Friday, October 26, 2012

100 Artists for 100 Years

Mediation 38-Healing Energy (detail)
Kentmere Parkway was abuzz last Friday night, lined with cars and people heading toward the glow of the Delaware Art Museum.  Once hubby & I were inside, we were impressed not only by the large-scale installation greeting us on the entryway wall (part of the exhibition), but also the timeline running along the hallway to the Copeland Gallery.  The dual timeline denoted highlights in the century-long history of the Museum as well as pop culture points of interest, such as the moon landing, the first test-tube baby, the death of Andy Warhol, divided by decade “lumps”.  Patrons were encouraged to post their own memories on the wall with sticky notes.  There were plenty of interesting observations, “love notes,” even intricate doodles, provided from art lovers from every age.

The Centennial Juried Exhibition features a variety of media—drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation—and includes artists living either in Delaware or within 100 miles of the Museum.  The exhibition was guest-juried by John B. Ravenal, the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and it is available for viewing now through January 2013.

Cauda Equina (detail)
In January 2012, the Museum launched a call for artist entries and received nearly 450 applications of nearly 1,300 artworks by the March 2012 deadline. Twenty Delaware artists, including Michael Kaklmbach, Kevin Bielicki and Ken Mabrey, were in the mix along with artists from Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  All totaled, 96 works were selected for mounting from close to 100 artists.  Many of the artists were on hand during the evening, and patrons were eagerly chatting each of them up and taking photos with them and their work.

Some of my favorite pieces, in no particular order:
• Meditation 38-Healing Energy, 2009 — Donna Usher
• Political Climates: Delaware, 2011 — Michael Kalmbach
• Venation (Rubber), 2011 — Wendy Ellen Wilkinson Gordon
• Cauda Equina, 2007 — Keith W. Bentley
• Into the Fold, 2011 — Delainey Barclay

It’s an amazing exhibit that shows us precisely what kinds of talent surrounds us in our 100-mile radius and throughout the 100-year history of one of Delaware’s greatest treasures.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Serafin String Quartet Opens The Arts at Trinity's 2012 - 13 Season

WARNING! I’m not a musician and I have never studied music, so this review of Serafin String Quartet will not feature any technical aspects of the concert, just my observations and feelings.

The Serafin String Quartet’s Concert began the 2012 – 13 season of The Arts at Trinity (Trinity Church). Unfortunately, it was a one-night only concert, but don’t you fret, the Quartet will end the The Arts at Trinity’s season with another performance on Saturday, April 20. 

The Quartet includes Esme Allen-Creighton on the viola, Lawrence Stomberg on the ‘cello, and Kate Ransom and Timothy Schwarz on the violins; pianist, Victor Santiago Asuncion joined the Quartet for the second act.  The evening included classical pieces by the renowned composers – Ludwig van Beethoven, Ernst Von Dohnanyi, and W.A. Mozart.

The first act included Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136 and Beethoven’s String Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 74 (“Harp”), while the second act featured one piece, Dohnanyi’s Quintet for Piano and Strings in C Minor, Op. 1.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert at Trinity. The splendid performance was fitting for the 1890 Church with its gorgeous Tiffany stained glass windows. The music ranged from soft and delicate to joyous and loud. At times I would close my eyes and let the music transport me to another place and time, while other times I watched the musicians expertly play their instruments or let my eyes wander the church as it was being filled with the glorious sounds resonating from the group.

I particularly enjoyed Dohnanyi’s quintet. I loved the movements of the music; it went from being pure and jovial to dark and intense. I also enjoyed watching the musicians take on Dohnanyi’s musical journey. They remained in control as the piece ebbed and flowed, each musician masterly playing their respected instrument.

Although you won’t be able to see this performance, you will have the opportunity to enjoy other great performances at the Church, including: Rivales De La Sierra on November 24, Tiffany at the Organ on January 19, City Theater Company’s A Night at the Improv on February 23, Photography Contest & Exhibit on March 10, and Serafin String Quartet on April 20. Visit for more information about these upcoming performances.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Market Street Music features Organ Recital at First & Central

Gabriel Kney organ at First & Central Presbyterian
When you walk into the First and Central Presbyterian Church at Rodney Square, you walk out of the night and into a brightly lit space.  The organ console is at the very center of the chancel.  The organ case is behind the console with its beautiful white wood housing encasing the massive ranks of the 1989 instrument built by David Kney.

David Schelat started with Dieterich Buxtehude’s  Praeludium in D major and the church filled with sound.  The acoustics  created a swirl of sound as each new line chased the prior one into oblivion.  

Mr. Schelat then played selections from Bach's Orgelbüchlein, choosing several short pieces which demonstrated the range of sounds the Kney can produce such as the Zimbelstern bells for the New Year: In you is joy (BWV 615).

David Schelat, organist &
Music Director, Market Street Music
The Toccata and Fugue in A minor by Johann Ludwig Krebs was the centerpiece of the program.  Mr. Schelat has such technical mastery that the complex pedal lines, the fast scales, contrasting themes played simultaneously and the registration seemed to magically unfold.   The virtuosity of this piece rivals anything by Bach, with whom Krebs studied.

After the intermission, Mr. Schelat played one of his own compositions — an organ sonata in three movements.  The piece is quite melodic, but has innovative ideas such as the melody line played in the pedals for the folk song movement, with the keyboard playing an arpeggiated harmony.  The relatively short piece, with its clear conception, was written for a colleague, Michael Britt, who premiered it in France.

Mr. Schelat used a lot of dynamic variation with the swell pedal for the Cesar Franck Fantaisie in A and the Piece Héroique,  His encore, one of the Noel variations by Charpentier gave us an opportunity to hear the organ’s reed and piccolo stops.  

This was a great tour of an amazing organ led by a local virtuoso, right in the center of Wilmington.