NEW LANGTON ARTS: CONCERT PROGRAM: AUGUST 16, 1985. RICHARD POVALL and SCOT GRESHAM-LANCASTER
These concerts were curated by Charles Amirkhanian as part of New Langton Arts' Tenth Anniversary Show.
I. COMEING OF AGE--a video theater piece by Richard Povall. This piece was first shown at Mills College in a slightly expanded form in April of 1984. In looking at two aspects of the Kennedy family--the presidency of John F. Kennedy and the inquest trial of Mary Jo Kopechne following her death on Chappadquiddick in 1969--the piece attempts neither to draw conclusions nor to find solutions. There is no revisionism here.
The distribution of the video images around the bank of video monitors is ordered through the use of a custom-designed video matrix switcher built by the composer.
I would like to thank the following people for their participation in this project:
Ed Tywoniak and St. Mary's College for loan of monitors The Mills Audio Visual Department for loan of monitors David Heintz and CCAC for loan of monitors New Langton Arts and Meet the Composer/CA Larry Polansky for help in software development David Rosenboom and Scot Gresham-Lancaster for technical help Serge Tcherepnin for wonderful construction tips. Jody Diamond for transportation. Nancy Sinclair for everything. Nick Bertoni and Mills Video for facilities and moral support. The People: Robert MacDougall....Senator Robert Kennedy. Robert MacDougall...voice of District Attorney Dinis Nancy Sinclair....lights, tape operation.
II. IMPACT--for an unspecified number of musicians (1975)
The score for this piece consists of three or four sentences I state to the musicians the first time they play the music. It is an investigation of the maximum output from the minimum input. Your challenge as an audience member is to figure out what it is I said to them....
THE FUNCTIONS OF PERMANENT REVOLUTION (1985)
Writing program notes for this piece is particularly difficult because so many factors are involved. The score is "superimposition" of Wilhelm Reich's analysis of the human sex act and Leon Trotsky's analysis of the events of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
Reich's work in the area of "sexology" scandalized the psychiatric community throughout the course of his life. He was persecuted and exiled several times in the course of his research and eventually died a broken man as a result of trumped up fraud charges from the F.D.A. in the 1950's. The essential elements of his work that I use in this piece relate to different phases of his research. Most importantly though, his concepts of superimposition of energy or "orgone" flow to create a tangential convergence are used as a source of musical form. In the context of the piece the Reichian analysis of the sex act is represented by tape material that acts as a counterpoint to the live performance.
Trotsky also was regarded as a revolutionary in the context of his involvement in the Lenin-era Soviet government. He was a militarist in that context and regarded the Russian Socialist revolution as a starting point for the eventual socialist world government. When Stalin came to power after Lenin's death it became clear that Stalin was much more of a Soviet nationalist in his view point. This led to the exile of Trotsky. The rest of his life was spent as a fugitive from Stalin's agents as he jumped from nation to nation seeking political asylum. He was eventually tracked down and murdered with an ice pick by his gardener (a Stalin agent) in Mexico City. His writings are voluminous and his commitment to world socialism was tireless.
In this piece the source material for the live performance is based on his volume "The Russian Revolution." The year 1917 is compressed into a 24 minute time frame and the events of the Revolution (at least from Trotsky's perspective) are represented by live musical declaration.
I would like to thank Chris Brown, Doug Caroll, Ed Tywoniak, Nick Longo, Tim Perkis, and Brian Fergus for the inspiration and dedication they have brought to these pieces. --Scot Gresham-Lancaster, August 1985