A Pairing of Harpsichord Music & Fine Wine: Explorations in Synesthesia
We invite music- & wine-lovers to enjoy a serious, yet light-hearted, exploration of the sensory experiences evoked by "paired" harpsichord music & wine. Harpsichordist Joseph Gascho & international wine reviewer, Don Winkler, will guide the audience in exploring how the beautiful sounds of a harpsichord composition & the flavors of a specific wine can meld & stimulate a wonderful multi-sensory experience.
Definition: Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (e.g. hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (e.g. vision). People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.
Multi-sensory experiences are common to all of us; a sound, taste or vision often involuntarily prompts a secondary sensory experience. For most of us, these are rather loose sensory experiences, where a certain piece of music, for instance, might sound “as if” the wind is rustling through trees. We recognize these experiences but tend not to give undue attention to them. However, for a small percentage of people – the 5% or so who are true synesthetes – these multisensory experiences are constant, consistent, and intense.
Sound-color synesthesia is more common than other sensory associations. Many musicians, including Alexander Scriabin, Olivier Messiaen, Amy Beach, and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, associated musical keys with specific colors. There are some reports that Franz Liszt also experienced sound-color synesthesia. Scriabin felt that each note in an octave could be associated with a particular color, and in Prometheus, the Poem of Fire, he wrote the music and noted the colors associated with the notes.
Numerous painters also experience color-music sensations; Paul Klee produced many “polyphonic paintings”. David Hockney perceives music as colors and draws on this in preparing opera backdrops.
Music-taste synesthesia is rather less common, although some musicians report that specific musical intervals generate consistent taste sensations. A well-known American sommelier reports experiencing taste-color synesthesia; he “sees” wines as colors when tasting them. He reports that a white wine like Nosiola has a “beautiful aquamarine, flowy, kind of wavy color to it”.
Join Aberfoyle Baroque for a unique and enticing evening in which a music and a wine specialist guide the audience in assessing the sensory experiences evoked by a "pairing" of certain harpsichord compositions and fine wines. Joseph Gascho and Don Winkler will have worked together to "pair" the music and wine and will discuss their pairing decisions at the Soirée. Explore the depths of your music-wine synesthesia!