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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Angels for Peace

We do hope you'll be able to join us on Tuesday evening, 25th October, to celebrate the finissage of The Shadow of Angels. Our musical programme for the evening features Syrian concert pianist Riyad Nicolas and up-and-coming singer/songwriter Katya DJ.

For those who couldn't make it along to the opening you'll find a link below to a short film of what was a memorable evening of art, music and dance!

The finissage will open at 6pm with the concert at 7.45. The concert is in support of those in crisis in Syria - see Christian Aid's Syria Crisis Appeal.

St. Stephen Walbrook 25th October 2016


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Sonata K466 in F Minor
Domenico Scarlatti

Sonata K455 in G Major
Domenico Scarlatti

Sonata No 31 Opus 110 in A Flat Major
- Moderato Cantabile Molto Espressivo
- Allegro Molto
- Adagio Ma Non Troppo / Fuga; Allegro Ma Non Troppo
Ludwig von Beethoven

Polonaise Fantasie Opus 61 in A Flat
Frédéric Chopin

‘Scarbo’ from Gaspard de la Nuit
Maurice Ravel

Katya DJ is a 22 year-old London based singer/songwriter. Influenced by artists such as Amy Winehouse and Beth Hart, her sound incorporates elements of jazz/ blues influenced pop and she has been described as "... the best new artist I've heard since Adele." She has performed at various venues around London including The Troubadour, Chelsea Arts Club, The Pheasantry and Ronnie Scott's and also at Somerset Series at Somerset House and other festivals this summer. Katya graduated from the University of Oxford in 2015 with a BA in Music and has recently completed a Masters (MMus) in Popular Music Performance at BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute) in conjunction with the University of West London.

Riyad Nicolas is one of the most exciting young artists to emerge from the Middle East. “Syria’s leading young pianist” (International Piano Magazine 2012), was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1989, and has already established himself as a leading figure of his generation on the international performing circuit. He has won numerous international prizes and awards including First Prize at the Norah Sande Award in the UK, the Christopher Duke Recital Prize in the UK, the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition in Spain, and First Prize, with a recording contract, at The Francaix International Piano Competition in Paris, Top Prize at the 1st Syria National Piano Competition and was selected to be a Tillett Trust Young Artist in 2012 and an artist at the Countess of Munster Trust Concert Scheme in 2014.

Riyad graduated with a distinction in a Master of Performance course at the Royal College of Music, studying with Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche, as a Steinway Scholar supported by a Frederick Johnston Award. He first came to London in 2005 when he was awarded a two-year scholarship to study at the Purcell School of Music with Sulamita Aronovsky, continuing to work with her at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated in 2011. He has participated in masterclasses and was complimented by such musicians as Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Lill.

His first appearance as a soloist with an orchestra was made at age ten in Aleppo. Since then he has performed with many orchestras, including the London Chamber Orchestra at the Cadogan Hall, Emirate Symphony Orchestra in Dubai, Young Musician Symphony Orchestra at St. John's Smith Square, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the new Damascus Opera House, as well as with the Gomidas Chamber Orchestra of Aleppo. Riyad has given solo recitals in many prestigious venues in London, including The Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. James’s Piccadilly, and Leighton House. He is regularly invited to give recitals hosted by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the Chopin Society UK and has also been invited to perform in numerous UK musical festivals such as Harrogate, Norfolk-Norwich, King’s Lynn, Brighton, Devon, Darlington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Lincoln, Crediton, and Eastbourne. Concert performances have also taken him to France, Spain, Switzerland, USA (including a debut at Kennedy Centre in Washington) and some Arab States.

He has been invited to play for many fundraising concerts especially for Syria from various prestigious organizations such as The International Rescue Commitee, The UN refugee Agency,The Arab British Centre amongst many others.

“... this paragon of pianistic prestidigitation ... setting a new gold standard",
“… he had given a prodigious recital which rose head and shoulders above everything else we have heard this year”, “... every aspect of his performance ... melding all together into an indissoluble unity of conception.”
Beethoven Piano Society of Europe.

