Saturday, February 24, 2018
Pala Garcia, violin
John Popham, cello
Renate Rohlfing, piano
performs the work of Rachel Grimes
Music for Egon Schiele
and selections from the albums, The Clearing and Book of Leaves
Composed in 1995 by Rachel Grimes for a play about the painter Egon Schiele, Music for Egon Schiele was released in 1996 by the incredible indie chamber ensemble Rachel’s.
The Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) is best known for his assertive, character-driven depictions of the human form. During his brief life he produced over 600 works, ranging from delicate pencil drawings to elaborate, bold-stroke oil portraiture and landscapes. A student of Gustav Klimt, he and Oskar Kokoschka epitomized the Austrian Expressionist movement.
The suite Music for Egon Schiele was written to accompany a dance and theater production by Stephan Mazurek. The show, entitled Egon Schiele, was presented in May 1995 by the Itinerant Theater Guild at the University of Illinois, Chicago. The twelve pieces abstractly depict the chronological phases of Schiele’s personal and artistic life - one of struggle and discovery, inspired by love, loss, and the desperate need for expression.
“Family Portrait” portrays Schiele's turbulent childhood, in which his father and one of his three sisters died of syphilis. The opening is a still life of the family, then moves into a waltz recalling the grand but faded Viennese style. A duet for viola (or violin) and cello, “Egon & Gertie” is an intimate look at the affectionate relationship between Egon and his youngest sister Gertie. “First Self-Portrait Series” is the first of three self-portrait pieces; composed of the same basic musical material, they show Schiele developing his techniques and style, which ranges from introspective and erotic to masochistic and death-infused. “Mime Van Osen” evokes the underground cabaret atmosphere Schiele might have encountered while on the town with his friend, the performance artist, Erwin Van Osen.
During his early twenties, Schiele lived and worked in the countryside town of Neulengbach with a woman named Wally Neuzil. In “Wally, Egon & Models in the Studio” the arching cello solo overlays the piano’s chordal accompaniment to portray Egon and Wally as their relationship deepens, from artist and model to lovers. “Promenade” evokes the Austrian countryside of tree-lined villages, railroads, and well-to-do citizens strolling in the park, confident in Europe’s political and cultural preeminence. The music reflects the gradual shift in attitude as the destruction of World War I and the rapidly changing times take their toll on European society. The two gestural piano interludes symbolize Schiele’s growing discomfort and paranoia of his community, whose members accused him of pornography and incarcerated him for two weeks, due to his blunt portraits of young children. “Third Self-Portrait Series” represents Egon’s return to a busy creative life, and his increasing interest in angular portraiture
In 1914, Schiele made the acquaintance of a neighbor, Edith Harms, whom he eventually married. “Egon, Edith & Wally Meet” is an outing that the three made to see a movie, portraying the dizzying, contradictory feelings Egon might have had while with the two women, knowing he would have to choose one or the other. The piano solo “Egon & Wally Embrace and Say Farewell” is the gentle, inevitable parting of the two lovers, full of regret, pain and reflection. “Egon & Edith” paints the fresh, newly-wed life, full of excitement and hope that fate would soon tear away from them; Egon and Edith, six months pregnant, perished in the 1918 influenza epidemic. “Second Family Portrait” closes the story by examining the Schiele family’s loss, shared by devastating numbers of people worldwide. It begins with a mournful dirge reflecting the millions of dead, but resolves by looking ahead, to a hopeful recovery.
Please join us for this rare live performance
Heralded “one of American independent music’s few truly inspired technicians” by WIRE magazine, Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. She has toured worldwide as a solo pianist, and her work has been performed by such artists as A Far Cry, Longleash, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Trio, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Portland Cello Project, Cicada, Orchestra Kandinskij, Borusan Quartet and Önder sisters, Kansas City Symphony, and the Louisville Orchestra. Rachel has performed at some of the world’s most diverse music festivals including Big Ears, Ecstatic Music Festival, Substrata, All Tomorrow’s Parties, P Festival, and CrossLinx. Collaborators include Loscil, SITI Company, astrïd and Sylvain Chauveau, Chris Wells, Scott Moore, Jacob Duncan, Matthew Nolan and Erik Friedlander. Solo releases: Through the Sparkle (with astrïd on Gizeh Records 2017), The Clearing (Temporary Residence 2015), Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, and Compound Leaves, as well as contributions to the albums of fellow artists like Watter, Christopher Tignor, Seluah, Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg, Christian Frederickson, Tara Jane O’Neil, Helen Money, R. M. Hubbert, and the Frames. She is a member of Louisville rock band King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground) and a founding member of the ground-breaking indie-rock chamber ensemble Rachel’s, with whom she toured and released six albums (Quarterstick / Touch & Go).
Recent commissions include: “The Blue Hour” for A Far Cry with co-composers Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland-Snider, Shara Nova, and Angélica Negrón; film score with Matthew Nolan for “People On Sunday” for the National Gallery of Art; orchestrations of Book of Leaves for the Louisville Orchestra; a work for string quartet and two pianos for Borusan Quartet (Istanbul) and Ferhan and Ferzan Önder; a new piece “Your Mother, My Mother” and an arrangement of “And Today Was Her Birthday” for two pianos for the Önder sisters for their Anonymous Was A Woman project; a quartet for the Portland Cello Project; a new suite with Julia Kent for cello and piano for the installation Doppelgänger by London artist Peter Liversidge; a rendition of the national anthem for Smithsonian Magazine. She has contributed scoring, research, and recordings for multi-media installations for Donna Lawrence Productions (Museum of World Religions, Kentucky Show!, Kentucky Derby Museum, National Infantry Museum, New York Historical Society). Her recordings have been licensed to numerous film and TV works internationally including Listen to Me Marlon, Lost In Vagueness, War Machine, Actress, HBO series Witness, Gasland and Gasland II (HBO), Last Days Here, and Academy Award and Golden Globe winner La Grande Bellezza.