Wednesday, February 24, 2010

George Crumb's Black Angels (1970) is probably the only string quartet to have been inspired by the Vietnam War. The work draws from an arsenal of sounds including shouting, chanting, whistling, whispering, gongs, maracas, and crystal glasses. The score bears two inscriptions: in tempore belli (in time of war) and "Finished on Friday the Thirteenth, March, 1970". Black Angels was conceived as a kind of parable on our troubled contemporary world. The numerous quasi-programmatic allusions in the work are therefore symbolic, although the essential polarity -- God versus Devil -- implies more than a purely metaphysical reality. The image of the "black angel" was a conventional device used by early painters to symbolize the fallen angel. The underlying structure of Black Angels is a huge arch-like design which is suspended from the three "Threnody" pieces. The work portrays a voyage of the soul. The three stages of this voyage are Departure (fall from grace), Absence (spiritual annihilation) and Return (redemption). Watch a performance of Black Angels by Arsis4 . . . one of this week's FEATURED NEW MUSIC VIDEOS.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is one of the greatest, most colorful costume drama, swashbuckler, and romantically-tinged adventures in film history. After the icy restrictions placed on the film industry following the establishment of the Production Code Administration in the mid 1930s, Warner Bros. Studios decided to find relief from censorship by bringing about a renaissance of the historical-costume adventure film, with swordplay, sweeping action, and romantic charm. Although its main star had portrayed a similar role in Captain Blood (1935) with the same dynamic director, Michael Curtiz, this film established 29 year-old Errol Flynn as a dashing, gallant, romantic, impudent but light-hearted, athletic legendary adventure hero - it is THE Errol Flynn picture and the definitive film portraying the Robin Hood legend. The film was expensively mounted (at $2 million, it was the studio's largest budgeted film), and beautifully photographed in glorious and brilliant, three-strip Technicolor. Oscar-winning Erich Wolfgang Korngold (who won his second award for the film music) created the richly orchestrated, lush score that effectively provided the musical backdrop for the action and the rich settings. Watch a scene from this action filled classic . . . this week’s PYTHEAS SIGHTING.

For one week each year, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts gathers creators and performers of new media arts from around the world to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, USA to showcase their work to the public. Now in its eighth year, the Spark Festival showcases groundbreaking works of music, art, theater, and dance that feature use of new technologies. Spark Festival invites submissions of art, dance, theater, and music works incorporating new media, including electroacoustic concert music, experimental electronica, theatrical and dance works, installations, kinetic sculpture, artbots, video, and other non-traditional genres. Past Spark Festivals have featured a diverse array of guests, including Paul Demarinis, Richard Devine, Alvin Lucier, Morton Subotnick, DJ Spooky ,Wafaa Bilal, Kanta Horio, Scanner, Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts, Phillipe Manoury, Paul Lansky, and others. This coming year, the Spark Festival will take a leave from Minnesota's winter and move to the fall season, taking place from September 28 - October 3, 2010. . . to find out more, visit the current FEATURED NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL.

Totus Tuus (Totally Yours) was a phrase used by Pope Jean-Paul to describe his absolute devotion to the Virgin Mary. Totus Tuus, a hymn to the Virgin Mary, was composed in 1987 by Henryk Górecki in honor of Pope John Paul II's third visit to his homeland of Poland. The choral text is taken from a poem written by Maria Boguslawska. The music is based on chants of the Polish Catholic Church and reflects Górecki's deep love for the Holy Father; and for his country and its musical traditions. Watch a performance of this lush hymn of devotion . . . this week's FROM THE PYTHEAS ARCHIVES.

Explore, Listen and Enjoy!
Vinny Fuerst
Pytheas Center for Contemporary Music

No comments:

Post a Comment