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Review: Piano Pavilion concert pleases dual senses

Posted 12:16am on Saturday, Apr. 12, 2014

Schola Cantorum of Texas closed its season Friday night with a concert in a new location: the Kimbell Art Museum’s Piano Pavilion. The program, appropriately titled “Kimbell Music!,” took advantage of the new location to bring together two of the arts: music and visual art.

Specifically, each entry on the program paired an art work from the Kimbell’s permanent collection, projected on a large screen, with a piece of music that had some connection, however tenuous, with it. The paintings, and in one case a sculpture, dated to the early 14th century. There were a couple of nods to the 20th century, but mostly this was very old art.

The opening was remarkable. Onscreen was Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Raising of Lazarus from about 1310, accompanying which soprano Julie McCoy sang a Gregorian Salve Regina. The connection: McCoy is a distant descendant of Buoninsegna.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the pairing of art by Diego Velazquez with music by Tomas de la Victoria. They were contemporaries, though Victoria was about a generation older. Velazquez was one of Spain’s great geniuses, and Victoria was in his league. The former’s Portrait of Don Pedro de Barberana is a masterpiece, and Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium is one of the most beautiful works of its kind.

Samuel Barber, the closest composer to our era of the evening, was paired with the work of two artists: Claude Monet ( Weeping Willow) and Joan Miro ( Constellation: Awakening in the Early Morning). Barber’s Under the Willow Tree and Sure on This Shining Night were highly appropriate.

In one striking instance, the subject of the painting and the composer of the music were the same. A portrait of Jacob Obrecht by an unknown artist was accompanied by an Obrecht Salve Regina.

One work was for piano alone. Pianist Alan Buratto gave an appealing performance of Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words, Opus 30, No. 6, which is a musical salute to Venice, to accompany Richard Parkes Bonington’s The Grand Canal, Venice.

The chorus, under the direction of Jerry McCoy, has become an outstanding musical asset for Fort Worth. And the pairing of music and art was a clever idea, especially since all the art was from the Kimbell collection.

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