Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrations in New Orleans

Two events combining music and visual arts occurred recently in New Orleans. A two hours concert at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, featuring music composed by Matt Lemmler at the occasion of the museum's 10th anniversary, titled "Southern Sonatas and Songs in Celebration of the Ogden of Southern Art's 10 Year Anniversary" and inspired by works from its permanent collection, like a painting from Clementine Hunter for What a Friend We Have in Jesus/ SolaceLynda Benglis and Eudora Welty for Angels or the entire collection of the museum for Colors of the Wind with a total of sixteen diverse pieces played by Matt Lemmler's band. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Wassily Kandinsky listening to Schoenberg's music created famous abstract pieces and explored synesthesiaArnold Schoenberg established a relationship between colors and notes. In this venue, the opposite occurs with compositions rhythmically and musically in harmony with a painting from the museum. I hope that a recording will be available in the future. The musicians should be commended for their performance sometimes hampered by the poor acoustics of the museum's hall.
 The following week, NOCCA started its concert season with The Art of Music, an event combining visual art and music, even dance. The Faubourg Quartet started with an impressionistic piece from Debussy followed by the String Quartet No.4 (Buczak) from Philip Glass performed along a poignant video from Michel Varisco Currents displayed on a giant screen. The next piece At the Octoroon Balls from Winton Marsalis brought energy with its rhythms in sink with the frenetic brushstrokes from Ayo Scott (or vice versa) filmed painting Motive, inspired by Hellbound Highball.
The iconic charcoal on paper from Ron Bechet For my Fathers was a great backdrop for the group of dancers on the stage. Inspired by to my father from Tania León, the large work links the natural and spiritual world and the dancers added another dimension to the dynamic piece from Bechet.
To close the show, Just a Closer Walk with Thee with Ellis Marsalis at the piano was a tribute to John Scott, known for his "Jazz thinking" when creating his musical sculptures or paintings. Photographs of works from the artist were projected in the background reminding us of his legacy. Ellis Marsalis concluded the evening sharing stories about his longtime friend John Scott.

... only in New Orleans.

photographs by the author

" Panorama of Baptism on Cane River", Clementine Hunter, 1945
"Circle Dance: Treme Cornice", John Scott, 2001
photograph, Michel Varisco

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