So, I Saw This Concert…
I’ve seen many concerts, but this last one was a first. We walked into a once-swanky, old-timey theatre with red, plush, crushed velvet seats that were now more crushed than plush. People were dressed up and down, in pajamas, jeans and gowns. As showtime approached, the theatre lights flickered. Then a vintage applause sign sputtered with a flashy little twinkle. We looked to the stage, to a weathered red curtain, fringed with faded, tousled, tangled, tassels that had opened to reveal, through the years, a galaxy of stars.
When the curtains opened, the first thing I noted was the lack of instruments on the stage. In fact, the lack of anything denoting a musical concert. Two people backed slowly onto the stage, pulling a giant image, on wheels, to the center. Then one stepped forward, toward us, introduced herself as the conductor, and announced: Blue and Green Music, by Georgia O’Keeffe. They all bowed gently toward the painting, with quick but sincere applause, and left the stage.
Some of us whispered, When does the music start? Others, more in the know, whispered, It already has. I’d seen this painting before but had never made the time to slow down and feel the music. But here, now, in this concert venue, there was nothing to do but feel for the vibrance, tones, and harmony of the colours, the lyrical qualities of the lines, and every insightful sound choice of the artist. I listened so deeply I could almost hear the unseen, inspiring touches, sights, sounds, and cycles, and the dreams dreamed in between, as she composed this musically visionary scene.
Just when I started to fidget and feel that I’d heard all that I could from this painting, the people returned to the stage and turned the image on its side. That was, I realized, the first movement. This next movement was filled with echoes and variations from the first, while revealing added dimensions and imaginative possibilities.
Other musically inspired, rhythmically infused paintings followed, interspersed with brief videos of musical painters warming up their instruments, drawing deep breaths, doodling colour scales, and checking the tones and timbres of their brushes. The program included famous works by Kandinsky and pieces by local painters at play with musical styles from pops to hip-hop. Various pieces were loud, soft, light dark, brassy, bold, cool, warm, and hot. Some were layered, free-style, electric, geometric, smooth, or coarse, and some were filled with squiggly lines or playful, staccato dots. Some works were splashed with symbols that rang so true they chimed like cymbals.
As the concert drew to a close, the conductor stepped out to announce that the final piece had to be removed from the program because Chagall’s horse had eaten the violin. She said Chagall’s mother and the poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, had seen this coming. So, for the finale, we were treated to a playful composition, created by Louis Wain, of cool cats playing music in the snow.
Some of us began this evening thinking it was a joke, one that would play out quickly and turn to boredom. Then we became lost in seeing, feeling, and tuning in to the music and the interpretive dances of meaning in this colourful, musical evening. On the way out, we all compared notes, quite literally, about what we felt and what music each of us heard, and we hungered to see more music, to hear more in the rhythms of quietude, to have our every-day senses and expectations flipped, opened, challenged, expanded.
We walked away humming and began to realize we were remembering music no one had ever actually heard, music sparked by seeing the sounds, as we imagined them—and we hoped to find the time—and the colours, words, notes, silences and sounds—to write it down.
Linda Eve Diamond
Linda Eve Diamond’s poetry has been performed at The Dancing Poetry Festival, screened at the REELpoetry Festival, displayed at the Dublin Art Walk, and published in numerous journals and anthologies. She has been honored to receive multiple poetry awards, including Artists Embassy International’s Grand Prize “for exceptional poetry that inspires dance and for furthering intercultural understanding and peace through the universal language of the arts.” Find her poetry, flash fiction, photographs, and latest publications at http://LindaEveDiamond.com.
The Ekphrastic Review
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