The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s music season gets underway with back-to-back concerts of mostly site-specific repertoire this weekend. The highlight may come in a commissioned work responding to Whistler’s “Nocturne, Blue and Silver: Battersea Reach,” which hangs in the Museum’s Yellow Room. Jessica Meyer wrote Grasping for Light during her week-long residency at the Museum last March.
Other items in A Far Cry’s “Portraits,” featuring music inspired by renowned works of art, include Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and Respighi’s Botticelli Triptych, nods to the Museum’s upcoming Botticelli exhibition, which opens Feb. 2019. William Grant Still took inspiration for “Mother and Child,” part of his Suite for Violin and Piano, from Sargent Johnson’s lithograph, “Mother and Child.”
In celebration of the Boston native’s centennial, violinist Tai Murray will join A Far Cry, in Bernstein’s “Agathon” from Serenade after Plato’s Symposium
“Portraits” runs on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m in the Museum’s Calderwood Hall. Tickets ($15 – $36) include museum admission, and may be purchased HERE or at the door.
“Grasping for Light serves as a metaphor for how Mrs. Gardner was able to move beyond the stagnant mist of her mental state toward the light of who she was supposed to be,” says Meyer. After the death of her only child, she fell into a debilitating depression, for which her doctor prescribed travel and new experiences. Her emergence from the tragedy and subsequent world travels rekindled her passion for art and her mission to collect it.
Entering its ninth season in a 10-year residency, A Far Cry has been the Gardner’s resident chamber orchestra since 2010. The Grammy-nominated group is known for its conductorless play, musical variety, and commitment to new music.
Violinist Tai Murray, based between New York and Berlin, has performed alongside the Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Manchester BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, among others.