*Riyad gratefully acknowledges the support of Said Foundation, Asfari Foundation, Countess of Munster Trust, Talent unlimited and Help Musicians UK Fleming Award.


Riyad Nicolas - Emperor Concerto 1st movement.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Paul Nash and James Ensor

Paul Nash opens at Tate Britain on 26 October. Paul Laity has an excellent piece in The Guardian on Nash and his work:

'Nash’s transformations of reality were the product of a visionary sensibility that harked back to William Blake and Samuel Palmer; he searched for inner meanings in the landscape, what he called the “things behind” ...

he was caught up, as ever, in looking at the world and seeing patterns and mysterious “things behind”. An artist both full of wonder and wonderful, knowing the end was near, painted pictures that were stranger than ever.'

Paul and Margaret Nash practiced Christian Science, and Paul shared a Christian Science practitioner with Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. Hepworth, Nicholson and Winifred Nicholson were profoundly influenced by Christian Science (a faith that was of great importance to Stanley Spencer’s wife, Hilda Carline).

For Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans at the Royal Academy of Arts from 29 October 2016 — 29 January 2017, Tuymans, a fellow Belgian and admirer of Ensor, will look back at Ensor’s singular career through a selection of his most bizarrely brilliant and gloriously surreal creations.
Astrid Schenk has written that

'It was 1888 when James Ensor began work on his monumental painting Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889. The painting would become one of his most iconic and eagerly analysed compositions, and is now regarded as a milestone in the history of modern art. Not surprisingly, perhaps, it has also encouraged art historians to take a closer look at the representation of religious subject matter in Ensor's oeuvre in general. The focus of this scholarly attention has been mainly on Ensor's various approaches to the Crucifixion (especially the grotesque or sinister elements in some of his renderings), as well as on the series entitled The Aureoles of Christ or the Sensitivities of the Light, which Ensor first exhibited in 1887, and on different versions of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, Abbot of Egypt ...

The size of his religious oeuvre, the great variation in religious subject matter, and the fact that he continued throughout his life to produce religious work are strong indications that, to Ensor, religious sources of inspiration were key to achieving his artistic goals. This relevance went well beyond the supposed identification of the artist with the suffering of Christ and the exploration of particular visual effects. Ensor borrowed from the Christian iconography in order to be able to visualise his ideas in a recognisable idiom and to conduct visual experiments in his quest for exaltation.'


Gungor - You.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism

For some time I have been arguing that, as Daniel A. Siedell suggested in God in the Gallery, "an alternative history and theory of the development of modern art" is needed, "revealing that Christianity has always been present with modern art, nourishing as well as haunting it, and that modern art cannot be understood without understanding its religious and spiritual components and aspirations." In my Airbrushed from Art History and Sabbatical Art Pilgrimage series of posts I have highlighted some of the artists and movements (together with the books that tell their stories) that should feature in that alternative history when it comes to be written.

In Modern Art and the Life of a Culture: The Religious Impulses of Modernism Jonathan A. Anderson and William A. Dyrness, part of IVP's Studies in Theology and the Arts, also argue that there were strong religious impulses that positively shaped modern visual art. Instead of affirming a pattern of decline and growing antipathy towards faith, the authors contend that theological engagement and inquiry can be perceived across a wide range of modern art—French, British, German, Dutch, Russian and North American—and through particular works by artists such as Gauguin, Picasso, David Jones, Caspar David Friedrich, van Gogh, Kandinsky, Warhol and many others.

Gregory Wolfe writes that this book provides a 'nuanced and sympathetic view of the religious aspects that truly did haunt modernism in the visual arts' noting that, after a couple of introductory chapters, 'the book moves into a sequence of historical surveys ranging from Van Gogh to Andy Warhol, with many stops in between.'

