Four Seasons One Tree, Cordes Vides
Music performed by:
Arraymusic, Erica Goodman
November 28, 2002, Dancers Dancing
Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver
Christopher Duban, Desirée Dunbar, Day Helesic, Lisa Höstman, Jackie Nel
Vanishing Perspectives premiered in a performance called Elegance + Chaos, presented by Dancers Dancing, Judith Garay, Artistic Director. Performance of the score was donated by Arraymusic.
This piece was created in memory of Michael J. Baker.
Interview: March 28, 2003
In my search for music for this Vancouver commission, presented by artistic director Judith Garay's group Dancers Dancing, I thought of Rodney Sharman because he is a Canadian composer and more specifically a Vancouver composer. He had sent me a tape of music for dance with one piece in particular I liked, which was played by Arraymusic.
Michael James Baker, a musician who had contributed to many of my works over the years - especially his brilliant musical collage for Court of Miracles -- had died a year earlier. Because there was a trumpet in the piece and Michael had played the trumpet, I decided I wanted to do something in his memory. It made me feel, in a poignant way, that the piece could be about people offering their gifts to the world and not always having them received. Not that that's necessarily true of Michael - though it's true of many Canadian artists and true of the times, in a way. So I envisioned a band of gypsies - I think a true artist is a kind of gypsy who doesn't belong to any world but his or her own and can adapt creatively to any surroundings.
I used images from some of the first loves of my youth - Chagall's paintings of fanciful, circus-like figures, and Picasso's acrobats - and initially had the five dancers marking acrobatic tricks as if rehearsing for a performance. Each time they would cartwheel forward and arrive at the front of the stage it was as if they had come to a void and they would retreat.
The title Vanishing Perspectives was a play on words using the Renaissance discovery of perspective. The dancers' actions were created to establish the sense of a vanishing point but I also wanted to incorporate the intolerable idea of live theatre vanishing from the face of the earth. I choreographed it using the dancers as a visible axis where people kept setting up a perspective, coming and going, and finally vanishing.
The music for the second part was a harp solo and the piece was spatially opposite to part one with all the action moving across the stage instead of moving up and down.