KITTERY – The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra ‘Get Cozy’ chamber music series continues Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. with “The Color of Music” at The Dance Hall in Kittery.
“The Color of Music” will feature Olivier Messiaen’s masterpiece "Quartet for the End of Time," which will be paired with artist Lennie Peterson's exhibit "Synesthesia." Music will be performed by Mary Towse-Beck on piano; Zoia Bologovsky on violin; John Ferraro on clarinet and Dorothy Braker on cello. The quartet will be joined by MyPSO musician, violinist Lilia Potter-Schwartz in Ernest Bloch's "Nigun" from Baal Shem, Three Pictures from Hassidic Life.
Messiaen's eight-movement masterpiece, "Quartet for the End of Time," was written while he was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II and was first performed by his fellow prisoners. As a "sufferer" of synesthesia, a neurological condition where when one sense is activated, another unrelated sense is activated at the same time, Messiaen's senses were heightened during this composition by the severe conditions at the prison camp. Messiaen used a series of "modes" (musical scales) that were designed specifically around the colors he saw when he heard those combinations of notes. He also was inspired by the colors of the Northern Lights and by the Book of Revelation depicting the end of time, represented in this work as an ethereal eternity.
Artist Lennie Peterson has traveled the world several times dedicating his life to visual art, music, and arts education. Peterson’s award-winning artwork has been purchased throughout the world and featured in exhibitions around the United States including solo exhibitions at Harvard University, The Boston Convention Center, and in New York City and Los Angeles. His composer portraits are included in art collections in Japan, Wales, Argentina, and throughout the United States.
“You know those rare occasions when you’re stuck in bed with a really bad flu? The fever is roaring, you can barely move, and every bone in your body aches?” Peterson says. “My whole life, whenever I’m sick like that, I experience these original, never-heard-before, sweeping, thundering orchestral symphonies in my head."
"I’m hearing a 200-piece orchestra play this original music that is Wagner and Mahler on steroids, and I experience all these amazing shapes and colors in my mind while it’s happening. The best way to describe my synesthesia is that I ‘see’ music in shapes.”
Get Cozy chamber concert tickets are $16 in advance or $20 at the door and can be purchased on The Dance Hall website, www.thedancehallkittery.org. Seating is limited and at-the-door tickets are not guaranteed to be available. Additional performance details and tickets are available at www.portsmouthsymphony.org.