The Independence Day concert was a very special experience both for the performers and the audience. The piano was placed in the beautifully decorated garden of the Town Hall. The scent of flowers was carried on the gentle breeze, the audience in attendance delightfully waiting for the concert.
The concert began with an impromptu performance of the national anthems of U. S. A. and Italy. Immediately following, Logan Skelton came up to the stage and delivered a charming and witty program of two pieces from William Bolcom’s The Garden of Eden. The first piece, “The Eternal Feminine,” representing Eve in the biblical story, was performed with a sweet lyricism. The second piece, “The Serpent’s Kiss,” is driving and dark, a representation of the snake doing whatever possible to make Eve take a bite of the apple. Bolcom includes a number of techniques such as tongue-clicking, foot-stomping, whistling, and tapping the piano, all very entertaining to hear. His energetic and confident performance engaged the audience. The Concerto No. 2 “After Lewis and Clark” by Philip Glass, was played next by Paul Barnes. The Town Hall Garden was filled with his meditative, almost hypnotizing performance. The concert then took the audience toward a world of American jazz by the brilliant performance of James Giles who presented three of virtuoso pianist Earl Wild’s etudes based on the music of George Gershwin. Giles played the notoriously difficult pieces with an effortless virtuosity and grace. The last piece of the program was George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue by Gisele and Fabio Witkowski. The unity of the sound and ensemble enabled us to imagine a full orchestra performing the piece.
It was such a meaningful time for all of us, especially for the Americans, that we were able to share the music of America with people from all over the world on Independence Day.