Monday, 19 November 2012

Liquid colours in Salzburg Mozarteum Dialogues Festival

Liquid colours in Salzburg Mozarteum Dialogues Festival

Großer Saal der Stiftung Mozarteum

Performing in the grand Concertgebouw is always quite an experience, but the large hall of the Salzburg Mozarteum (above) appears to be even more elaborately decorated. No, sorry, we can’t hang your screen from the ceiling. Yes, we can raise the large chandeliers a bit. Psst! Don’t even mention the danger of splashing paint on to that stage! (It won’t happen). I can’t help a naughty giggle, thinking of the shocking moment when my projections will escape “out of the box” (screen) and the paint will appear to spread all over those oh-so-splendid walls. My hat goes off to the adventurous Festival director Matthias Schulz, for bringing an artist’s work-table, paints, jam-pots an’ all, into this distinguished Mozart shrine. I think Wolfgang Amadeus would have loved it - it’s almost opera.

Welcome to Salzburg. No, this isn’t the famous Salzburg Festival, but the contemporary festival of the Mozarteum Foundation. The Dialogues festival was established to celebrate the Mozart Year in 2006. “It’s primarily aimed at an audience which is open to a controversial, contemporary take on new and classical music. For this purpose, the festival invites contemporary artists from the disciplines of music, dance, literature, fine arts, and film. This interdisciplinary approach of the Dialogues festival seeks to move beyond the traditional concert protocol and develop unusual, powerful listening situations.”

The Piano Colours programme with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and my live kinetic painting fits into this concept perfectly. Our dialogue is between colour and sound. Pierre-Laurent’s painterly interpretation of Debussy’s Preludes reveal the composer’s genius at creating images in sound: he doesn’t need me to paint to that music. But these pieces are cleverly juxtaposed with works by Liszt, Scriabin, Tristan Murail and George Benjamin. And that’s where I come in, with visual harmony. 

Oh goodness – the composer Murail himself will be in the hall, watching for the first time the kinetic visuals I shall create to his beautifully resonant Cloches d’adieu, et un sourire (In memoriam Olivier Messiaen). It’s always a tense moment, wondering how a composer will react to my treatment of his “off-spring”. Well, I have Pierre-Laurent on my side. (Liszt and Scriabin can’t comment right now).

November 30th will be a long day: unload, set up and fine-tune projection gear, paints, brushes at 8.00 am, rehearse with PLA, rest, performance at 7.30pm, then right after the concert a verbal dialogue with the audience. Then, if I’m still alive, no doubt a stimulating discussion over a fine meal with some of the brightest brains in music today. More inter-disciplinary dialogue is exactly what classical music needs right now, as Bob Singleton has been telling us for ages in his blogs.

And this day is just one event in an intriguing festival. Can’t wait to get involved! See you there? For more details and tickets, go to:

Dialogues Festival - Piano Colours, November 30th. 7.30pm. Stiftung Mozarteum, Schwarzstrasse 26, Salzburg.


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