Pierre-Laurent Aimard sees the light

George Benjamin’s Fantasy on Iambic Rhythm is captured as kinetic art above. I make no apologies for returning to the path of seeing the music, which now takes us from Janis Joplin's Porsche, via a photo-choreographed Mà Vlast, to the current Aldeburgh Festival. On June 22nd Pierre-Laurent Aimard is giving a Piano Colours recital at Snape with kinetic artist Norman Perryman; here is the Festival brochure's preview of this classical 'happening' - "'Perryman describes his art as ‘kinetic painting’ – painted on glass and projected on to big screens by overhead projectors, his continuously shifting semiabstract expressionist visuals are a synchronised commentary on the evocative imagery of Liszt, Scriabin’s extraordinarily rich harmonic palette, and George Benjamin’s rhythmic transformations. Binding these together and left unadorned are Debussy’s Preludes – songs without words, canvases of the imagination".

The screen grab above is from a rehearsal for the Aldeburgh recital, and the multi-media programme is also being performed at the Helsinki Festival in August and Salzburg Mozarteum in November. More essential background on Norman Perryman's own blog, which also contains this insight into classical music's ability to challenge concert hall conventions:

'Reactions to my live kinetic painting can be anything from the begrudging “Perryman’s visuals didn’t detract from the music” (the purist classical music critic) to “His visuals really gave us an insight into this difficult music” (the curious and pleasantly surprised critic). You also get grumbles from old Aunt Bessie, who didn’t look at the programme: “Came to hear Beethoven and I had to watch kinetic painting with Stravinsky”.'
So classical music is gradually seeing the light. Janet Joplin's Porsche and Bill Haim's Liquid Light Show featured here four years ago, and in that post I asked "But, shouldn't we be making classical music more visual to attract younger audiences?" Also in 2009 I showcased Alexander Lauterwasser's use of cymatics to graphically portry the music of Boulez and Stockhausen. Three years ago Jonathan Harvey said in an interview, and not to universal acclaim, "The future must bring things which are considered blasphemous", and two years ago Aldeburgh's early experiments with adding visual slam to classical music were reported here. And now photo-choreography is going mainstream at Snape, Helsinki and Salzburg.

So what is going to win new audiences? Lang Lang playing butchered Gershwin, or literally giving concertgoers an insight into challenging music? I know where my vote goes... Listen to Pierre-Laurent Aimard talking to me about Elliott Carter here.

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Pliable said…
More on music and the visual here, with a mention of Norman Perryman in a comment from Vanessa Lann - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2006/01/lorgue-mystique-images.html

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