“Creation, destruction and transformation resonate as connective themes of human expression,” reads as the tagline for Gallery Players 24th Season Opener, Songs of Life: Bach on Turtle’s Back – BIRTH.
Songs of Life is a multi-disciplinary performance, highlighted by solo violinist Julia Wedman and Ojibwe/Irish dancer Brian Soloman. Songs of Life is the first in a series of concerts highlighting pieces by Bach that were written for solo violin.
“These pieces were written at a special time in his life. They were some of his first big jobs while working at the palace of Prince Leopold of Cothen in Germany. While there were on vacation together, Bach’s young wife had passed away. These Sonatas were written on manuscript that he purchased while he was on this vacation,” explained Wedman.
“These are pieces that came out of a time of deep loss in his life. We’ll never know for sure what he was thinking, but a few clues have come out about the works. The title page of these pieces say in Italian Sie Solo, which has a double meaning – six solos or the word sie means you, so, it could mean, you alone.”
The performance centres around Wedman and Soloman, but the two are accompianied by Marion Newman (Mezzo Soprano), Andy Moro (Lighting Designer), Marion Newman (Voice), John Abberger (Oboe), Michelle Odorico and Valerie Gordo (Violins), Patrick Jordan (Viola), Margaret Gay (‘Cello) and Maho Sone (Keyboard).
Songs of Life consists of Bach’s G minor Sonata #1, his Bminor Partita #1, and a selection of arias, all of which are centered around the theme of birth and creation.
“We looked at many aspects of these epic works, and ask what was Bach uncovering in his brilliance, and how might it relate to what we’ve understood in the world around us here in North America 2018,” states Solomon in a press release. “The patterns, feelings and abstract problems the music works through are all things Julia and I look to, to help clarify our own understanding of the world around us on turtle’s back.”
Wedman further explained that the arc of the story demonstrate what it is to be human and what it’s like to have challenges in our life and about how we deal with these situations.
“The reason Bach is such a famous and beloved composer is that everyone can connect with the emotions within his music. His music speaks to what is at the heart of the human condition,” she said. “He’s a special composer who really understands how to touch people in a different and meaningful way. One of the things I love about working with Brian is that he is really connected with the basic fundamentals of what makes us human.”
Songs of Life: Bach on Turtle’s Back – BIRTH takes place at the Cairns Recital Hall at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on November 4.