Victoria, BC – This season our Explorations series begins with a program that discovers the similarities as well as the juxtaposition between sight and sound. From very real environmental concerns facing our society to abstract concerns that are more existential in nature; each piece is raw and captivating in its own unique way.
This piece is based on the life and work of Canadian experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett (1936-1986). Lipsett was a director of short, avant-garde films who used montage and found-footage to create immaculately edited works of incisive, satire: hyperreal portraits of society juxtaposed to reveal the beauty, comedy and depravity of contemporary life.
Under Bleak Skies
Composer Jennifer Butler wrote this piece thinking about the impact of humans on our oceans. We are constantly bombarded with news of symptoms warning that our oceans are in danger: higher PH levels, orca whale numbers dropping lower each year, fish populations that are near collapse, and the vast plastic gyre in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Under Bleak Skies is a musical lament for the ocean. In the beginning of the piece the sea is calm and two birds circle overhead. However, a feeling of alarm and panic gradually enters the musical texture, until all the instruments are sounding an alarm.
This is the World Premiere of the Hugh Davidson Fund (through the Victoria Foundatin) commissioned piece Confluence created by filmmaker Lindsay Dobbin and our own VS Composer-in-Residence Marcus Goddard. The film is of the meeting place of fresh and salt water. Located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of Lnu’k (Mi’kmaq), and about thirty minutes from K’jipuktuk (Halifax) along the Eastern Shore, these meeting waters are found in a tidal river that carries salt water in and out of a marsh. The film includes both a meditative-like calmness and a virtuosity of light, colour, and texture. The music is structured in three large sections that reflect on and interpolate Dobbin’s three part poem. The texture shifts very gradually from murmuring and gently sweeping lines to soloistic colours that kinetically refract in imitative bursts across the stage.
What makes one artistic decision better than another? Where does the music go from where it is right now? This is something that comes to mind when trying to understand the mind-boggling Many-world theory. It deals with a very large, perhaps infinite number of universes; and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but didn’t, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.
Of course it is impossible to describe this in a piece for orchestra. But Manyworlds deals with many “parallel musics” where every music contains the seed of all the other musics. We can therefore travel from one music to another within a fraction of a second, and one musical situation can have one outcome one time, and later a totally different one. Hmm. Sounds like the description of a symphony? Well, maybe composers and quantum physicists are more similar than we think?