PPI brings John Tibbetts to lecture on 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD during the Summer Festival
“…experiments in the counter point of music and image.”
John Tibbetts Describes His Lecture “Sight and Sound"
Well what I hope to bring to the table is a lifelong preoccupation, not just an interest but a preoccupation, in the affective properties of music. Now, we all know that music supposedly has an absolute character, the notes don’t represent a thing. So why is it then that they affect us emotionally? Why is it then that we often times will construe in or own listening minds, stories and characters and emotions. I’ve talked about this with a lot of people. Most particularly a gentlemen named Lawrence Kramer of Fordham University; he’s written on this a lot. And he calls music a kind of hybrid expression. That is both elusive slash affective and absolute, in its more formal qualities. And boy do I love that – that intersection is the ambiguity that I seek and that music possesses. And so I’m going to be talking about, especially, a film called 32 SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD. Glenn Gould, the eminent Canadian pianist, the late eccentric genius of Bach and other composers. This film is not a documentary or a fiction film exactly, it’s an intersection itself. And so I’m gonna show excerpts from it because these little video essays, (there’s 32 of them and I’ll do a selection), are experiments in the counter point of music and image. They’re really fun. We might be looking in one moment at the optical soundtrack and hearing Bach. At another moment we might be watching him hear a playback of his music in the sound studio. He doesn’t touch the piano but he’s reacting to the music that he’s just performed. There’s all kind of experiments. He’s even in a truck stop where he’s listening the voices around him as if it’s a kind of vocal counterpoint…very imaginative film. I’m going to couple talks about that film with a little bit about two filmmakers who have specialized in musical films, Ken Russell and Tony Palmer. These guys are giants in the arena of composer biographies. And I’m gonna show excerpts from a film called THE MUSIC LOVERS, by Ken Russell, in which we see Tchaikovsky at the keyboard playing his first piano concerto, while we cutaway to his dreams and fancies of the music. Illustrations, as it were, of what we’re hearing in the music. It’s a really beautiful sequence.