Two hours of intense focus by the pianist; two hours of intense listening by the audience. Possible moments of transcendent bliss. What a nice way to spend an evening! Book your tickets in advance.
Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jesus
Saturday May 7, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Reserve seats at firstname.lastname@example.org
from Simon Docking:
On Saturday May 7, 2016, I will perform Olivier Messiaen’s monumental Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus, at Gallery 345 in Toronto.
What made the 35 year old Messiaen write this epic 2 hour piano cycle in occupied Paris in 1944? His profound faith, of course, was behind all his music, but the direct impetus in this case was the request to provide music for a radio broadcast, a reading of twelve meditations on the Nativity of Jesus. Messiaen got carried away with the project and extended it to twenty pieces of music, each a reflection on Jesus’ infancy through the eyes of various characters in the story. He had also recently discovered the incredible talents of Yvonne Loriod, 20 years old at the time. Her virtuosity inspired Messiaen to create textures and colours that were completely new.
What made me want to perform this work now? Again, many things came together. As a teenager in Australia I had a wonderful piano teacher, Ransford Elsley, who had performed or premiered several of Messiaen’s works in the 1970s in Australia. He introduced me to the Vingt Regards in about 1985 and I was instantly drawn to its sound world. I knew that one day I had to play it. The opportunity to spend a few months overseas in 2015 gave me the time and focus to come to grips with its demands.
The Vingt Regards is, in a word used way too often, incredible. The variety, the length, the sheer inventiveness of this music amazes me. I can’t wait to play it for you!
Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jesus – Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 19920
· Regard du Père (“Contemplation of the Father”)
· Regard de l’étoile (“Contemplation of the star”)
· L’échange (“The exchange”)
· Regard de la Vierge (“Contemplation of the Virgin”)
· Regard du Fils sur le Fils (“Contemplation of the Son upon the Son”)
· Par Lui tout a été fait (“Through Him everything was made”)
· Regard de la Croix (“Contemplation of the Cross”)
· Regard des hauteurs (“Contemplation of the heights”)
· Regard du temps (“Contemplation of time”)
· Regard de l’Esprit de joie (“Contemplation of the joyful Spirit”)
· Première communion de la Vierge (“The Virgin’s first communion”)
· La parole toute-puissante (“The all-powerful word”)
· Noël (“Christmas”)
· Regard des Anges (“Contemplation of the Angels”)
· Le baiser de l’Enfant-Jésus (“The kiss of the Infant Jesus”)
· Regard des prophètes, des bergers et des Mages (“Contemplation of the prophets, the shepherds and the Magi”)
· Regard du silence (“Contemplation of silence”)
· Regard de l’Onction terrible (“Contemplation of the awesome Anointing”)
· Je dors, mais mon cœur veille (“I sleep, but my heart keeps watch”)
· Regard de l’Eglise d’amour (“Contemplation of the Church of love”)
Australian-born pianist Simon Docking has performed both as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America and beyond.
Simon has appeared as a soloist for Toronto’s Soundstreams, the Winnipeg New Music Festival, the Scotia Festival of Music, Australia’s Aurora Festival, the new music group Stroma in New Zealand, the MATA Festival in New York, and with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonia and the Toronto Wind Orchestra. His 2008 performance of Messiaen’s epic cycle Catalogue d’Oiseaux at the Scotia Festival was described in the Chronicle Herald as “Herculean…a tour de force”.
Simon has often been heard on CBC Radio Two’s Two New Hours, The Signal, and Concerts on Demand. Internationally his performances have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM (Australia), Swedish Radio, and Radio New Zealand.
Active as a chamber musician, Simon has been a founding member of several ensembles, including the Toronto-based group Toca Loca, with pianist Gregory Oh and percussionist Aiyun Huang. Commissioning works from many Canadian composers, Toca Loca has been presented by nearly every new music series in Canada from St John’s to Vancouver, as well as appearances in New York, California and Berlin. They have released two CDs: P*P (2009) and SHED (2010)
Simon studied in Australia with Ransford Elsley, and holds a doctorate in piano performance from SUNY Stony Brook, where he worked with Gilbert Kalish, and upon graduation was awarded New York State’s Thayer Fellowship for the Arts. In October 2011 Simon received an Established Artist Recognition Award from the province of Nova Scotia.
Performance #475 at Gallery 345
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