RONDO


Premiered February 12, at the Music Gallery presented by 5th Species

Holograms by Mary Alton

Musical Composition by Robert W. Stevenson

In collaboration with performers by Fides Krucker and Richard Sacks and choreographer Holly Small





Artist's Statement
Sappho's lyrics
Artist's Bio's



e-mail to Mary Alton: malton@inforamp.net May, 1995

Artist's Statement


The Rondo collaboration began with the use of the surviving fragments of poems of the 6th century B.C. woman Sappho whose sung lyrics, rich in the imagery of light, sound, colour and memory provide a focal point for the interaction of the media of holography and music.



The silence created by these fragments leaves room for reflection.






What we read and can know about Sappho is connected to what we'll never know and can only surmise. The nature of the language allows for the kind of performance we envision. For it's a fugitive elusive language; as such, it holds a relationship to the holographic image.



To reconstruct a history of women (the history of Sappho) through scraps of text, text that has been censored (through willful destruction of printed materials) fabricated and retranslated through the centuries, is to project a partially obliterated reconstruction.





What remains still has strong personal visual references and speaks with a female voice.




The poems we chose to work with allude to the passage of time, age, memories, death, and the immortality of the artist. Considered as a group, several translations of a particular poem of Sappho's illuminate the fluid meanings of language and mythology.



The Pleiades, the daughters of Atlas and Cleone turned into a flock of doves, turned into stars, stars that set before the winter and summer solstice, a harbinger of death and rebirth.




During Sappho's life time one of the Pleiades disappeared. The absence of the star was explained by the Greeks as a halcyon star, banished from the heavens because she married Sisyphus, a mere mortal.



The connection between the missing star and Sisyphus' burial place, rarely seen except at the time of the two solstices; is a summons of the fertile season and death.




Performers Robert W. Stevenson, Fides Krucker and Rick Sacks






Performers Robert W. Stevenson and Rick Sacks






The creators of Rondo extend special thanks to Holly Small for choreographic advice, Kim Derko for cinematography, John Perry and Holographics North for holography production, the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Laidlaw Foundation.
Mary Alton and Robert W. Stevenson
Toronto, Canada

Sappho's lyrics

I see it still and feel it, the
...passion, yes
...utterly
...I can
...shall be to me
...a face
...shining back at me
...beautiful
...indelibly


Attributed to Sappho, translated by: Paul Roche





Tonight I've watched the moon and then
the Pleiades go down;
the night is now half gone; youth goes
I am alone in bed

Attributed to Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard
1958 University of California Press


The moon and Pleiades
have set
half the night is gone
time passes
I sleep alone

Attributed to Sappho, translated by Diane J. Rayor,
1991 University of California Press


The moon has set,
and the Pleiades as well;
in the deep middle of the night
the time is passing,
and I lie alone.

Attributed to Sappho,
Translated by: Susy Q.Groden 1966 Bobbs-Merrill


The silver moon has set
The Pleiades are gone
Half the long night is spent
And yet, I lie alone

Attributed to Sappho,
translated: by A.J. Merivale, 1883




Although they are
only breath
words which I command
are Immortal


Attributed to Sappho, translated by:
still searching for this rare and elusive translation


Artist's Bio's

ROBERT W. STEVENSON

Clarinetist-composer Robert W. Stevenson began his career in Toronto in the
mid-70s, where he quickly established himself as an important force in the
contemporary music scene. He has performed with most of the contemporary music
ensembles that have existed in Toronto since the 70s, and has been a founding
member of several (Evergreen Club, Hemispheres, Critical Band, etc.). 

In '79, he helped found the musicdance orchestra, an ensemble dedicated to music/dance

collaboration. This lead to a long and fruitful relationship with the dance community. He has collaborated with choreographers such as Holly Small, Terrill Maguire, Joan Phillips, Maxine Heppner and Bill James.

In 1982 he became a member of the Arraymusic ensemble, with whom he is a featured performer. He has toured extensively with Arraymusic both nationally and internationally, and is featured as soloist in Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint" on the ensemble's recent CD release "Chroma". Mr. Stevenson's own compositions focus on issues relating to performance practice and physical space. Recent works also involve improvisation and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

MARY ALTON

Visual Artist, has worked in diverse media including sculpture, multi media electronic arts and holography, current and recent projects include:

Critical Mass - Researching use of InterNet for virtual project on the crowd and the individual. to explore the phenomenon of the crowd and its behaviour through video, sound and interactive media.
Future/Present/Tense - an interactive CD ROM of music by composer Robert W. Stevenson.

Graduate of Ontario College of Art and grateful recipient of funding from OAC, CC and TAC. Pieces have been exhibited at Museum of Holography, New York, IMAGES ' 93, Eastman House Museum, Rochester, Image du Future, Montreal, and in October 1995 with Net@Works at the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico, Pieces in the Collections of the Art Bank, Goodyear, the Musé des Art Decoratifs Lausanne.



FIDES KRUCKER

Singer/actor Fides Krucker is committed to performing the music of living composers, working in a collaborative context and pushing the boundaries of her own vocal and theatrical expression. She has performed throughout Europe, Britain, the U.S., Canada and the Middle East and is heard frequently on CBC Radio.


RICK SACKS

Rick Sacks, active freelance percussionist in contemporary music, opera and theatre; performs with ArrayMusic ,the Glass Orchestra , the Canadian Opera Company, the Evergreen Club gamelan ensemble. Mr. Sacks multimedia performance Toy Weather played at the Music Gallery in the Fall of 1994.