Relâche Concludes "Music for the Mystery of Silents" Concert and Silent Film Series With a French Focus Sunday, May 3, at 3:00 pm
PHILADELPHIA, PA April 2015—"Music for the Mystery of Silents," the Relache New Music Ensemble Sunday afternoon series at the Penn Museum, takes a decidedly French twist on Sunday, May 3 at 3:00 pm, with the final program of the fall to spring three concert series: "Les Mystères Français."
The program, presented in the Penn Museum's Widener Hall, features the classic 1912 French silent film The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador, directed by Léonce Perret with musical score by Régis Huby, as well as two musical improvisations from last summer's "Sounding Cézanne" project for the Barnes Foundation. Bookending the program are two works by veteran Philadelphia composer Paul A. Epstein: A Song to Sing in D, a premiere, and to conclude, a brief, lively work, Fancy Flight.
Relâche concert tickets are just $15 ($10 for Penn Museum members, and $10 for any student with ID), online in advance or at the door, while supplies last. A ticket may be used to enter and explore the Museum's international galleries anytime after 2:00 pm on the day of the concert.
The French Connections
The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (45 minutes), is screened with live music performed by the eight wind, string, keyboard, and percussion players of the locally based, internationally renowned ensemble. Commissioned in 2011 from French composer/violinist Régis Huby, this is the first performance of the movie and Huby's music in four years, when it premiered at the Kimmel Center's PIFA festival. The movie features a murder mystery and its resolution by clever if unlikely methods involving quasi-Freudian theories and the magic of film itself. Huby offers a pulsing, enigmatic, and ever-mysterious score to keep the audience on edge.
Relâche also revives some of the music from last summer's "Sounding Cézanne" project for the Barnes Foundation's exhibition of 21 still life paintings. Relâche interpreted Cézanne images with 21 musical improvisations; the May 3 concert features two of these, performed while projecting a montage of the great painter's work from the show. As Cezanne once said, "I want to amaze Paris with an apple."
Works by Paul Epstein
To begin and end the program Relâche presents two works by Paul Epstein, a Philadelphia composer who has been providing scores to the ensemble for over 25 years. Epstein's A Song to Sing in D, a premiere, is an homage to both Gilbert and Sullivan and to Terry Riley, whose seminal In C (1964) is said to have founded the musical style later called minimalism. Epstein's Fancy Flight processes material from Flight of the Bumblebee to provide Relâche with a rocking, syncopated season finale. Fancy Flight is dedicated to pianist John Dulik, an original member of Relâche in 1978 and now a board member.
Relâche is a new music ensemble that for over thirty years has maintained an international reputation as a leader in commissioning and performing the innovative music of our time. Relâche has a unique sound—flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, viola, piano, bass and percussion, and performs works that are neither classical, nor popular, but somewhere in between—a melding of Western classical traditions with jazz, rock, electronica, world music, and more.
Among the oldest continuously operating, non-profit organizations and chamber ensembles dedicated to contemporary music in the United States, Relâche has consistently offered world-class performances and presentations of music by leading American and international composers and artists. To date, Relâche has performed more than 600 concerts in the Greater Philadelphia area, around the country and the globe, including residency, festival, and touring appearances in South America, Japan, and Eastern and Western Europe. The Ensemble boasts a touring-ready repertoire of more than 50 pieces and a repertory library of more than 400 works. Relâche commissions include works by Robert Ashley, Kitty Brazelton, John Cage, Uri Caine, Fred Frith, Kyle Gann, Philip Glass, Fred Ho, Michael Nyman, Pauline Oliveros, Bobby Previte, George Russell, Somei Satoh, and Lois V Vierk. Relâche has released seven CDs to date, from Relâche on Edge (1991), to Comix Trips (2014).
About the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.
The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with extended hours the first Wednesday of each month (to 8:00 pm). Closed Mondays and holidays. Guests with day-of Relâche tickets may explore the Museum between 2:00 pm and performance time at 3:00 pm. Regular Museum admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger. Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. The Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000.
Photos, left to right: French filmmaker Leonce Perrot, circa 1918, from the family archives (public domain). Relâche New Music Ensemble performs in Widener Hall at the Penn Museum. Photo: Penn Museum. Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906). Still Life (Nature morte), 1892–1894. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 36 3/8 in. (73 x 92.4 cm). The Barnes Foundation, BF910. Photo courtesy The Barnes Foundation.