Music with Minnesotans: Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
December 7, 2011
tuckaghrie_hollingsworth (Photo courtesy the artist) Birch and Sumac in September (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Mississippi Life on River Study no. 4 (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Forest landscape No. 88 (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Sunrise on Lake Yellow and Purple (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Morning Light and a Poplar Tree in Summer, Forest Study No. 29 (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Forest Landscape No. 85 (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) Garden Delight Sea-Green (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth) North Woods in Autumn, Landscape No. 92 (Tuckaghrie Hollingsworth)

St. Paul, Minn. — Tuckaghrie (Tucker) Hollingsworth makes some of the most sumptuous photographs of landscapes. He takes his pictures at night using the glow of street lights and other man-made ambient light as well as the light of the moon and stars.

What he achieves are impressionistic and ghost-like images that are often colorful and intense, filled with drama, but also moody and hard to pin down.

The whole process started just as a way to create art for his own walls, and soon transformed into sneaking into public spaces at night to see what might happen when he aimed his lens at the scene and opened the shutter for as long as possible while still cradling the camera body.

While I imagine there are many discards from the photos - he never knows exactly what will happen - the successes are mesmerizing. The work seems to be musical with line and phrase and form. And in addition, there are moments of silence or "white space" that helps the forms stand out more.

The music Tucker plays while working is intellectual and academic, while still beautiful, like Haydn and Bach. Tucker uses the word "safe" to describe how the music makes him feel while he works - balanced, focused and self-assured.

As a former cellist, Tucker worked on his technique at great length, so admires virtuosity - as well as flash and show. This is where Bach plays an important role - particularly with solo sonatas which demonstrate the pinnacle of a musician's artistry.

And loneliness too. Creation is lonely and solitary, Tucker tells me and so relating to Bach's solo music also resonates.

Tucker used Wagner as his rock-and-roll escape when he was a teenager - much to the dismay of his Beatles loving father. It wasn't until he got out on his own and started hanging around with composers did he realize it was time to expand his horizons into opera, filling his life with recordings and concerts. Like me, he listens at least 10 or 12 times over and over to Leontyne Price singing with that perfect crystalline tone the famous aria from La Rondine. Once just isn't enough.

The final piece on Tucker's playlist is the Scherzo from Dvorak Symphony No. 8


Tucker Hollingsorth's playlist:

Joseph Haydn, Symphony No. 53 "Imperial:" Minuet - Concentus Musicus/Harnoncourt

J.S. Bach, Solo Sonata No. 2 for Violin - James Ehnes

Giacomo Puccini, la Rondine: Chi il bel Sogno de Doretta - Leontyne Price

Antonin Dvorak, Symphony No. 8: Scherzo - Berlin/Abbado


Next week, join me when I welcome one of the literary stars in our midst, Patricia Hampl. She calls herself "a failed piano major" finding herself in the English Department with Garrison Keillor by her sophomore year at the U. But the piano is a character in many of her stories and poems.

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