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Sounds of Silence | Battleship Potemkin
Met muziek van Ensemble Modelo62
Odessa, 1905 – Enraged with the deplorable conditions on board the armored cruiser Potemkin, the ship’s loyal crew contemplates the unthinkable – mutiny. Seizing control of the Potemkin and raising the red flag of revolution, the sailors’ revolt becomes the rallying point for a Russian populace ground under the boot heels of the Czar’s Cossacks. When ruthless White Russian cavalry arrives to crush the rebellion on the sandstone Odessa Steps, the most famous and most quoted film sequence in cinema history is born. Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 masterpiece has remained the most influential silent film of all time, considered one of the most important films in the history of silent pictures, as well as possibly Eisenstein’s greatest work. Battleship Potemkin brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase: his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual juxtaposition, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist.
Music by Ensemble Modelo62
To retain its relevance as a propaganda film for each new generation, Eisenstein hoped the score for Battleship Potemkin would be rewritten every 20 years. However he did not foresee was that “musicalized silent films” would become a genre per se, and therefore many more soundtracks were composed for this film that he could have hoped for. Almost a century after its premiere, in 1926, and according to Eisenstein wish, this version would represent to the sixth generation of scores for the film. The score will be on charge of Modelo62’s artistic and musical director Ezequiel Menalled and the instrumentation will consist in an ensemble of similar size of the original from 1926, although with a different instrumental combination and including the use of electronic sounds.
On it, there will be different discursive layers in simultaneous: the first one will be the sounds produced by the ensemble itself; the second one will be the electronic sounds derived from remnants of previous soundtracks for the film; and the third and last layer will be some scattered sounds alla Foley (making the sounds of the actions and objects displayed in the film) but applied in a free and creative way.
Through a combination of ambitious and innovative programming and a high level of virtuosity, the Dutch-based Ensemble Modelo62 has earned its outstanding international reputation in experimental music today. Ensemble Modelo62 has not only collaborated with composers, but shows strong versatility through their many interdisciplinary projects; performing in musical theatre, operas, dance, videos, installations, solo works, chamber music, and large ensemble works. Thanks to their growing and substantial international profile, Modelo62 has toured through Mexico, Argentina, Norway, United Kingdom, and Germany. This has included festivals such as at the Centre of Experimentation of Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Music (Darmstadt, Germany), Festival Tou Scene (Stavanger, Norway), Toonzetters (Amsterdam), Dag in de Branding (Den Haag), November Music (Den Bosch), and the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht).
Jorge López García: clarinet
Enric Sans i Morera: clarinet
Reinier Van Houdt: piano and keyboards
Rubén Castillo del Pozo: percussion
Santiago Lascurain: electric guitar
Roberto Rutkauskas: violin
Celia Torres Ruiz: violoncello
Jan Willem Troost: violoncello
Vasilis Stefanopoulos: double-bass
Ezequiel Menalled: composition and musical direction
Sounds of Silence | Fragment of an Empire
Met muziek van Gerard Bouwhuis (piano, organ and electronics)
The story of a young man who is drafted into the Tsar’s army during World War I, and becomes a total amnesiac due to shell shock. He begins to regain his memory a few years later and is at pains to understand what happened as his country has been thoroughly transformed by the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917. Director Fridrikh Ermler was one of the greatest masters in the history of Soviet and world cinema. This was acknowledged by such filmmakers as Eisenstein, Chaplin, and Pabst. Fragment of an Empire, Ermler’s last silent feature, is one of the most important films in Soviet silent cinema, yet it is little known and woefully underappreciated today. The film is a model of Soviet realism, yet it displays astounding surreal moments that are unique for the time and place.
Music by Gerard Bouwhuis (piano, organ and electronics)
For the performance of Fragment of an Empire, Bouwhuis will use the music of the Russian avant-garde composers of that time: a mixture of the piano music of Mossolov, Roslavets, Lourié, and Shostakovich but also Skrjabin, Rachmaninov and others. The music of that time has many colours and moods, and it will be processed to tell a consistent story that will seamlessly flow with the film. Besides the piano, electronics and a keyboard will be used to create a modular layer that will tie all the pieces together.
Gerard Bouwhuis studied the piano with Geoffrey Madge at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he received his solistic degree. As a soloist he appeared a.o. with the Schoenberg Ensemble, Asko, Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Residentie Orchestra, Ebony Band and the Xenakis Ensemble. Many composers wrote pieces for Bouwhuis
a.o. Louis Andriessen, Rob Zuidam, Julia Wolfe, Steve Martland, Martijn Padding and Cornelis de Bondt. As a soloist Bouwhuis performed at music festivals around the world. Together with Heleen Hulst he founded the ensemble Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, focusing on contemporary chamber music and music-theatre. He is a member of the Splendor Musicians in Amsterdam. For his contribution to Dutch music Bouwhuis was awarded the Theo Bruins Prize. Bouwhuis teaches contemporary piano music at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.
