`Voices of Light' blends music, film
An evening of music and classic cinema merges Carl Dreyer's 1928 silent
film, "The Passion of Joan of Arc," with a live performance of
"Voices of Light," the critically acclaimed oratorio by composer
Richard Einhorn, on Oct. 27 and 28 at 8:15 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium.
A blend of naturalism and surrealism, "The Passion of Joan of Arc,"
made in the late 1920s, seems remarkably modern in its camera angles and
editing. For years, all original prints of "The Passion of Joan of
Arc" were thought to have been destroyed by fire until an intact copy
turned up in a Norwegian mental institution in 1981.
As Einhorn watched the Dreyer French treatment of the Joan of Arc story
for the first time in 1988, he immediately felt that the film should be
set to music. "It is a strange combination of the deeply emotional
and the highly structured. It is the avant-garde with a human face. Its
profound ambiguity, its ravishing beauty, its brilliant performances, its
astounding story: `Joan' is one of the 20th century's masterpieces. Hardly
anyone knew about it, outside film buff circles. All of this drew me to
the film," said Einhorn.
Einhorn's musical style and choice of texts--female poets and mystics of
Joan's time and slightly before--as well as some passages from the Bible,
place Joan's familiar story in a provocative social context, one that audiences
are beginning to understand in greater depth, as a result of the sudden
popularity of Gregorian chant and such remarkable mystic figures as Hildegard
of Bingen (whom Einhorn quotes in the oratorio). The words give a human
resonance to the drama, in their contrasting views of women that include
everything from a crude misogynistic poem to bold, visionary declarations
The touring ensemble features the medieval vocal quartet, Anonymous 4, who
performed at Emory in spring 1995, with the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra
and I Cantori chorus, directed by Lucinda Carver. Soloists include Norman
Goss, Daniel Ebbers and Camille King. An interesting instrumental addition
is the actual bell sound, recorded by Einhorn, from Joan's church in Domremy,
"Voices of Light" has received positive reviews wherever it has
toured in the country. "`Voices of Light' is without question the most
powerfully emotional piece of new music that I've ever had the privilege
to program." (Colorado Public Radio).
".... Einhorn has composed an oratorio that amplifies and comments
on the film, sometimes directly, almost obliquely... Musically, the score
pivots between Joan's world and ours, using a medieval style that sounds
authentically antique for stretches, but that invariably unfolds into a
post-minimalist combination of repeating figures and lush neo-Romantic orchestration."
(The New York Times).
Tickets range from $29-$35 and are available by calling 727-5050.
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