East Meets West: Ny Wind Quintet
This New York-based classical quintet mixes it up in Monterey.
Thursday, January 23, 2003
The members of Windscape, the wind quintet playing in Monterey on Wednesday, Jan. 29, aren''t so very different from the average Joe standing in an art gallery: They don''t know much about art, but they know what they like. Unlike Joe, they''ve taken their fancies and woven them into a unique musical/visual program that demonstrates the links between Asian art and music on Western impressionist painters and composers.
Wednesday''s program, "East Meets West: The Music of Japan and the Impressionists," consists of French Impressionistic and contemporary Japanese music played by the group, while a slide montage of French and Japanese art is simultaneously projected.
"We''re not art historians or curators," says Frank Morelli, the group''s bassoonist. "''East Meets West'' is the impression that the art had on us as lovers of this art."
Musical works on Wednesday''s program include two anonymously written pieces, "Two Deer Calling" and "Sky Meditation," as well as Claude Debussy''s "Three Preludes," "The Sea in Spring" by Michio Miyagi, Maurice Ravel''s "Mother Goose Suite" and "Tombeau de Couperin," and Olivier Messaien''s "Prelude No.1." The slides being projected consist principally of Japanese woodblock prints and a variety of French Impressionists.
"We also speak to the audience during our program about what we''ve learned about the painters," says Morelli. "They were often collectors of the woodblock prints. And we know that Debussy and Ravel heard Asian music at the World Exposition [in 1889] at the opening of the Eiffel Tower and they were influenced by it."
Morelli points out that the connection of art to music is not as incongruous as it might first appear and that the French Impressionist Claude Monet described his work as being like that of composer Claude Debussy in the way he used color.
In addition to Morelli, the members of Windscape include flautist Marya Martin, oboist Randall Wolfgang, clarinetist Alan R. Kay, and horn player David Jolley. All have extensive credentials--they are teachers and Artists-in-Residence at Manhattan''s School of Music, in addition to their performance schedules, and Morelli serves on the faculties of the Julliard and Yale music schools. The group was formed in 1994, specifically to inject some vitality into the sometimes stuffy world of classical music. To that end, they offer several programs that revolve around specific themes, including "Genius Meets Genius," "The Roaring 20''s" and "The Young Titan: Beethoven Comes to Vienna."
While on the Monterey Peninsula, the musicians will run educational programs as part of Chamber Music Monterey Bay''s ongoing Visiting Artist''s Outreach Program.
Chamber Music Monterey Bay presents Windscape at 8pm on Wednesday in the Morgan Stock Theater at Monterey Peninsula College. 625-2212.