Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Philip Glass and the Photographer
I'm a sucker for Philip Glass. I like the guys soundtracks. I love his operas. It's true that numerous rainy winter afternoons I have just laid down and listened over and over to all three discs Einstein on the Beach. Some people can't stand his music. I love it.
I was lucky enough to see the Indianapolis Symphony do his Symphony No. 5 a few years back and was incredibly moved. I found myself lucky enough to see the Philip Glass Ensamble do a performance of Koyanaquatsi in front of a screen projecting the film down in Bloomington a few years ago as well, which may have been the most special thing I have seen to date.
Now this month, we here in Indianapolis get a performance of The Photographer.
Nuvo tells the story here
Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs documenting the movements of animals and humans helped make the development of motion pictures possible. The story of his life, though, is better suited for theater.
A story told by using what Butler Theatre Department Chairman John Green calls “the theater of images,” The Photographer focuses on Muybridge’s killing of his wife’s lover, a military officer named Larkyns, on Oct. 17, 1874, after he found their love letters. Muybridge greeted the man with these words: “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here is the answer to the letter you sent my wife.”
Muybridge then shot Larkyns. A court ruled the killing a “justifiable homicide.”
Glass’ telling of Muybridge’s story segues from language to abstract movement. Part one uses words from court transcripts, letters Muybridge wrote his wife from jail, letters she wrote to her lover, letters her lover wrote to her and things Muybridge said in court, all pieced together with poems by Walt Whitman and Thomas Hardy in a sort of language collage. Music written by Glass accompanies the material.
Part two is what Glass calls a concert: It’s a 14-minute orchestral piece with violin solos, during which slides of Muybridge photos of human and animal locomotion are projected, plus some other video.
Yes, I am excited. Very, very excited.