Sounds of Silence | Faithful Heart
Met muziek van Ziv Taubenfeld, Marie Guilleray, Ilya Ziblat and Onno Govaert
Jean Epstein’s Cœur Fidèle (Faithful Heart) established the great French filmmaker as one of the most inventive directors of silent cinema. A tale of a barmaid oppressed by an exploitative foster family who attempt to push her into the arms of an unscrupulous man. Yet Marie’s heart (exuberantly vivified by Gina Marès) belongs, as far as she’s concerned, to the tenderly Jean (Léon Mathot). Cœur Fidèle drives its simple story (which, with its infamous and exhilarating ‘carousel sequence’, helped pave the way for the narrative tradition of such Murnau masterworks as Sunrise and City Girl) on into the realm of what might be considered an early incarnation of French poetic realism — all while still anticipating Epstein’s magical, post-surrealist, later works.
Music by Ziv Taubenfeld (bass-clarinet), Marie Guilleray (voice and electronics), Ilya Ziblat (contrabass and electronics) and Onno Govaert (drums).
The hybrid jazz-electro soundtrack will be performed by a contrabass, drums, bass clarinet, and electronics. The music will not only take the plot into consideration, but also the characters’ psychology, using it as a starting point for musical exploration and interaction. The choice of instrumentation offers a rich sonic palate: the rhythmical framework created by the rhythm section (drums and bass without harmonic instrument like piano or guitar, leaving the acoustic space open), the virtuosity and richness of the bass clarinet player, and the versatility of the computer musician. The cinematic narrative is based on a melodramatic approach, demanding great sensitivity to human feelings and values: Marie’s struggle to escape her abusive boss/lover, the destructive forces of gender clash, a story of survival within the gritty, harsh existence of a low-class life. To that, the music adds an engaging accompaniment, a layer of sensitive sonic interpretation. Faithful Heart is an ideal match for a live soundtrack: the movie’s rhythmical shots (reaching a glorious climax in the famous carousel scene) provides endless opportunities for instrumental virtuosity; the photomontage editing suggests a multilayered space, sonified by a mix of acoustic instruments and the electronics; and above all, the director’s sensitivity to the characters’ psychology demands sincere interaction within the ensemble, and between each of the musicians and their own instrument.
Sounds of Silence | Women filmmakers of silent cinema
Deze lecture is onderdeel van Festival Sounds of Silence
Dr. Asli Ozgen-Tuncer is a lecturer at UvA’s Media Studies. An internationally accredited (FIPRESCI) film journalist, Asli is a regular contributor to popular magazines, catalogues, festivals, and other film-related events. Since 2014, she is serving in the editorial board of Altyazi (TR), a bi-monthly film magazine and cultural foundation with a focus on cinephile culture and politics of cinema. Asli is part of the Early Cinema Colloquium (NL), Women Film Pioneers Project at Columbia University (USA), and Walking Artists Network (UK). Most recently, she took part in the committee organising Women and the Silent Screen Conference, hosted by EYE and UvA in May 2019. Asli’s research interests include media historiographies, feminist and queer media theories, politics of aesthetics, and aesthetic interactions between the city and the cinema.
Sounds of Silence | The Adventures of Prince Achmed
Met muziek van Nizar Rohana, Leah Uijterlinde and Carlos Ema
Based on stories from “The Arabian Nights”, a handsome prince rides a flying horse to far-away lands and embarks on magical adventures which include befriending a witch, meeting Aladdin, battling demons and falling in love with a princess. The film’s director, Lotte Reiniger, was a pioneer of early cinema and animated film, and a standard-bearer for women in the industry. Her hypnotic films, painstakingly crafted out of snippets of card and wire and animated by hand, have influenced generations of film-makers and artists. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the world’s first animated feature film, a whirlwind of a fantasy filled with innovation and beauty that still has the power to capture the hearts of contemporary viewers.
Music by Nizar Rohana, Leah Uijterlinde – Voice, Clarinet, Live Electronics and Composition (Netherlands), Carlos Ema – Piano, Live Electronics, Composition and Direction (Spain)
“Our music is shaped by our cultures and traditions: Arabic, Flamenco and Sephardi Music (and the strong influence they have on each other). This encounter is evoked by the spells of the animated shadows of the beautiful film The Adventures of Prince Achmed and will become its live soundtrack; interacting between acoustic sounds and live electronics, plugged and percussed strings, voices and woodwinds.”
