The music of images talking

Image and music BEAMS and MetroBoreal Electro Acoustic Music Society (BEAMS). Saxophone, clarinet, violin. Theremin. Synthesizers.

Musicians sit, poised, facing Metro‘s dark screen. What will they see?

John Osborne – scientist, researcher, artist, father of films- queues 14 of his children. Their music is silenced. Tonight, they meet the players of  BEAMS, talking only through color and image, movement and shape.

Audience settles, anticipates. What will they hear?

First film Genesis springs onto screen. Big Bang beginning, Violin skitters as white spangles whirl into galaxies, gas clouds morph into planets  Night sky dissolves into synthesized bubbles of water. Helixes twist, plant fronds rise, undulating. Puffballs explode.  Saxophone celebrates first fish meeting, mingling. They leap into sky, fins become wings, schools become flocks. Now land spawns factories, smokestacks cloud blue, pipelines puff effluence grey into streams. Theremin thrums. Fish darken, float backwards, plants shrivel, blooms burst. Sun rise over brown earth. Fade into black silence.  

Water  keeps talking environment, offers alternate view. Lightning strike, rain, concentric circles on quiet pools. Musicians match sun-netted shimmers with murmurs of hope. Their notes are the trickles, the flow of a widening stream. Rocks create rapids,  clarinet leaps and tumbles.  Magenta, scarlet, lime, indigo waves find the ocean, surf and sound curling and racing to shore.

Etudes changes subject. Kaleidoscope colors in firework bursts collapse into fragments. Clarinet clatters. Stars spangle and twist, theremin sings. Snowflakes tumble in crystalline showers. Saxophone stutters. Quilt patterns whirl, silk banners ripple to violin vibration.

Conversation continues. Topics evolve.  The Machine. Lines for Clarinet. Patternicity. The Moonlight Surfer. 

House lights come up. Audience blinks, applauds, is asked for their questions.  Minds search for words, still immersed in the language of  music and image. A few find their voices, most remain mute.

People drift from the cinema, murmur to friends, disappear in the drizzle, a January surprise. One blogger goes home, writes long into night, new colors connecting, fresh thoughts coming fast.

2 comments

    • Thanks, Amy. It was a fascinating experience to hear the musicians respond spontaneously to the images – kind of like improv theatre! My challenge was to get my brain back into “word mode” to write about the look of the movies (especially the more abstract ones) and the sound of the instruments.

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