tirsdag den 5. juli 2011

John Cage- Imaginary Landscapes

Composer Bill Benson and I have been talking about the music for Topaz since the early 1990's. I imagine Topaz constructed as a  piece of "Symphonic Poetry" with several movements musically describing each phase of Fred Hoshiyama's life.

1. Fred's life before the war.
2. The attack on Pearl Harbor/ The internment.
3. Healing after the war/ Rising from the ashes.

John Cage: "Imaginary Landscape No. 1." (1939)

The images will visually describe the music... ranging from concrete images, and figures, to abstract sequences of images. Using whatever best describes the emotion of the movement.  There should be enough of a thread of traditional narrative storytelling so that the audience doesn't get lost. But I want to them to spend time in the moment; feeling what Fred must have felt.

Using the dust example again; spending one or two minutes exploring how difficult the adjustment to camp was; using dust as a character.  Dust got into everything, bedding, food, it would seep through the cracks in the walls; under the floorboards. It made a difficult situation even more difficult. A ideal approach would be having the music and visuals work in unison to provide an emotional experience. Not all that different from the approach that Walt Disney took in "Fantasia." Or Oskar Fischinger took on his short films. The major difference being that each of these poetic sequences would be a part of the overall storytelling process. Not simply a group of shorts stuck together.

A few words about Bill Benson, besides being one of my closest friends, I feel as if in a way he is an artistic soul mate. I have met few artists with such talent, range and understanding of visuals and emotion as Bill.  He "gets" what I am trying to do both visually, and emotionally.

Above:John Cage, and the prepared piano- Like Fred, and the other Japanese-Americans at Topaz, Cage's work is truly a mixture of eastern, and western influences.

One of the composers that Bill and I have discussed is John Cage. I think John's work is a perfect example of "Symphonic poetry." A series that has influenced some of the ideas for the film have been John Cage's "Four Season's." Each time I listen to these compositions, they evoke such strong visual images, and emotions; just as Bills music does.
John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composerphilosopherpoetmusic theoristartistprintmaker,[1]and amateur mycologist and mushroom collector. A pioneer of aleatoric musicelectronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century.[2][3][4][5] He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives.[6][7]

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