Art does not seek to describe but to enact. —Charles Olson

Festival XII

August 2-8, 2017

 + Carolyn Chen + David Coll + Evelyn Ficarra + J.H. Prynne + Mauricio Rodriguez +
+ Élise Roy + Marcia Scott + Jeff Treviño + Erik Ulman + Ian Winters +

As always, this is just a brief sketch reconstructing the main activities of the festival; omitted, for example, are most of the informal conversations and music making…

August 2

After Marcia, Jeremy, and Erik had arrived early and set up, more participants began to arrive; and we initiated activities with Marcia’s sumptuous Ethiopian dinner and a viewing of Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel.

August 3

Jeremy suggested that we begin our mornings with a reading of Milton’s Comus, spaced out over the duration of the festival and including impromptu performances of the original music by Henry Lawes; which we did. Following this, David presented his recent music, including his work-in-progress setting Jeremy’s “Refuse Collection,” which occasioned lively discussion with the poet. In the afternoon, Erik introduced Jean Barraqué’s Piano Sonata, to which we listened and followed with discussion; and after dinner we viewed W.C. Fields in The Fatal Glass of Beer and Jean Vigo’s Zero for Conduct.

August 4

After the next installment of Comus, Mauricio presented video of recent work, involving a ritualized approach to music performance; and Jeremy read and commented on his most recent sequence, Of • the • Abyss. After lunch we held our traditional poetry reading at the creek: Jeremy and Erik read a passage from the opening of Golding’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Milton’s sonnet to Lawes, Shelley’s “The Boat on the Serchio,” the end of Arnold’s Sohrab and Rustum, and Whitman’s “Kosmos.” After dinner (was this carnitas night?) Ian presented his video works in progress, concentrating on time-lapse work filmed at EMPAC in Troy, NY. In response Erik showed an interview by Eric Rohmer of Jean Renoir and Henri Langlois commenting on and including a number of films by the Lumière Brothers.

August 5

Evelyn gave the first presentation, playing and discussing her War Poems: the dead returning lightly dance, a large work commemmorating the First World War and leading to a discussion with Jeremy about the merits of the War Poets. Erik then followed up on the previous Barraqué discussion by presenting his Concerto for Clarinet, Vibraphone, and Six Instrumental Trios; and in the afternoon shared his recent Diver; Élise, who had just premiered the piece and for whom it had been written, could take part in discussing questions of interpretation. And at night Jeff played Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 28, the Pastorale, afterwards also discussing his interpretation.

August 6

Carolyn shared several recent pieces, ranging from relatively traditional music (even with groove) to work prepared at Darmstadt whose musical content arises as a byproduct of strenuous physical activity; and then Élise presented her recent chamber works, discussing among other things their relation to her own performance and her earlier works in electronic media. Afternoon and evening were taken up in the traditional barbecue dinner, courtesy the Scott family, with family and friends; with an informal evening performance by Élise and Carolyn of Bach and Fauré and a recitation of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Jeremy.

August 7

The principal event of the day was a field trip to the Yuba River, including and followed by relaxed conversation.  In the evening we viewed Jean Renoir’s rare La nuit du carrefour.

August 8

We cleaned the premises, and Erik, Marcia, and Jeremy stayed on, discussing the events of the week and also Luigi Nono’s Fragmente-Stille, an Diotima.