First conceived 10 years ago, I See With My Eyes Closed was the fulfillment of a dream long-held between Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Stan’s Cafe, of collaborating on a piece that’s not quite theatre and not a straightforward concert.
Two actors sit in the front row. During Richard Causton’s Rituals of Hunting and Blooding there is nothing to mark them out from other members of the audience. In the pause between pieces the man stands up, stretching. Over the P.A. we hear his thoughts and those of his wife voiced by different actors.
Through the short first movement of I See With My Eyes Closed the focus is mainly on the music, in the long second movement the couple’s thoughts are audible, they think about the players, their skill and technique, what they are wearing, who they look like, what they’re thinking, if they are attractive. They think about the music, what is it similar to, do they like it, will their spouse like it, what’s coming next. They think about their lives, relationship and the function of this concert in their relationship. The text was improvised but according to a tightly agreed and rehearsed structure.
In the third movement fragments of pre-recorded interviews with the soloists are played in which they talk about the challenges of playing in a concert and what they think of during a performance.
The final element of the night’s program was Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale Suite, which is momentarily disrupted as the man remembers the name of the Philip Glass piece he’s been trying to remember “Koyaanisqatsi”. After meeting with a variety of composers Michael Wolters finally emerged as the perfect collaborator for this playful piece.
“Going to a concert is always better than we expect it to be. We don’t go often enough. The music is always better live than on the CD and there’s always so much more going onthan the music. The BCMG players are looking beautiful tonight and are under the no-nonsense baton of Richard Baker, so please, don’t be late!” Stan’s Cafe
Performed by: Marie-Christine Zupancic, Jillian Allan, Margaret Cookhorn, Mark Philips, Jonathan Holland, Anthony Howe, Julian Warburton, Celine Saout, Alexandra Wood, Christopher Yates, Ulrich Heinen, John Tattersdill
Text devised and performed by: Amanda Hadingue and Craig Stephens
Extra acting by Sarah Dawson and Nick Walker
Concept & Direction: James Yarker
Composed by: Michael Wolters
Conducted by: Richard Baker
BCMG Artistic Director Stephen Newbould
BCMG General Manager Jackie Newbould
BCMG Marketing Manager Tim Rushby
BCMG Learning Manager Nancy Evans
Stan’s Cafe General Manager Charlotte Martin
Stan’s Cafe Advisory Producer Nick Sweeting
Thanks to: Everyone at MAC & the Sound Investors.
30th January 2009