Adelaide Fringe. The Alley – Norwood. 22 Feb 2013

On a raised platform and in front of a large video screen, internationally acclaimed South Australian violinist Niki Vasilakis stands tall above the audience and plays her own composition for solo violin comprising eight interconnected miniatures that lasts for almost thirty minutes. 

Well rehearsed in the classical repertoire and a technician of some note, it is not all that surprising that some of her pieces appear to be derivative.  There are shades of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Lark Ascending’ in the first piece, and a substantial hint of Bach’s ‘Partitas’ in the second, third and fourth pieces, and they wow the audience – make no mistake about that – but the remaining pieces truly represent something from deep within her psyche.  The music becomes less dense, less frenetic, more meditative and very lyrical. 

The penultimate piece is the most interesting, comprising a set of themes that are satisfyingly developed and that are started and finished with dramatic pizzicato.  The final piece closes the loop and returns partly to the style of the first, but something special happens.  Read on!

Throughout the musical performance we see a video montage of scenes of renowned South Australian visual artist Claire Foord building an abstract painting.  At the conclusion of the musical performance the real painting is dramatically revealed for all to see.  The fascinating thing is that the painting is Foord’s response to her lifetime friends’ music.  The whole event has been constructed around the concept of a visual artist creating an artwork that has its raison d’être in the music, and the final product is beautiful.

“See the music, hear the art.”

It was fascinating to see the painting developing and questions moved through my mind almost in sync with the tempo of the music:  where was the painting going? Why did she hold the brush like that?  Will I like it?  Why such dizzyingly abstract forms?  Doesn’t it look a bit like a Kandinsky at this point? Aren’t the hues in Vasilakis’s dress very similar to the palette of the painting – is that deliberate? …and so on.

See the art and think about the music.  Hear the music and think about the art.

A very different event, and isn’t that the joy of Fringe?

Kym Clayton

When: 15 Feb to 15 Mar 
Where: The Alley – Norwood