We were fortunate to arrive in Wilmington in time to see the North Carolina Symphony perform at the Wilson Center (Cape Fear Community College). The program featured Scheherazade, by Rimsky-Korsakov, a piece we knew would be enjoyable. What we didn’t realize was that was the second half of the program. The piece to be performed before intermission was much more ambitious, a Percussion Concerto by Jennifer Higdon, a contemporary American composer. She wrote it for Colin Currie, who was performing the piece. We seem to have stumbled into something special. The work was written in 2005, and won a Grammy.
Seeing the stage, I assumed this work was played by a percussion section, as there was a marimba on the far right of the stage in the position a soloist would stand, and next to it was a vibraphone, with space for another player. On the other side of the conductor were two other places. On the far left was a drum kit with bass and snare drum and a variety of cymbals, and just to the left of the conductor was a rack and table that proved to hold small clicking and tapping items, a library of woodblocks. Colin Currie played them all.
He didn’t rush around, but played at one station, then walked to the next and the next, moving across the stage and back. His shift in position was not distracting, and it was fascinating to be able to see him clearly as he played, often with two mallets in each hand. The piece was interesting, varied, and we were delighted to have been there. After the intermission, Scheherazade was a pleasant part two, restful and familiar.
It was the final concert of the season, our only musical experience in Wilmington. We decided to check out the local art museum, the Cameron Museum. The museum is not large, but has some interesting works indoors and in the sculpture park around the building. With apologies to all the artists mentioned, I seemed to find connections between the pieces I saw with artists of other times and places.
When I saw this painting by Claude Howell, it looked very familiar. Later, I realized it reminded me of work by Thomas Hart Benton.
Left: Claude Howell; Right: Thomas Hart Benton
We passed a painting that made me think of Picasso:
In the sculpture gallery, we saw a take on Michelangelo:
A staff member suggested we be sure to visit their current installation, Flying School (Ecole d’Aviacion), by Diane Landry. It was wonderful. Here is a clip:
Before we headed for home, Jonathan followed the instructions on this big dancing couple and took them for a stroll. It was allowed, but the attendant was nervous.
A thoroughly enjoyable visit.