Classics at the Castle hosts piano virtuoso

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BEAUTIFULLY COMPLEX: Benjamin Fourie performed the ‘Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant - Jesus’ (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) at the recent Classics at the Castle concert. Picture: LOUISE CARTER
BEAUTIFULLY COMPLEX: Benjamin Fourie performed the ‘Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant – Jesus’ (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) at the recent Classics at the Castle concert. Picture: LOUISE CARTER

PORT Alfred music lovers were treated to an inimitable musical treat recently when accomplished pianist, poet and music innovator Benjamin Fourie performed a phenomenal and mesmeric rendition of Vingt Regards sur l’E nfant- Jesus (Twenty Contemplations on the Christ Child) by the French composer and organist Olivier Messiaen.

Although the afternoon at Richmond House presented moreof a contemporary flavour compared with the usual classical performances, listeners were spellbound during the three-hour performance by Fourie.

In recent times, Fourie has partnered with artist Heleen du Preez, who has used her art to mimic in paint the sounds of each of the movements played in each of the 20 solo piano pieces.

The work is a meditation on the infancy of Jesus, and with each movement or solo piece the ear is taken on a rhythmical rollercoaster with soft, tender and nature-like sounds followed by fast tempo action-like sounds and dramatic pauses.

The meditation was originally written by the French composer for an organ, but was later adapted for piano and is still commonly played today on piano.

In Du Preez’s art, one sees nature-like movements. Her visuals represent physical elements like air, fire and water, done with soft brush strokes, and fast and dramatic hard lines, with some movements reflecting contrasting elements and emotions.

She painted each piece to reflect a different movement of Vingt Regards sur l’E nfant- Jesus and displays her sensitivity to life and the environment in each piece.

During the performance by Fourie Du Preez’s art was exhibited allowing the audience to study each painting and gaze upon the contemplation by Messiaen not only through sounds but by the rhythmic movement of colours.

Fourie is regarded as one of the best composers and pianists in South Africa and has received plenty of international recognition and respect.

He played the beautifully complex Vingt Regards sur l’E nfant- Jesus with sufficient harmony, giving it the delicate melodic and complex respect it deserves. The piece by itself is a beautiful and interesting tapestry of music with each movement woven delicately and deliberately together.

The performance by Fourie was done with such fervour and intensity one could easily imagine 10 different hands on the keys if you allowed yourself to close your eyes and get lost in the tapestry.

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