Pianist, Spencer Holden filled the Lake Gregory Community Church in Crestline with an audience of over 200 on August 29 for his solo recital featuring piano music from the 20th century, which he performed to a series of archival and deconstructed film clips. The program, titled simply "THE END" was actually the beginning of a wonderful and exciting career for this 22-year old musician and filmmaker. Holden's passion for both music and film was clear to the audience as he combined the two art forms to create an unforgettable musical experience.The program was in five segments: It opened with "The Seventh Seal," in which Holden used images of multiple nuclear explosions, while performing the serene and peaceful Trois Gymnopedies by French Impressionist composer, Erik Satie. This was followed by "The Fall of Man," using a repetitive image of a love scene from the film, Rebel Without a Cause, each time followed by a different style of the words, "The End." The music Holden played in this segment was Six Gnossiennes, a series of charming and melodic short pieces, also by Erik Satie.
Continuing the dark and mysterious mood of the film footage was "A Curse Weighing on the Entire Landscape" in which Holden used scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's ground-breaking film, The Birds, with music by American composer Seymour Bernstein, a suite also titled The Birds. The light and lovely music of each different bird was timed perfectly to each frightening scene from the film.
The next segment, entitled “Babel” showed scenes from a factory, tract housing developments, and congested freeways, while Holden performed selections from Children’s Songs by American jazz keyboardist, Chick Corea. The paradox here was to portray the hope, wonder, and idealism of youth and how children must grow up to face reality.
The final segment, “For All Mankind” was a stirring and emotionally charged rendition of Debussy’s beautiful Clair de Lune, set to footage of the space shuttle Challenger taking off, exploding, and falling back to earth, followed by an image of Christ on the cross. Throughout the program, Holden successfully depicted the contrasting elements of light & dark, love & hate, joy & sorrow, and beauty & horror that is experienced in our world.
Throughout the entire performance, Spencer Holden had used his timing and body language to keep the audience silent and on the edge of their seats. But after the final note had died away and the screen became dark, the audience, after a few more moments of stunned silence, broke into thunderous applause with a standing ovation.
Holden has proven to be a most creative and imaginative artist, and his thoughtful ideas and expressive nature are sure to develop much more as he pursues his career in filmmaking. He has already had one of his films premiered at the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival in 2008. He has studied piano with Noëlle Tinturin for the past four years, and has now just begun classes at California Institute of the Arts in the school of film/video.