Sounds of Silence | Three shows in one: The Seashell and the Clergyman
Een korte film met muziek van Henry Vega & Jan Willem Troost
Captured through a light microscope, ‘Reclaiming Vision’ features a diverse cast of microorganisms, sampled from brackish water, alongside algae, cultivated in a lab. The film reveals various processes in the water that are hidden to the naked human eye. By investigating the brackish water, its inhabitants, its properties, and the traces left by human activities, the film is a reflection upon the relationship we humans have with our surroundings, especially through what we cannot see.
Toril Johannessen (b.1978, Norway) is an artist living in Tromsø. Perception and representation as historical and technological constructs are recurring themes in Johannessen’s artistic practice. Combining historical records with fiction and her own investigations, and with an attention to how science coexists with other systems of knowledge and belief, her works often have elements of storytelling in visual or written form. Solo shows include Entrée and Trykkeriet, Bergen (2019); OSL Contemporary, Oslo (2019); Munchmuseet on the Move, The Munch Museum (w/M.Dijkman), Oslo (2018); Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen (2017); ARoS, Aarhus (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2016). Group shows include Trondheim Art Museum (2018); the 13th Dak’Art Bienniale de Dakar (2018); Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2017); Extra City, ARTSPACE, Auckland (2014); 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) and Documenta 13 (2012).
Marjolijn Dijkman (b. 1978, NL) is an artist and co-founder of Enough Room for Space. Her works can be seen as a form of science – fiction; partly based on facts and research but often brought into the realm of fiction, abstraction and speculation. Solo shows include OSL Contemporary, Oslo (2019); NOME, Berlin, DE (2018), Munch Museum, Oslo, NO (2018); Fig. 2 at ICA, London, UK (2015); IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2011); Berkeley Art Museum, US (2008). Group shows include Contour Biennale 9, Mechelen, BE (2019); The Overview Effect, BOZAR, Brussels, BE (2019); 21st Biennale of Sydney, AU (2018); 11th Shanghai Biennale, CN (2016); 7th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, BR (2009) and the 8th Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2007).
Music by Henry Vega (electronics) and Jan Willem Troost (cello)
The music for Reclaiming Vision is a composition for electronics, cello and voice, composed by Henry Vega, with himself on electronics and Jan Willem Troost on cello.
Henry Vega, born in New York City (1973), is an active composer and performer of new music whose works appear in productions of theatre, dance and concert music that focus solely on modern artistic trends. His music ranges from virtuosic instrumental writings to subtle colorful compositions orchestrating traditional instrumentations with the world of electronic sound. His current interests lie within theatrical settings of his music in combination with video in the space of minimal aesthetics that cross simple harmonies over noisy counterpoints. His releases include ‘Wormsongs’ (2011 – arteksounds.com) and ‘Stream Machines’ (2013 – arteksounds.com) a collection of five commissioned works composed in his micro-minimal style.
Vega’s works have been presented on radio programs across Europe and performed at festivals and venues in Europe and the Americas including La Monnaie (BE), Deutschlandfunk (DE), MATA Festival (US), November Music (NL), EYE Film Institute (NL) and Stedilijk Museum Amsterdam (NL) among others. He has had the pleasure to write music for soprano Claron McFadden and ensembles such as Ensemble Modelo 62, the MAE, VocaalLab, Ensemble Integrales, the Ragazze String Quartet and the Roentgen Connection.
Jan Willem Troost is a versatile cellist and you can find him playing in a classical orchestra, working with composers and choreographers, or performing authentic Argentinean tango. At the moment Jan Willem is cellist in Sexteto Canyengue, Ensemble Modelo62 and several Dutch orchestras. He is the principal cellist for the contemporary Ensemble Modelo62 and has toured Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia, Japan and the Dutch Caribbean with his various ensembles.
As a studio musician, he recorded many CD’s from classical, experimental to hip-hop and film music. Currently he is developing his own compositions and soundscapes and a broad cello solo repertoire. He wrote and performed his own music for the production Pessoa – a mist opera that was premiered during the Cello Biënnale 2014 at the Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam. Together with dancer/choreographer Samir Calixto he created Beating Hollow, a duet for dancer and cellist (in collaboration with Korzo Productions) which was a selected finalist in the Jur Naessens Muziekprijs 2009 competition at the BIMhuis, Amsterdam.
This session starts at 20:30 and it includes The Seashell and the Clergyman with music by Hypochondriac Resonators and PARARSE, music and video art by 1LL0~ (Guillermo Martín-Viana and Juanlu Montoro Santos)