Charles T. Downey, Håkon Austbø (DCist, September 12)
Jens F. Laurson, Visual Music - Musical Vision (Ionarts, September 13)
The best part of this presentation, by far, was the opportunity to see DVD excerpts of the Scriabin performances by the LUCE Foundation, especially the incredible light-color piece Prométhée, le Poème du Feu. By studying the score, Austbø and his colleagues worked out the logistics of how best to render the light part, using a computer and five screens over a background screen. On the latter, they projected the bottom light part, which cycled through seven colors over the total duration of the work. The upper part's light changes with the harmony in the work, and they worked out not only to make that happen in conjunction with the orchestra but also how to fade in and out of colors and create different patterns. The DVD was mesmerizing to watch, and I wish you could buy a copy of it. Perhaps would send me a copy if I asked him.
The other DVD was a forthcoming project, a series of videos for each of the birds in the Catalogue d'oiseaux. We watched part of the blackbird piece ("La bouscarle"), which is what Austbø played in the concert. This was less captivating, although the images were shot in the spot where Messiaen first notated the bird's song. It is an attempt to match Messiaen's specific colors, taken from natural settings instead of artificially computerish colors, with each passage in the music. There was also time for a few questions, and by the end of the conversation, we were still interested in listening to more.