Youtube lent a helping hand.  Mahon and Purvis located a composition for flute, string orchestra and harpsichord.  When they were able to preview it on Youtube played on flute and organ it sounded so good that they decided to go for it.  The piece is Suite Antique (1981) by well-known British choral composer and arranger, John Rutter.

“Although some of these pieces were written relatively recently, there is nothing discordant or ‘strange’ about any of them,” concluded Mahon.  “Modern music is nothing to be afraid of!”  For her part in the event, Francine Gravel donated 10% of the proceeds from any paintings sold to the church.  As she expressed it, “I feel that the Chamber Musicians need a good place to perform, and I am happy if this will give the community a chance to have more Chamber Music concerts in the future.”

A repeat performance of Music of Our Time will take place in April.   For further details, contact <>.

Written by vroomvroom

No comments:

Post a Comment