"Last Reflection of Ophelia"


Ophelia on show - Exhibition
"The Musicality of the Water Lilies"
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
Holy Cross, Worcester

"There is a willow grows aslant a brook,

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;

Her clothes spread wide;

And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up :

Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes..."

W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1599

Synesthesia : A celebration of Painting and Music
Honoring Trudie ans Niel Prior
Brooks Concert Hall

Septembre, 9th 2017,
Worcester (Mass)

Dedication of the commissioned works Last Reflection of Ophelia by Gabrielle Thierry and Eric Lebrun in recognition of Trudie and Neil Prior's significant commitment and support of academic excellence and the arts at Holy Cross, inspiring and transforming the lives of students, during their time at Holy Cross and beyond.

The Concert

The concert is held in conjunction with the exhibition The Musicality of the Water Lilies at the Cantor Art Gallery.

In September 2016, Prof. Maurice Géracht, Professor of Humanities and English Dept, et Brittain Smith, Director of the Study Abroad, from The College of Holy Cross, have commissioned Gabrielle Thierry to create a new painting, Water and Reflections, and French composer, Eric Lebrun, to create a complementary, original score for piano and cello. The simultaneous unveiling of Gabrielle Thierry's original artwork and the world premiere of Lebrun's music will truly be the highlight of this manifestation around Synesthesia as a mode for experiencing multi-sensory exploration of the arts.

Other works performed this evening include pieces Thierry has associated with her paintings currently on view in the exhibition The Musicality of the Water Lilies / La Musicalité des Nymphéas at the Cantor Art Gallery.

Ophelia, a tragic character from Shakespeare's Hamlet, serves as the inspiration for both works by Lebrun and Thierry. Lebrun's music is infused with the colors of the water, its reflections in spring time, and the depths of the pond that inexorably draws Ophelia to her demise.
Thierry, transported by Lebrun's music, captures visually the drama of the scene - with horizontal lines representing the surface of the water and the vertical lines, both the reflection of the water and its depths.
As Ophelia disappears slowly under the water, flowers and waves surrounding her, the long chords of the cello, brown and red, give a temporality to the scene, while three blue shapes of souls witness the drama.

Jacques Boumendil, Director and photogragher, made a short movie on the painting process, on show in the Cantor Art Gallery, and on opening of the concert.

The painting "Last Reflection of Ophelia, the colored musical scores" is exhibited in the Cantor art Gallery, and now part of the Iris et B.Gerald Cantor Art Gallery - College de Holy Cross'Collection.

The concert with the World premiere of the new musical work Last Reflection of Ophelia, op.39 for cello and piano, written in 2017 by French composer Eric Lebrun is performed by artists-in-residence Adam Golka, piano and Jan Muller-Szeraws, cello, with two of the Music Department's Brooks Scholars, Anastasia Dulskiy '19 and Kevin Chen '21.

Program (PDF)

Adam Golka, Piano et Jan Muller-Szeraws, Cello
Brooks Concert Hall, Worcester

Film Ophelia (Youtube)

The Painting

"In the continuity of one of my Water Lilies colored musical scores, the commission of the College of Holy Cross, had for major inspiration the reflections and water with piano and cello harmonies.
With this unique reference, Eric Lebrun added a lyrical dimension. Inspired by Ophelia, the character in Hamlet, his music is imbued with the colors of the water, its reflections in spring time, and the depths of the pond that inexorably draws Ophelia.
This scene has inspired many painters and I was also quickly inspired and transported by the music of Eric Lebrun, thanks to his representation of the last song for Ophelia. In resonance with the Shakespeare drama scene, the music complete the expression of my thoughts as I transpose it into a colorful space on the canvas.
The painting composition is like a musical score.
The horizon lines represent the surface of the water and the vertical lines, both the reflection on the water and the depth of the pond. The bass and low sounds vibrate underwater and the treble evokes Ophelia in her diaphanous dress, surrounded by moving flowers and by the reflections of the trees and the sky in the water. Ophelia disappears slowly and remains the waves with the errand flowers. Some large and discrete waves announce the long chords of the cello, brown and red, that give a temporality to the scene. The piano notes are shorter, lighter and geometric in their higher tones. Low and like geometric squares, they represent the brown and blue underwater.
Above the scene, three blue shapes of souls witnessing the drama."

The Music

" Invited by Gabrielle Thierry, it was delightful to write a piece that is immediately perceptible, on the theme of the colorful reflection. The theme of the Last reflexions of Ophelia was evident for me, with its many poetic, pictorial and musical ramifications.
I took a simple and clear framework: a piece of music with a duration of nearly five minutes, which does not present major difficulty for its execution and is immediately understood by the listener. By the same token, the composition of the score allows for subtle imitations of mirroring. Finally, I had to privilege color harmonies with gloomy shades.
I was inspired by W.Shakespeare few verses from Hamlet (below) to build a kind of elegy, with all emotions retained.
The cello sings a chant with a descending tone, then raising in the treble with small impulses, on a bed of repeated accords on the piano; which conquers the treble "tessitura" in a set of eflexions with the bow intrument.
This music must be played with great sensitivity and with care of variation in the color, for the pianist with his sens of touch, as well as for the cellist with the nuances and subtility of the cello timbre."
Eric Lebrun, mai 2017

The Film

Short film, directed by Jacques Boumendil, documenting the creation of the painting Last Reflection of Ophelia - a Colored Musical Score by Gabrielle Thierry.
Featuring the composition Last Reflection of Ophelia by Eric Lebrun, performed by musicians Clara Michel-Mazzoleni, cello and Théophile Thierry, piano.
Renaud Michel, Sound Engineer.

© G Thierry
Affiliation à la Maison des Artistes n°V223306 - SIRET 484 139 738 00013