Through Darkness Flows Light

Friday April 21, 2023 @ 7:30 PM

LOCATION: cSPACE King Edward (1721 29 Ave SW)

SERIES: Mainstage

FEATURING: Lana Henchell & Akiko Tominaga, piano duo

Through history, music has played a vital role in uplifting and inspiring, providing solace and consolation in times of darkness. Our program is curated to reflect these aspects of music and its relationship with mental health.

Music is a powerful tool that can affect the human mind in positive ways. The theory of the Mozart Effect was a scientific study involving Mozart’s Sonata for Two pianos—suggesting that the composition can have a positive effect on childrens’ brain development, enhance spatial-temporal performance and even decrease seizure activity in Alzheimer’s patients.

Dedicated to Tchaikovsky, who had died the month prior, the ‘musical pictures’ of Rachmaninoff’s Op. 5 Suite take their inspiration from various poems depicting human emotions. Rachmaninoff’s music evokes aspects of nature and life through its harmonic and textural landscapes. The Barcarolle represents the flow of water through sadness into love and happiness.

Composition was an outlet and form of expression through the troubled lives of many composers. Lutolawski’s Paganini Variations was written in the years prior to the invasion of Poland before WWII. His struggles through the war as an officer of the Polish Army included being captured, escaping, and fleeing 400 km on foot to his home in Warsaw, only to survive by playing small cafe gigs, as concerts had been banned.

Allan Gordan Bell’s A Long River explores the character of lightness, but not in the sense of “light music,” but rather in the sense intended by Italo Calvino in his book Six Memos for the Next Millenium, where he describes it as having a character of precision and determination, always in motion with a psychological process in which subtle elements are at work. The piece honors the lives of four men who were friends of Bell—whom all died within months of each other.

Vincent Ho took his inspiration from the psyches of comic book supervillains. Inspired by the interpretation of several Calgarian choreographers, he translated their physical gestures into musical form to represent the personality flaws, emotional traits and the unique struggles embodied in each character.

Our program touches on multiple aspects of emotional, psychological and social well-being. As performers, we aim to shine a light on different angles of human conflict and strife—celebrating music’s power to uplift, heal, strengthen and inspire.


Mozart: Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448/375a
Rachmaninoff: Suite No.1 in G Minor, Op.5
Lutosławski: Variations on a Theme by Paganini
Alan Gordon Bell: A long river (for two pianos)
Vincent Ho: Supervillain Etudes (for two pianos)

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