Roger Reynolds - Sanctuary
Steven Schick, solo percussion (movement 1)
Roger Reynolds’ Sanctuary for percussion ensemble is conceived to be both visually and sonically dramatic.
Composed for a spatially distributed ensemble and live electronics, the work makes spectacular use of DVD’s surround sound capabilities.
Sanctuary is a malleable work intended to evolve with the experience of its creators (composer, performers, and technicians) and conceived so as to adapt to, and capitalize upon, the changing resources and contexts within which it is realized. Sanctuary continued to evolve as new performance spaces were encountered, new performers added their talents, new interpretations emerged, and new technologies were employed to realize and document performances.
To chronicle this evolution, three versions of Sanctuary are presented on this specially-priced double DVD set:
1) A complete controlled studio performance which visually focuses on the direct source of the action, allowing the viewer to see details often lost to the audience. Quite different from traditional concert documentation, each camera was given its own staff/score notating the primary concerns of camera angle and proximity. A 100-page, 7-staff (4 percussion, 3 cameras) score was then used as a constant reference during the filming of this unique version. (74:15)
2) A complete live performance from Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art, with the percussionists spatially distributed through the Gallery’s dramatic interior. (78:33)
3) Excerpts from the outdoor sunset performance at The Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif. in its architecturally famous courtyard with a view of the sea — interspersed with commentary from the composer. (18:46)
• Includes 5.1 surround mix (DTS and Dolby) and dedicated stereo mix.
• Finding Sanctuary: Roger Reynolds Making Modern Music, a documentary on the composer (29:36)
An epic work of intoxicating beauty for four percussionists and electronics, “Sanctuary” is meant for a great space.
It had its premiere in the atrium of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., in 2007.
The next year, it was performed, while the sun set over the Pacific, outdoors at the Salk Institute in La Jolla.
This DVD documents the premiere, offers a documentary on the Salk performance and another nuts-and-bolts documentary on the composer, who has been at UC San Diego for more than 40 years.
More important, the two-DVD set also offers a studio recording in stunning surround sound by red fish blue fish, Steven Schick’s UC San Diego percussion ensemble that inspired the score, with fancy video imaging showing the theatrical aspects of the performance.
The visuals, at least for home consumption, are overkill. What matters is the subtle, exquisitely textured, often surprisingly mute and compulsively listenable music.
The score begins with quiet tapping that might suggest nerve cells firing. Then, over the span of an hour and a quarter, you might sense the brain of a lyric poet coming to sizzling life.
Composers, performers, labels, take note: here’s a new way to chart and present the evolution of a piece. Three different versions of Reynolds’s shimmering, enveloping Sanctuary with different focal lengths and emphases; a model documentation of New Music. Part one is a carefully scored filming of a studio performance (by red fish blue fish) in which camera angle and POV reveal otherwise hidden aspects of the writing, a kind of animated score. Then there’s a complete performance from Washington DC’s National Gallery of Art in which the spatial distribution of sound fulfils its logic (and that of 5.1 surround), followed by excerpts of an outdoor performance at the Salk Institute, with commentary by Reynolds. There’s also a half-hour doc on the composer. Sanctuary delivers what it promises, an immersive and consoling space in which every musical element is redeemed.
Roger Reynolds web site
© Mode Records