In Facets, Conny Antonov, piano and I investigated ways of deconstructing aspects of Lied performance by the means of experiments with music, lights and movement. We collaborated with the light designer Kristofer Langerbeck. The labs took place at Inter Arts Center in June and November 2014.
The idea was to combine elements of classical art songs with improvisation in a visual format that allowed the light designer to direct the images of the musicians’ physical bodies on a white tarpaulin, projecting RGB lights from behind. In the first lab session, experiments with Laban gestures performing and improvising on Swedish art songs by Stenhammar were included, and in the second lab, Facets of Sorrow, was related to the song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben. This could also be seen as a reflection of a performance of this song cycle by Wilén and the pianist Francisca Skoogh in an experimental Lied recital at Inter Arts Center on the evening before. The light designer had free hands to form the facets of our performing bodies into a visual collage, or narrative.
The project was documented in video and notes. On the second lab, three cameras were used to present the differing perspectives from inside and outside the white tarpaulin.
As performers we investigated ways of using our bodies and instruments as means for the emotional expressions that we experience as vital expressional tools in the performance of the Romantic and late Romantic vocal repertoire. The multicolour shadow play added a new visual dimension, sometimes contrasting to the performance, and sometimes almost painfully adding to, and underlining the emotional expressions of loss and longing.