It’s 1924. You have tickets to the Ballets Suédois production of Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. It’s a new ballet by avant-garde artist Francis Picabia, with choreography by Jean Börlin. It’s shocking and bawdy. Erik Satie’s musical score adds to the irreverence, pulling from popular tunes and “raunchy army songs.”
At the end of Act I, instead of getting out of your seat and milling about the lobby, you stay put. You’re compelled to, because now there’s a film playing. It’s a silent film by René Clair, with music also by Satie. (This will be the last music that Satie writes before his death the following year.) You look closely, and sure enough, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Erik Satie all make cameos in the film. It’s weird and funny, and in the future, people will call this art Dada.
Today, that film and film score are what we remember — Entr’Acte.
Sound Symposium XIX is pleased to present a recreation of the Entr’Acte experience, with a screening of René Clair’s silent film accompanied by the Earheart Ensemble’s live performance of Erik Satie’s score.
“Sound Symposium is derived from a similar artistic sentiment as Satie,” says Duane Andrews, conductor of Earheart Ensemble.
Andrews founded the Earheart Ensemble to be part jazz big band, part chamber orchestra, part new music ensemble. He welcomes all players to the group and adapts the music to whoever signs up. He worked from an orchestral score and a piano four-hand arrangement to construct parts for his rag-tag orchestra.
Initially, he only had one bass instrument sign up — a tuba — but within the past week, the group grew by one baritone saxophone and one double bass. “I like this challenge of not knowing what the ensemble will be,” he says. “It’s like on a cooking show where you get a basket of ingredients. How are you going to make this work?”
Satie and Clair surely would approve.
The performance takes place on Friday, July 13 at 7:00pm in D. F. Cook Recital Hall (Memorial University School of Music).
Buy tickets at the door with cash, credit or Interac — $25 for general admission; $20 for students and seniors