Artistic Reflections II: Ann Holler
By Angela Wampler | December 24, 2007Ann Holler teaches piano and is a lecturer in music at King College in Bristol. She said, "I spent a lot of time looking through photos of the artworks. At first I tried to find a single painting and was considering a landscape. However, I noticed several paintings of children, and the theme of children emerged in my thinking, perhaps because they are an important part of my life now." Holler has five grandchildren under the age of 11.
In the 2004 Artistic Reflections program, artists Dee Sproll and Clara Thomas created paintings related to compositions Holler had already completed. For this year's program, the process was reversed. The paintings already existed, and they provided the inspiration for her new compositions. She said, "Many of my previous compositions have been related to texts. Some have been vocal pieces, settings of poetry or Biblical passages. Even when I write instrumental music, I often have a text in mind." However, for this project, the inspiration was visual rather than verbal.
For the 2008 Artistic Reflections II, Holler has composed a set of three piano solos inspired by the four paintings of children. She explained, "In keeping with the theme of children, the musical textures are uncomplicated. The harmonic language is tonal, with a few modal and Impressionistic touches."
The first piece of the set, entitled "Games and Make-Believe," is based on Charles Bertrand's painting of children playing outdoors. In this piece, Holler offers two original themes suggestive of children engaged in make-believe.
Her third theme is a quotation of a French children's song, representing the playfulness of the children in the painting. Harmonies progress unexpectedly, symbolizing the free-flowing nature of children's play.
Holler's second piece, "Cradle Song," interprets two paintings, Belisario Gioja's "Interior Scene with Mother, Child, and Cat" and Cambier's "Mother and Daughter." Holler says, " Both melody and accompaniment are suggestive of rocking. The piece is intended to represent not only the baby in the cradle, but also the constant connection between all parents and their children."
The third piece, "Family Time," reflects a William Collins painting entitled "Family at Home with Animals and Birds" in the English countryside. Holler said, "In three-part form, this piece has a playful main theme contrasting with a more lyrical, folk-like second theme. The playful melody suggests the jolly father and the brothers, especially the mischievous one. The folk-like aspect of the second melody may encourage the listener to notice the countryside surrounding the home as well as the family's status as ordinary folk. The lyrical aspect of the second melody may suggest the tenderness of the mother-daughter relationship."
— BOB GREENE JR. organist for State Street United Methodist Church in Bristol.
— BETH McCOY of Abingdon, Va. directs the Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy and is a diaconal minister in the United Methodist Church.
— EVELYN PURSLEY-KOPITZKE was previously featured in "The Arts as Therapy" (August 2007) edition of A! Magazine for the Arts.
— - JANE PERRY teaches piano and composes music, although she has been deaf since about age two.
— Q & A with the composers.
— - Reading a book on the floor are Ryder, Randy, and Allison Bentley, parents Randall and Janet (Holler) Bentley.
— - Kate and Helen Ransom, parents Matt and Lisa (Holler) Ransom.
— - Helen Ransom, daughter of Lisa and Matt Ransom of Winston-Salem, N.C.
— - Helen Ransom with grandmother Ann Holler on their way to the lighthouse in Rockland, Maine.
Holler's composition was inspired by Charles Bertrand's painting.
Ann Holler's "Cradle Song" interprets two paintings. Shown is a detail from one of them, Belisario Gioja's "Interior Scene with Mother, Child, and Cat."