Video Premiere: Robert Honstein's 'Grand Tour'

Monday, January 09, 2017

Pianist Karl Larson (Courtesy of the Artist)

Composer Robert Honstein's Grand Tour offers a musical tour of the canals, alleyways and lagoons of Venice, Italy. Watch pianist Karl Larson perform the piece in this video premiere, directed by Evan Chapman.

Armed with a commission from Larson, Honstein lived in Venice for a summer, exploring the city while also confronting the strange tension between its ancient history and modern role as a manic mecca for international tourism.

Currently based in Boston, MA, Honstein is a founding member of the composer collective Sleeping Giant and has worked with Eighth Blackbird, cellist Ashley Bathgate (Bang on a Can All-Stars), Mivos Quartet, TIGUE and percussionist Doug Perkins, among others.

Honstein writes the following of the piece:

Grand Tour is a musical diary of time I spent living in Venice. For centuries the Grand Tour was a rite of passage for budding young aristocrats. Privileged offspring of wealthy European families ventured south for months at a time, paying homage to the decaying relics of antiquity. For many the trip ended in Venice, a place of decadence and exotic splendor.

While far removed from its past opulence, vestiges of the Grand Tour linger, bringing millions of tourists a year to Venice’s well-worn landmarks. Today the old idea of travel as self-realization remains, but now resides within the disneyfied marketplace of modern tourism. Romantic visions of antiquity clash with gigantic cruise ships and swarming tour groups as a constant assault of vendors, products, and services target the wayward traveler at every turn. Nonetheless, as a bookish, romantically inclined introvert, I clung to my Byron and sought out that old sense of poetic melancholy as I wandered the labyrinthine Venetian streets.

Grand Tour was commissioned by Karl Larson and a consortium of pianists including Stacey Barelos, Erika Dohi, Monika Haar, Mabel Kwan, Charlie Magnone, Jeff Manchur and Paola Saavidou. Learn more about the piece here.


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Comments [1]

Mary Ellen Taylor from Punta Gorda, FL

Karl and Friends,
What a beautiful composition! The music left time for interpretation which eventually made me want to return to Venice. I loved the city and vowed to bring my husband, but it has yet to happen. Hopefully now it will. Thank you fir brightening my afternoon. I visited in August, 1968.

Jan. 09 2017 04:18 PM

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