The Rockport Chamber Music Festival brought in a new artist this season, one who is referred to as a "major rock star of the early music world," and he certainly rocked the house — along with the thunder and lightning that could be seen breaking behind the oceanfront window at the rear of the Shalin Liu Performance Center stage.
On a few occasions, a couple of the musicians on stage turned their head toward the window, but of course missed the lightning show that the audience could see.
Still, Jordi Savall of Spain and fellow musicians Dimitri Psonis of Greece and David Mayoral, also of Spain, made a greater impact on the audience.
"Those fortunate enough to have heard Jordi Savall (and friends) ...heard a concert they will probably remember for many years to come. Savall's acute intelligence, imagination, and heart shine through in all he played," wrote Susan Miran of The Boston Musical Intelligencer, a blog of the region's classical music scene.
The most poignant moment came during the encore when the voice of Savall's late wife, Montserrat Figueras, a "rock star" of early music with her soprano voice, was played through the speakers in the concert hall accompanied by the three musicians on stage.
Savall spoke to the audience with his thick Spanish accent: "We die only when people forget us."
Many in the audience shared how they were deeply touched by this experience.
Poetry group probes 'Disguises'
A local group that's simply called The Poetry Readers will discuss "Master of Disguises" by Charles Simic, a former U.S. poet laureate and University of New Hampshire professor, next Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Brenner Friends Room at the Rockport Public Library.
Simic's works are short and sad, and set mysterious scenes with unnerving juxtapositions, according to a press release. Life is a "master of disguises," as are death, hope and love. Copies of the book are at the library.
The group welcomes new members. For information, call 978-546-3754.
Architectural praise lingers with couple
Last weekend was filled with events that will remain with a couple with strong local ties.
Architects Alan Joslin and his wife Deborah Epstein were seated near the front of the Shalin Liu Performance Center for the gala event featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Leon Fleisher.
Before he began to play, the 83-year-old musician addressed the crowd and said that in all the years — all the decades — that he has performed, he had never seen a hall so beautifully integrated with its surroundings.
"I just wanted to sit and gaze out the window," he said.
The husband and wife team said they were touched by his remarks.
"It gave us great satisfaction that such an accomplished musician was so deeply and warmly affected by the environment, and wanted to share his reactions so publicly," said Joslin, who is involved with the extensive capital renovation planned by Gloucester Stage Company. "We hope his comments will leak well beyond the boundaries of the room to entice others to want to come and experience the unique magic of the Shalin Liu Performance Center."
Epstein, also a weaver, shared her gratitude for the warm reception she received at the artist reception for her work at the Mercury Gallery.
"Like the interior of the concert hall, my woven work is inspired by nature. Both the stone walls of the concert hall and the five new pieces on display at the gallery, strive to capture the colors, texture, and graphic qualities of quarries, like those dotting Cape Ann," she said.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445. New Rockport beat reporter Marjorie Nesin will be taking over Rockport Ramblings beginning next week. She can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.