Sometimes, when a concert has but 20 people, I feel disappointed by the turnout. Last night, at High Concept Laboratories, with the same number of people, it felt intimate--like I was invited to a house concert in an abandoned industrial space.
The event was the Voxare String Quartet providing accompaniment to Dziga Vertov's 1929 classic silent film, Man with a Movie Camera.
And they're doing the event again tonight in case you missed the invite: Highly Recommended.
[Never mind the fact that I left feeling slightly nauseated.* That's part of the experience!]
The music was selected by Voxare from Russian/Soviet composers of the 20th century, a responsibility they did not take lightly, resulting in a stunning symbiosis of sound and image. And the execution was just as good: the quartet played with one voice, showcasing effortless technique and fevered intensity. I would be excited to see them without the pretense of a film.
If you're interested in going, visit High Concept Laboratories
and RSVP to: info AT highconceptlaboratories DOT com. The show starts at 7 and is $10 suggestive donation.
The music had an interesting effect on my perception of the film; the muted aggression of Shostakovich, the wrong-note neo-classicism of Prokofiev, the expressionless ostinatos of Stravinsky, and the surreal futurism of Mosolov gave the image a certain gravitas that cemented the preconceived notions we may have of the Soviet Union. It's one interpretation, just like the Cinematic Orchestra had a vastly different one.
* - About partway through the film, I did start to feel some sort of "Blair Witch Effect". I had read that the fast cuts and sheer amount of edits (~18,000) was overwhelming for audiences of the time but figured my modern eyes could handle it. Alas, I don't watch T.V. like I used to--but when I do, it's often South Park. Apparently, I can handle it for 22 minutes but not 80. The slight nausea had a sort of "Clockwork Orange Effect" and made the day in Soviet life seem horribly oppressive.