Monday, January 07, 2008


The lovely Liz who gave me such useful advice on this blog when I was in Australia, persuaded me to go to the Olivier Messiaen concert last night at Winchester Cathedral which Sarah Baldock, the Assistant Director of Music who's sadly leaving us for Chichester in April, had been working on for a year with Sophie Hacker, the artist who's married to Canon Roly Riem. The organ piece which Sarah and Andrew Lumsden played alternately was La Nativite du Seigneur which is divided into nine sections: the Virgin and child, the shepherds, eternal designs, the Word, the children of God, the angels, Jesus accepts sufferings, the Magi and God amongst us. Sophie had designed a piece of art representing each section, in 3D using a wide variety of materials and Roly had composed a meditation appropriate to each theme.
We looked at the art beforehand and then sat in the nave where there was a screen. Roly began with the first meditation, the organ music began and the first piece of art, the Virgin and child, appeared on the screen. KMB Productions had made a film of Sophie's art in a very clever way. Instead of the picture being static on the film, the camera zoomed in to minute details of the painting and so, whilst listening to the organ, one could really think about the art work and see aspects which would scarcely have been noticed looking around the exhibition before the concert began. Faces of the shepherds and the wise men and nails on the cross seemed to stare out at us from the screen whereas when we'd first seen the paintings they'd seemed to be abstract. The richness of the materials came over brilliantly and all kinds of figures appeared to come forth from the mottled paint. I would have thought that a 2D representation of the work would not do it justice but in fact it enhanced it.


Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Like me, you are lucky to have a cathedral nearby which stages great concerts. They have to these days to raise money. This sounds a wonderful performance.

4:45 pm  
Blogger Matt Wardman said...

Roly Riem?

I sort of knew him when he was at Nottingham Uni. Good man.

Matt W.

4:26 am  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi Matt - small world!

9:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roly and Sophie said they're now looking at the possibility of puttling the art works presentation from the screen in the Nave onto a dvd with the meditations and the music. Look out for it everyone because as WW rightly says, the two forms brought eachother to life. It will make a wonderful addition to anyone's art or music collection.
Liz - Anon. Not that I'm their sales agent or anything ...

1:03 pm  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It sounds wonderful. I wish I could have been there!

10:37 pm  

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