As Elizabeth Bergmann – of the South Surrey-based Bergmann piano duo – puts it, “it’s an advantage when your other half is a composer and arranger.”
It’ll be that side of her husband, Marcel, that audiences will see spotlighted this Saturday (Nov. 24) in a 7:30 p.m. concert, A Portrait of Barbara Pentland, at Langley Community Music School’s Rose Gellert Hall, 4899 207 St.
As well as the virtuoso teamwork and textures of the award-winning, internationally-recognized duo – they moved here from Calgary two years ago – the concert will feature an, as-yet, untitled new piece for two pianos composed by Marcel.
Commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre, it’s a tribute to Pentland that draws inspiration from the late Canadian composer and one-time UBC professor’s use of text as part of her “darker” works created in the Vietnam era of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Pentland’s work, itself inspired by the Anton Webern’s compositions using tone rows and atonality, placed her at the forefront of the Canadian avante-garde, and the Bergmanns’ salute will include three of her own compositions, the Two Piano Sonata, Three Piano Duets After Pictures by Paul Klee and Puppet Show.
In a pre-concert talk, veteran musician and Langley Community Music School stalwart Ian Hampton will also offer his memories of Pentland, who died in 2000.
Marcel, who reveres Stravinsky and counts influences as diverse as pop and jazz, said he has built his new composition on a soundscape of spoken word media snippets, in which phrases are fragmented and repeated.
“It’s a collage of interviews about doom and gloom, relating to the culture of fear, and how we have to be kept in a state of perpetual worry,” he said.
“The rhythm of the speech becomes inspiring musically. Repetition and variation are two principals at the foundation of music – Beethoven has a lot of repetition in his music.”
At 2 p.m. the same day, a Canadian Music Week student concert will also pay tribute to Pentland.
Admission is free, or by donation.
For more, call 604-534-2848.