Carrie Cooley Concert 29 May, 20:00, Apothiki Art Gallery

22, May 2011 § Leave a comment

“And yet, Courage is me, courage friend! The world is lovely, and not at all fearful to the bold man. What then is music? Music is a sacred art which brings together all varieties of courage like cherubim around a shining throne, and for that reason it is the most holy among the arts.”

Courage. When one thinks of courage, the picture is usually of a hero going into battle, a knight, a policeman, James Bond, swords, guns, knives. Courage to me is a brush, a pen, a voice that breaks the silence, the click of a shutter, an empty canvas with endless possibilities. When I think of courage I think of people who follow their dreams, even if the path might be a little unorthodox. The Aegean Center is a haven for these people. To be part of the Aegean Center is to be surrounded by people who ride on the shoulders of Hope and reach their goals by these means, a great family of optimists who add color, depth and meaning to this world. People who create, and those who encourage creation. These are the heroes in this world.

It is in homage to the creators, to the dreamers, to every student and faculty member who has ever been a part of the Aegean Center, to every person who strives to add beauty to this world, not because he hopes to be acknowledged and praised, but because he can no more imagine a world without art and music, than a world without light or air, that I offer this concert as a gift of deepest gratitude from the bottom of my heart.

I have selected the music based on texts which I felt best illustrated the connection between the art forms, which at times seems almost cyclical, even eternal. Because my gift is music, I open the concert with the composer’s aria from Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss from which the above quote is taken. The Poulenc Le travail du peintre (The works of the painter) with texts by Paul Éluard illustrates the connection between painting and poetry, and poetry and music. The Respighi songs with texts by Antonio Rubino illustrate how one can see art and hear music in life and in nature, and how each sound, color and smell contributes to the music of our lives. The Jake Heggie song cycle, Statuesque, talks about life from the points of view of five different sculptures, and what they might feel when they are being gawked at by people who have little time to truly see them, only to admire their beauty with fleeting glances, and “What a Movie!” from Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti,” is, in the context of the opera, a piece about an unhappy woman’s escape into one of America’s most popular art forms, film.

The entire process of planning, organizing, researching and rehearsing this concert has been painstaking and tiresome, but in the end so very enjoyable. This is a chance I have been given to truly express unbridled joy for an art-form I find practical, necessary, and essential for the survival of a truly wonderful world. Thank you to John and Jane Pack, Jeffrey and Liz Carson, Orfeas, Jun-Pierre and the Aegean Center for helping me make this concert a reality. Courage is in me! Courage, friend! And I owe a very large part of that courage to the time I have been fortunate enough to spend at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece.

Thus begins new life, and I for one cannot wait.

Carrie Cooley

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