Kala Academy Goa welcomes the Lorraine Music Academy and their debut concert
“If music be the food of love, play on” begins Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, originally performed twelve days after Christmas. The Lorraine Music Academy Concert in association with Kala Academy Goa on January 4, ten days after Christmas, evoked the atmosphere of the soirees that Schubert and Mendelssohn used to have at their homes – an informal evening of friends coming together to become one with music, of sharing a love. The artists: Falli Pavri (piano), Naomi Boole-Masterson (cello) from Scotland and Lorraine Fiona Aloysius (piano) communicated their love for the music they so aptly selected and for discovering the joy in music making.
Aubrey Aloysius, with his warm relaxed voice and personality, generated a cosy family feeling with his simple narrative of the origins and philosophy of the Lorraine Academy. Fiona meeting up with her school principal, who first nurtured her musical talent and and had flown down to be with her that night, and the two kids of Fali and Naomi walking across the stage as they played the encore "Swan" that Fali mentioned was their children’s favourite – these were touching moments. They personalised the evening.
Usually concerts begin with larger works and wind the evening down with lighter works, shorter pieces, encores. Pandit Ravi Shankar had great success in inverting the order – beginning with light-hearted, easily accessible or familiar short pieces before progressing to the more demanding pieces. This concert worked up a taste for music by guiding the audience through the Beethoven variations on “Judas Macabeus”, delectably played by the husband and wife duo, Fali Pavri and Naomi Boole-Masterson, the soaring Rachmaninoff “Vocalise”, a song without words, given a rich-toned, lyrical performance by them and two ever popular Chopin Waltzes that went straight to the heart through loving performances by Fali.
Field, relatively unknown, with close affinity to Chopin, and Schumann’s “Traumerei” demonstrated the calibre of Lorraine: an artist totally in love with her music and her instrument. I am sure Fiona’s students would feel inspired to see her on the concert stage. If our teachers in Goa performed more often in concert settings, sharing their love for music making as well as the concert platform with their students, they would learn to live the music rather than concentrate on examination pieces, grades and certificates.
Compelled to leave very reluctantly, I asked Vijayan Almeida, a music lover and teacher, to provide feedback on the rest of the concert. The inclusion of Ginastera’s “Argentinian Dances” which showed Fali in top form on the piano and the Martinu “Variations on a Slovakian theme” showcasing exciting duo playing, widened the musical palette while retaining the liveliness of music appreciation and enjoyment.
The concert before the intermission generated an appreciation of the “rich heritage of world music” that the Lorraine Academy seeks to revive and spread. The audience returned to experience two very different three movement works.
Vijayan’s favorite was a composition by John Mayer from Kolkata. “Prabandha” was structured around passages of an Indian classical recital. In the hands of Fali, the piano amazingly brought out the rhythmic complexity of the tabla in the first movement, “Tihai”, and the sound of the drone strings of the sitar while providing brisk rhythmic accompaniment in “Jhalla”, the second movement. We were privileged to hear "live" the pianist featured in the premiere recording of the work on the Guild label. Vijayan comments that Indian classical music is a great way to teach students of western classical music the subtlety of melody that cannot be written on a sheet.
I am sure the Brahms sonata too was exciting though more demanding. But they had prepared the audience to be receptive to serious music. That was the nature of the excellent programming of the evening: a shared progressive journey into music.
The stage is always the best classroom. What is the point of learning music if we do not find JOY in performing and sharing it? It was disappointing that so few people grabbed the opportunity of sharing the love of great music in performance. Specially as the cost of entry was so affordable: FREE! And particularly disheartening was the conspicuous absence of our young musicians. The Lorraine Music Academy believes in “empowering children and adults to discover their hidden musical talents” and in “touching lives through music”. Where were the young talents of Goa this evening?