Heidi Forsterís Concert Review



A Concert Reflection


Saturday, January 8th, 2005



          Several weeks ago, Cris Forster performed three new compositions on his just intoned piano for a small group of Chrysalis board members and supporters, all of them true friends. The rain was torrential that day. The audience arrived drenched and shivering, and we gathered together in anticipation as the downpour drummed against the skylights and the thunder rumbled ominously. After postponing the concert for a respectable time in deference to the stormís fury, Cris began to play. What followed was the most remarkable collaboration of man and nature that I have ever experienced. The pieces he performed were the three that will open Ellis Island/ Angel Island: A Vision of the American Immigrants. The first, entitled Goodbye, conveys the sorrow of people parting, perhaps forever. As he played, the rain wept against the walls of the studio, heightening the plaintive strains of the music and the intimacy between us as we shared this moment of human loss.


          I was worried that the percussive force of the rain would drown out the nuances of the next piece, Farewell, but just as he pressed the first note, the rain stopped abruptly. The fragile cords between souls that can not be broken by distance were evoked in delicate chords of luminous sound. The absolute stillness surrounded us and magnified the music against its emptiness, just as our selves are magnified against the backdrop of the unknown.


          The final piece, Far Away, drew us deeper into the journey. Now on the high seas, the immigrants have come to grips with the finality of their departure, and are awed by the immensity of their leap and the enormity of their loss. But as a vacuum draws matter unto itself, so the soul deprived its loved ones will fill with hope. The surge of the waves becomes one with the surge of joyous anticipation that overcomes the travelers. Transformed into travelers together, Cris carried us on the oceanic polyrhythmic churnings of his bass line, the melody a flag of hope floating above to buoy our spirits. A few rays of late afternoon sun slipped through the skylights to beam over our gathering, and we were illuminated.



-Heidi Forster

Jan. 29, 2005