Three yiddish lullabies
for soprano, harp, viola, bass, and mixed video (2006)
Three Yiddish Lullabies is a mixed-media setting of fragmented texts in Yiddish. In three separate music and moving image settings, we are presented with a mysterious young mother. She reaches out to us through the materials, sounds, and images that surround her, yet she is always obscured or constrained. Through the broken and jumbled songs that she sings to us, we try to piece together the history of this ghostly young woman. The audience sees the piece from the point of view of the child. However, this point of view is disorganized and dream-like: obscured views of the singer are mixed with the simple imagery (birds, stars) about which she is singing. The texts are mixed as well, expressing feelings of love, loss, and imminent tragedy that the mother is experiencing, yet which the child cannot understand, and he merely focuses on the soothing tone of her voice. Images, words and sounds are continuously mixed and clouded, and my aim is to express how even a powerful memory, personal or collective, fades and distorts over time.
This piece utilizes the Jitter/Max/MSP programming language to live-process the video images. Long hanging strips of chiffon used as malleable projection surfaces, old junk shop televisions scattered in the audience, as well as other various materials are also used in this performance.
Video documentation of excerpts from
April 21, 2006 performance
Duderstadt Center Video Studio, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Performers: Suzanne Klock (soprano), Megan Remaly (harp), Megan (Fergusson) Yanik (viola), Maggie Hasspacher (double bass), Jacob Richman (video controller), Shauna Steele (choreography)