Dryness notes: 'Van Gogh is often recognized as a deeply spiritual artist, but usually he is pictured as having given up his childhood (Reformed) Christian faith. But closer examination shows this not to have been the case. Others, like Gauguin, who are largely regarded as irreligious, turn out to have had deep and formative experiences with (in this case) the Catholic faith. Still others, like Malevich, inherited sensibilities from their religious contexts which made deep inroads into their art. So there is no single story to be told.' 

Anderson says: 'The research for this book was full of surprises for me. The religious backgrounds of these artists, as well as the ongoing theological content of their work, are sometimes buried deep in the academic literature and primary sources, but once you begin to dig you find extraordinary things. Van Gogh was actually a fascinating theologian, and his paintings were theologically oriented all the way to the end. Mondrian completed his art training in the thick of the best neo-Calvinist thinking of the day. Until researching for this book, I hadn’t realized just how deeply Kandinsky was preoccupied with the book of Revelation. Warhol’s sharp social commentaries were oriented by his lifelong Catholicism. And so on: the surprises abound.'


Van Morrison - In The Garden.

Notes on Blindness: A more inclusive future for VOD

The acclaimed film Notes On Blindness (which was screened last week at St Martin-in-the-Fields as part of our 'Prophets & Seers' weekend), is now available on DVD and also to stream on Curzon Home Cinema, Virgin Media and the BFI Player. Not only is the film available with subtitles, but it also comes with a range of different audio tracks specially designed for blind and partially sighted audiences. Charlie Lyne suggests in The Guardian that the film's exemplary package points towards a more inclusive future for Video On Demand.


Leonard Cohen - Treaty.

Bob Dylan: In an imaginative conversation with scripture

Malcolm Guite makes an excellent argument in the Church Times for the appropriateness of awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature, including the following:

'... it is the Bible, more even than the work of previous poets, that has inspired and informed Dylan’s best work; and this biblical strand in his poetry is not confined to the more obvious and dramatic quotations in the intense period of his Christian conversion (1979-82).

Throughout his work, from his earliest days to the present, he has been in an imaginative conversation with scripture. In his best songs, it is not only direct quotation, but subtle allusion, that informs and deepens the poetry. Dylan often allows a Bible passage to work quietly behind his song. We can hear and appreciate the song without at first hearing the biblical echoes, but, once we do hear them, the whole meaning of the song is enhanced.'

For more reflection on Dylan and faith, read my co-authored book 'The Secret Chord'.


Bob Dylan - Blowing In The Wind.

Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge

Ros Southern writes ...

'Coming up this week
  • Tomorrow - Redbridge Hack Day to try to solve the problem of some residents not going online. Info here
  • Tomorrow - Isatu Harrison, South Woodford fashion designer has big Sierra Leone fashion event Info here
  • Tuesday - Chamber networking breakfast IS CANCELLED.
  • Wednesday - 5.30 Entrepreneurs clubfor 6. Mindfulness for business owners with Pipa Moye. Info and booking here
Sophia Hubs stuff coming up
  • Timebank community skills swap - We 've found a nice cafe! Weds 9 November 6pm info here. Please do come and join in.
  • Sophia course - from a vague community or business idea to first pilot - Saturday mornings. Info here
  • Entrepreneurs club dates until Christmas - available here.
Other great stuff coming up
  • Google digital training - Saturday 29 October - info here
  • Volunteering fair - Thurs 3 November 11-2 - info here (we'll be there!)
  • Tech club for techie businesses - Thurs 3 November 6pm - Info here
  • Free open source IT tools - Friday 4 November 1-3. Info here
  • Monday 7th November - Wanstead Business Network meeting - open to all
  • Next 3 hour starting a business workshop 15th Nov 10-1. Info here
Some of our social media shares/posts this week

Have a nice weekend,

Best wishes,

Ros Southern, Coordinator.
07707 460309


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Be The Rain.

Windows on the world (315)

London, 2016


Joni Mitchell - Harry's House.