Last night we attended LCH parishioner Mark Russell’s piano recital at the church, which began with a set of variations by local pianist Whitney Thrall (b. 1922). Whitney, my former colleague at the University of Hawaii, was in the audience and is remarkably sharp for being over 90 years old!
The rest of the concert featured the minimalist music of Philip Glass, and while he shuns the term “minimalist,” the composer prefers to think of his style as “music with repetitive structures.” The two hour program of Glass’ music was made more palatable by the addition of a colored light show, which I believe is a first in the LCH nave. The program included: “Opening” from Glassworks (1981), Metamorphosis (1988), Piano Etudes (2003) No. 2, 5 and 6, “Mad Rush” (1977), and music from the movie “The Hours” (2002), concluding with “Modern Love Waltz” (1977).
In his program notes, Mark wrote: I find that I enjoy the music of Philip Glass the most when I don’t try to follow the ‘repetitive structures’ (which are very precise), but instead allow my thoughts and feelings to get caught up in the mood and hypnotic flow of the music. I hope you will ‘lose yourself’ in this music, and find that it has taken you beyond its seeming ‘simplicity,’ into an experience that is personal and profound.
Here are some pictures I took of the various colors:
But I have to admit that my favorite piece of the evening was Mark’s encore, “Für Alina,” by Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt. The following video shows the score as it is being played.