By Sarah Dalton-Phillips and Helen Swallow

The Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center series continued on March 26th with a lecture/concert by John Newell.  Some fifty people listened intently to his program entitled, “Something Borrowed,” a journey through the Western classical music canon. Greg Biss introduced the afternoon with a brief history of 9-foot Henry Miller grand piano which EAC received as a donation some 20 years ago, and on which the afternoon’s concert was performed.
Newell’s premise—all the forms of the music he played were borrowed from other musical traditions—was an interesting one. His program began with a Polonaise by J.S. Bach, followed by one by his adolescent son, C.P.E. Bach. Interesting snippets of information preceded each group of pieces. Ländler, Ecossaises and a Waltz by Schubert were followed by Mazurkas, a Waltz and a Nocturne by Chopin. One of the 2 mazurkas he wrote on his deathbed—a plangent cry from the heart, and as John Newell said: “the essence of romantic lyricism.”

More modern music included a Tango by Stravinsky and a piece by Poulenc: Improvisation #15, an homage to Edith Piaf. This latter was perhaps the most interesting—at least to these listeners’ ears.  The concert concluded with two pieces from The Persistence of Memory, a suite of borrowings from the music of the 1920’s (with a nod to Salvador Dali’s painting of the same name) by the contemporary composer, Stephen Dankner.
Altogether an interesting and informative afternoon—thanks John!

Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center programs are held in Eastport Arts Center’s cozy downstairs Washington Street Gallery, amidst rotating exhibitions. Admission is by voluntary donation; proceeds are shared equally between the presenters and EAC constituent group The Concert Series, which offers year-round programming run by volunteers. No one is turned away for lack of funds.
The complete Sunday series schedule and more posts about upcoming and past programs may be found here: https://eastportartscenter.org/constituent-groups/the-concert-series/.