Boulder Phil presents movies and Terrence Wilson performs Rachmaninoff


Saturday at Macky sees Michael Butterman’s return to steer the orchestra

By Peter Alexander March 18 at 12:10 a.m.

The following live performance of the Boulder Philharmonic will function a co-commission by the orchestra, however not one of the music will likely be new.

As an alternative, the co-commission is a video created by Stephen Lias to accompany the efficiency of a piece composed in 1955, the Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain,” by American-Armenian composer Alan Hovhaness. 

Stephen Lias in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park. Picture by Peter Alexander

That’s one among two movies that will likely be offered as a part of the live performance, which is able to open with a efficiency of Circuits by Cindy McTee with video by Aleksi Moriarty. Ending this system is Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, carried out by pianist Terrence Wilson. The efficiency will likely be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in Macky Auditorium (tickets obtainable right here).

Lias is healthier often called a composer than a videographer. The Boulder Phil premiered his Gates of the Arctic in 2014 and commissioned his All of the Songs that Nature Sings, which they premiered in 2016. On this case the Boulder Phil’s music director, Michael Butterman, needed to carry out the Hovhaness rating, and to function a video with it.

Butterman is again in Boulder to steer the live performance, after having to overlook the orchestra’s final efficiency in March as a result of a well being concern.

“Once we performed (Lias’s) works earlier than, he created visuals that may accompany the music,” Butterman explains. “I approached him about making a video not for his personal music this time, however for another person’s. And he actually ran with it.”

One in all Stephen Lias’s composite photographs for Mysterious Mountain.

By “ran with it,” Butterman actually signifies that Lias labored tirelessly to study video strategies that he had by no means used earlier than. “The training curve was extraordinarily steep for me, as a result of I had no background in visible artwork or advanced video results,” Lias says. ”Quite a lot of what I realized was very helpful and engaging, however boy it was an enormous funding! I needed to study to make use of a set of high-end purposes (and) packages of software program that animators use.”

The extra advanced video strategies have been necessary, Lias says, as a result of—not like items that he created movies for earlier than—Hovhaness’ rating shouldn’t be a few particular location. In actual fact, the title Mysterious Mountain was added after the music had been written. “The title merely suited the mysterious atmospheric, meditative nature of the music,” Lias says.

Picture by Stephen Lias for Mysterious Mountain

“This feels prefer it must be extra amorphous and ambiguous (than Lias’s earlier video creations). My idea was to create digital mountain ranges comprised of (footage) from everywhere in the world. There are animated, floating traces in area that reveal the mountain vary, after which they’re remodeled earlier than your eyes and also you understand these are (totally different pictures) laying over prime of each other. 

“Later numerous digital environments float round you, after which you find yourself in a spot that’s fully actual, however you’re unsure it’s actual. The objective is a lingering ‘the place are we?’ query. We’re clearly not in actual life, however the issues from actual life are combined with issues that make it clearly synthetic. You’re in an invented world.”

Picture by Stephen Lias for Mysterious Mountain

This matches the religious qualitied of Hovhaness’ music, Lias says. He describes the music and video collectively as “a musical and visible journey via all of the issues that mountains might be and would possibly change into.”

Some folks within the viewers could acknowledge among the areas within the video. “Actually anybody from Boulder will acknowledge the locations that Longs Peak sticks its head out,” Lias says. “There’s some Banff, Glacier (Nationwide Park), and the Nice Wall of China.”

Butterman describes the live performance’s different video, accompanying McTee’s Circuits, as “fully summary,” however in a wholly totally different approach. There are not any concrete photographs in any respect, however reasonably summary patterns.

“(Moriarty) went via the piece in an analytical approach,” Butterman says. “He broke it down right into a motive for a bar and a half, after which three bars, after which afterward it comes again the wrong way up. He recognized these musical kernels and created a graphic illustration for each. As soon as he created the video translations of the musical concepts, he adopted the template that the music itself performed out. So theoretically, it’s a video illustration of the construction and thematic content material of the music.”

Butterman warns the viewers that the video strikes very quick, as does the music. “I might say (it’s) very quick paced,” he says. “If you’re bothered by flashing, you’ll be sensible to no less than pay attention to that. It’s solely about 5 and a half minutes, nevertheless it’s very intense. I’m hoping that if anyone feels that’s a problem, they will merely look away.”

Each video works are engineered in order that the size might be adjusted to suit particular person performances. Moriarty works with a program developed by Ion Live performance Media of Minneapolis, and Lias developed his personal system utilizing a sound, video and lighting management software for the Mac known as QLab. Each lead to a system the place the conductor doesn’t should observe a click on monitor or every other pre-established pace within the efficiency.

That’s an necessary situation for Butterman. “The true bane of (performing with video) is the tyranny of the press monitor,” he says. “Everytime you’re doing a Hollywood film for instance, you’ve a display in entrance of you and time codes and little bars sweep throughout (the display), and you’ve got an earpiece the place you may hear clicks, and it’s maddening.”

Terrence Wilson. Picture by J. Henry Truthful.

Whereas the movies would be the most uncommon facets of the March 19 live performance, the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto will definitely be probably the most acquainted. It’s beloved by audiences, however as a virtuoso showpiece it ought to by no means be regarded as routine. It was Rachmaninoff’s favourite of his 4 piano concertos, but additionally has the repute of inspiring concern in pianists.

“I’m delighted to have Terrence Wilson becoming a member of us,” Butterman says. “He’s somebody I’ve loved collaborating with.”

Wilson carried out the Grieg Piano Concerto with Boulder Phil in 2007 and has had a formidable performing profession within the intervening years, together with a 2011 Grammy nomination and a 2015 look on the Colorado Music Competition. A graduate of Juilliard, he has additionally acquired an Avery Fisher Profession Grant and appeared on NPR’s “Efficiency Immediately.”

“Closing with Rachmaninoff is a little bit uncommon,” Butterman says, “however at 43 or 44 minutes, it definitely has the heft of a symphony!”

The heft, and I might add, all of the fireworks you can need for a rousing live performance nearer.

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Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Terrence Wilson, piano
Movies by Aleksi Moriarty and Stephen Lias

  • Cindy McTee: Circuits
  • Alan Hovhaness: Symphony No. 2, “Mysterious Mountain”
  • Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19
Macky Auditorium

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