Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|4 Elements/4 Seasons|
Actors: Midori Seiler, Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola
Director: Brigitte Kramer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Time and the Dancing Image
Roochak | 11/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The metaphysics of music and dance are compared early on in Rafi Zabor's extraordinary jazz novel, The Bear Comes Home: A Novel: "I mean, dance is all right, even street dance. It's the poetry of the body, flesh aspiring to grace or inviting the spirit in to visit." Grace and spirit are manifest in dancer Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola's evocation of the creation of the world, form wrested from the chaos of the dissonant opening chord of "Les Elements," a 1737 dance suite by composer J.-F. Rebel. A rock, and then dirt, issue from the dancer's mouth; he strips to his skivvies to perform a playful water dance; lit candles are placed on his body, resembling the stars on an anthropomorphic map of the constellations; taped birdcalls work in concert with Diaz's wheeling mimicry of flight.
"But music," the hero of Zabor's novel goes on, "That's one level more subtle. I mean, if the universe is vibration, and after Einstein who's gonna deny it, energy sifts down to matter and before it gets there it manifests as sound. So playing music -- playing music well, it's like taking an active part in the future..." And what if one possible future for musicians is to join in the dance themselves? That's the conceit of the second half of this unusual concert, in which the members of a Baroque orchestra doff their shoes and move around the stage while playing their instruments in Diaz's elegantly choreographed theatrical representation of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" (1725), featuring Midori Seiler as the solo violinist who becomes the dancer's love interest/nature goddess/symbol of the unattainable ideal. The orchestral musicians play backup dancers as well as their instruments, in scenarios based on four programmatic Vivaldi poems published in this DVD's accompanying booklet.
I'm not finished with Zabor yet. "At first the crowd thought this was a brilliant new wrinkle in the performance...and although they were uneasy they applauded. But...uncertainty set in, as if the crowd were seeing a piece of modern theater no one had written an essay about yet." When did my uncertainty about this performance set in? When the first paper airplanes were launched across the stage? When one violinist slowly propelled himself in a circle while lying on his back, playing his instrument all the while? When Diaz flips Seiler and her instrument upside down in mid-solo? Time will tell, and this entire dance/concert is a graphic representation of the passage of time.
The image and sound are excellent, as I'd expect of Harmonia Mundi. Bonus features include Folkert Uhde's program introduction and his recitation of the Vivaldi poems (in German), and a slightly awkward conversation (in English) between Diaz and Seiler on the music...and the weather."