March 17, 2019

H. Leslie Adams, or "New Ears"....and Lightning in a Bottle

So...what a weekend of music and musicmaking, and again I am grateful to have had the opportunity to support colleagues and friends as an audience member.

The first, soprano Alexandria Bradshaw Critchlow's senior recital.    Alexandria and I first met at the Colour of Music Festival in 2016, and since have had opportunities to work together, two of those opportunities including the performance of works by Jasmine Barnes.    Well, on Friday, Alexandria presented a compelling recital that included "Creole Girl", a fascinating song by H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) in which questions are asked about the subject's multiculturalism (this "Creole Girl" being of French, Spanish, and African ancestry).

Alexandria also sang - in addition to works by Scarlatti, Brahms, Gounod, and Schubert - Jasmine's compelling arrangement of "Give Me Jesus".    If you have not heard of these phenomenal women, stay tuned - YOU WILL.

The next night, I had the pleasure of hearing Kenneth Overton, Chauncey Packer, Lucia Bradford, and Marsha Thompson as soloists in a performance of the Mozart Requiem at Washington DC's
Duke Ellington School for the Arts.   If Mozart were alive, I trust that he would have referred to this collection of vocalists as his "dream team" for this work - and I'm not simply saying that because I know all of these folk.   This performance was the real-life definition of "lightning in a bottle"!

In an interview with Peter Lindbergh included in Peter Lindbergh:   Selected Work 1996-1998 (Assouline Press), Antonio Ria asks Lindbergh about the evolution of working relationships.   

Mr. Lindbergh answered:  "I first photographed Isabella Rosellini in Paris fifteen years ago, maybe more, and we still to continue to work together....I am used to long-term relationships, even very long ones.  I have been photographing Naomi (Campbell) for ten years, Linda Evangelista for twelve years....These are very personal relations and friendships.  They are never based on public relations.  That would be something totally unacceptable to me."

Having met each of these amazing human beings and vocalists separately (Marsha in 1994, albeit briefly; Chauncey in 2001 at the Utah Festival Opera; Lucia in 2000 at Spoleto Festival USA and Kenneth in 2004 with the Houston Ebony Opera Guild - only to hear him give his 100th performance as Porgy in a Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre performance of Porgy and Bess),  having watched their collective evolution as artists and to see them all together on stage was meaningful in ways that I cannot describe and I am both proud and humbled to call them all my friends.

BACK to H. Leslie Adams, though:    WOW!    A very interesting and captivating musical language this man has created, and after researching I have found that there are three works for violin and piano.  Additionally, how fortunate am I to have stumbled across performances of his Preludes for Piano that were recorded by a pianist and organist who currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (which is just up I-83)?

More from the road,

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