During the first week of February the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was taken over by projects as part of ‘Bridge Week’. On Friday, I had the pleasure of watching and supporting fellow fourth year students Katie Oswell (Soprano) and Maria Donohue (Piano) in their immersive theatre experience entitled Cage E B (Cage Electronic Ballet). It was a fabulous collaborative multimedia performance including dance, voice, piano, acting and projection mapping with the aim to transport its audience to the world of 20th century contemporary theatre. With outstanding technical contributions from Alex Mackay and magical stage design by Jennifer Logan.
The performance commemorates the collaborative achievements of John Cage, an American composer, music theorist, writer and artist and refers to his work with the artist Marcel Du-Champ, pianist David Tudor, Andy Warhol, and various dance companies including the influence of Merce Cunningham.” (M. Donohue, 2016)
The musical duo performed:
____, ____ ____ circus on ____
A Valentine Out of Season
The Perilous Night
The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs
Nowth Upon Nacht
Concert for Piano and Orchestra
In the Name of the Holocaust
Overall the performance was visually beautiful and unlike anything I have ever seen or heard before. Maria performed with strength, at times even thrashing her arms into the piano in order to achieve the articulated accuracy of the score. Every note was meticulous showing the depth of preparation undertaken by the talented American pianist. Katie sung with ease and elegance, gliding over tricky melodic phrases. Then as easily she could quickly alienate her audience through her dramatic presentation, causing tension that commanded our attention for the full duration.
The duo will be perform ‘Concert for Piano and Aria’ at the ‘piano festival’ at the RCS on the 11th March. Then they will be travelling to New York on the 19th March to showcase sections of their work at various venues, culminating with a masterclass at the Yamaha Studio to promote studying music in the UK. I wish them the very best of luck and lots of fun!
Today was the return of the Hilary Rosin Coffee Concert series at the RCS, which started with a bang! Sasha Savaloni, a guitarist and Doctorate student at the RCS, played three songs from Schwanengesang by Schubert and Six airs from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ Op.19 by Fernando Sor. It was especially lovely to hear this set having performed in the opera last summer. My favourite movement was number three ‘Seid uns zum zweiten Mal Willkommen’ as it was based on motifs from the Knabe giving the music a cheeky and playful atmosphere. To finish the concert, our Principal Jeffrey Sharkey took to the stage with violinist Maya Iwabuchi and cellist Aleksei Kiseliov to perform Beethoven’s Piano trio in B-flat major ‘Archduke’, Op.97. Which was a wonderful example of ensemble connection as at moments the players communicated through generous smiles which was beautiful to watch on a Sunday morning!
And finally it is such a relief after five months of research that I was able to spend the past week collating it all and using the time to get my thoughts recorded for my essay, which has now been submitted ( sigh of relief 🙂 )