1.1. Venues and dates_ Brussels, Kaaitheater, 25 and 26 October 2002, première. Vienna, Odeon Theater, 16 and 17 November 2002. Nancy, La Manufacture, 19 and 20 May 2003.Paris, Pompidou Centre, 19-21 June 2003. London, Almeida Theatre, 23-28 June 2003. Festival de Marseille, July 2003.
1.2 Collaborators_ Peter Missotten (scenography and light design) and Kurt dHaeseleer (video) (Filmfabriek, Leuven). Johanne Saunier and Jos Houben, actors. To a text of the same name by Heiner Müller (original title: Bildbeschreibung (Description of a Picture))
1.3. Brief description_ Georges Aperghis has been working for more than thirty years to invent a form of music theatre that he defines as follows: the invasion of the theatrical temple by the abstract power of musical organisation. Not lyrics set to music, but a polyphonic encoding of actions, images, music, spurts of words and song, pushed to a high level of profusion; the opening of multiple drawers, the shock of multiple, very stubborn, very insistent, fragments that gradually sculpt a mental area with tiny snips of the scissors.
There is a sort of primitivism in his work, a strong impression of the first time: a language that invents and reinvents itself, stammers, searches for itself and develops through trial and error in an expressiveness that is too soft or overcharged by turns. It is often funny and ferocious
Seen up close, his musical scores are in keeping with the overall project. They jolt along, jump forward, stalling, re-starting, slightly jammed. Tiny, slippery intervals, harmonic standstill, little molecular dances, and shivers, crossed here and there by major catastrophes.
In Paysage sous surveillance, Aperghis treats a duplicated world threatened by its own image, a world of echoes and pre-echoes. Everything in it is filmed; everything was already filmed. Theres the matter of an atrocious murder. There are bodies, voices, and instruments that play the game and are reluctant to play, bothersome as viruses.
It is a low-tech show. Surveillance cameras, infrared cameras, screens, two computers, rudimentary synthesizers, and software bought at the flea market.
1.4. Composers treatment_ A police world, electronic landscape, virtual murders, ghosts under surveillance, and lessons on perspective are the motifs of this score, whose music should irrigate its many representations. The shows spiral form will have the spectator sail through a comically apocalyptic world, reminding him how unportrayable our world has become. The musical energy that traverses the performers (actor-musicians) bodies is the only thing that can breathe furtive life into it, give it a face.
3.1. Dates and venues_ Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 13 March 2003, première. Stockholm, Concert Hall, 15 March 2003. London, Barbican Centre, 18 March 2003. Athens, the Megaron, 27 March 2003. Birmingham, Symphony Hall, 3 April 2003. Vienna, Konzerthaus, 24 May 2003. Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, 27 May 2003. Cologne, Kölner Philharmonie, 29 May 2003. Paris, Cité de la Musique, 14 June 2003. Lyons, Auditorium, 12 March 2004.
3.2. Composers_ Georges Aperghis, Thierry De Mey, Robin de Raaff, Luca Francesconi, Jonathan Harvey, Toshio Hosokawa, Magnus Lindberg, Steve Reich, Fausto Romitelli, and Stefan Van Eycken.
3.3. Description of the show_ Counter Phrases is an evening of cinema with live music. Ten shorts by Thierry De Mey set to music by ten composers with ten danced phrases choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and performed by Rosas. These ten films encapsulate the best of De Keersmaeker and De Meys collaboration: twenty years of assiduously practicing variation, of perpetually inventing algorithms, filters, and formulae that twist movement and space according to the capricious mathematics of pleasure. All of this is filmed O Belgitude! in exquisite flower-filled gardens and under impressionistic drizzling rain.
The ten composers of Counter Phrases will each work on one of the variations separately, after the films have been edited, and will be completely unaware of what the others are doing.
3.4. Interview with Thierry De Mey, composer and filmmaker_ This interview, which was recorded during the Musica 2001 festival, does not concern the project presented above, but situates the person behind it.
4.1. Venues and dates_ Strasbourg, Musica Festival, 28 September 2002. Brussels, Kaaitheater, 7 December 2002. Caen, Théâtre de Caen, 10 January 2003. Milan, Teatro Manzoni, 12 January 2003.
4.3 Description_ Tom Waits has written two operas, one of them (The Black Rider) with William Burroughs. They are operas about beggars and thieves, traumatic from start to finish. We shall present some of his arias in concert, sung by the blues singer Kris Dane, to reveal the kinship and contrasts with the operas of Weill during his German period (but without any fetishist fascination for the Weimar cabarets) and his American period (Weills true cursed works, that is, his unjustifiable Hollywood slows). Vocals: Judith Vindevogel.
Tom Waits puts the Berlin composer in perspective. There is the same genius of subtly asymmetrical melody, the same troubling sense of being off in the harmony, and the same way of using the three themes of popular song: revolt, love song, and drunkenness. Weill incarnates this facet of modernity, which refuses to reconsider its foundations, marvellously well, and contents himself with laying them down askew. Its diagonal poetry that talks about limping lives and unravelled love. We havent the heart, we havent the time to grapple with great art head on.
This project involved two arrangement exercises. First came the free transcription of Waits instrumental scores (semi-improvised on the CD), and then the reduction (which was just as free) of Weills orchestra scores for a chamber ensemble. Three Belgian composers François Deppe, Fabian Fiorini, and Jean-Luc Fafchamps dipped their pens in this most Saturnine ink.
4.4. Excerpt from a press review _ (Maarten Beirens, De Standaard, 6 May 2002)
In their work, the arrangers have respected both the anarchic nature of Waits songs and Kurt Weills acerbic tone. But the true challenge is in the singers rendering. This challenge was taken up by Maria Husmann, who proved to be a phenomenal singer of Weills music. Her broad expressive palette she is as much at ease in the lyrical legato as in the ironic parlando gave Kurt Weills best-known airs (such as in Sabaya Johnny or, more particularly, in Seeräuber-Jenny) a most incredibly powerful impact. The rock singer Kris Dane had the ungrateful task of making us forget Tom Waits inimitable sand-paper voice. He carried this off quite well by at times singing into the microphone and a megaphone simultaneously, which gave his voice all the cutting edge that it required. Backed up by a wild ensemble, Dane proposed a rendering that Waits would without a doubt have approved of. His version of Ill Shoot the Moon is even better than the original, in my opinion.