Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Church of Beethoven

Last Sunday I went to see local poet Joy Harjo perform at the Church of Beethoven. This local institution has been going on for a few years now, & I had been once before. However, now that I work Sundays, it's a bit of a stretch for me to attend. I'm so glad I didn't miss this!

The website says "Not church . . . more than Beethoven. Arrive early and enjoy the complimentary espresso bar. Our one-hour program of ensemble music and poetry begins promptly at 10:30 am. We usually open with a short work— something out of the ordinary— followed by a reading by our poet of the morning. Intermission is a two-minute celebration of silence and we close with a substantial work of chamber music." The Church of Beethoven was founded in 2008 by musician Felix Wurman, who has since passed away, to showcase ensemble music, poetry, & performance. It takes place at The Kosmos & attendance ranges around 100-140 "enchanted listeners", even with tickets at $15 a head.

For Sunday's event, because Joy Harjo is a poet & musician (she played at least 3 instruments at the Church of Beethoven), the show began with the amazing Ikuko Kanda on violin as the only other performer besides Ms. Harjo & the musicians who accompanied her. Ms. Kanda performed the Adagio & Fugue of Bach's Sonata in G Minor. I found the Adagio especially compelling, but Ms. Kanda performed both brilliantly.

For the rest of the time, it was Joy Harjo's event. Accompanied by Larry Mitchell & Tony James, she performed many of her poems in song with music, although her latest piece she chose to read while music played because she hadn't gotten the rhythm down yet. Her songs included "This is My Heart", "Equinox", & "Goin' Home". Ms. Harjo also read from her children's book, For a Girl Becoming. Whether singing or reading, it was a truly inspiring performance. For other works by Joy Harjo, check the library catalog.

Don't miss next Sunday the 19th, when Vivaldi's The Four Seasons will be performed in its entirety, interspersed with readings of sonnets originally created for the work!

1 comment:

David said...

Oh, I'm so sad to have missed this. I've seen Joy Harjo in concert before (with her band Poetic Justice) and it was great. If you like her work, get the CD Letter From End of 20th Century.