August 3 2010
The response to our Heaven and Hell concert at Belconnen Arts Centre was fantastic – thanks to all those who were able to attend. Everyone in The Griffyn Ensemble, felt that it was certainly a defining performance for us, and we hope to have opportunities to perform the works again in the near future. Kiri performed my piccolo concerto beautifully, and you can read a couple of reviews of the piece here. I’ll be posting some video footage of the performance shortly.
Perhaps the biggest endorsement of the concert was the gesture from mentor Jim Cotter, who after the concert passed on as a gift to the Ensemble his first edition copy of George Giannaris Mikis Theodorakis – Music and Social Change. Anyone who knows Jim will know that his passion both for first edition books (particularly on music and textiles) is unrivaled, so we were all very touched that he passed on such a treasured possession in response to the concert. For me, for so many reasons, Theodorakis stands out as one of the world’s greatest living artists. Check out this beautiful song Χαρταετοί from Yitonia ton Angelon. In a different vein to the Crumb and Górecki we performed last week, but all music that makes you happy to be alive.
Our Griffyn activity now moves towards our next project, The Griffyn American Songbook, which will hopefully uncover some not-so-known connections between so-called American ‘art’ and ‘folk/pop’ music. One interesting piece of trivia for those who may have attended some Griffyn concerts in the past – you may remember quite a few pieces we have played by the great Mexican avant gardist Silvestre Revueltas.
Well, one of Revueltas students was the great film composer Alex North, who of course will be forever immortalised for through the following hit (sung by Perry Como in 1955):
Through understanding that the divide between ‘art’ and ‘folk/pop’ music is only an historical accident, the closer we come, as a society, to creating art that both reflects and influences culture in a meaningful way. At least I hope that is the case.