Transformation

 

The quality of this video does not allow for large screen viewing with much clarity.

I composed this music a few years ago during lent. It was assembled from a series of improvisations on an electronic piano played onto recording software.

I have always wanted to produce video to go along with the music, and so this year started on that work. Initially It was going to be simple; the clog dancers for the first part, Bowden and the WW I battle footage for the second, followed by ‘The dancing nuns of Sweden’ for the last. The project grew as I started incorporating silent movie footage of the Gospel stories.

DeMille’s ‘The King of Kings’ is a monumental work. Beautifully filmed and creatively interpreted. I draw on his focus on the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus, using her conversion and subsequent devotion as a metaphor for the Lenten journey for each disciple.

The ‘Passion Play’ footage is from the very early days of film, and has the feel of a Sunday school pageant. I use these clips to sketch the Gospel narrative throughout the three movements.

In the first movement, ‘Carnival’, I contrast the innocent celebration of the clog dancers with the decadent opulence of Mary and he cohort in the palace. Both are celebrating life and viscerally, but one with honest joy, and the other with the jaded malaise of those who celebrate too often.

In the second movement, Lent, Johnathan Bowden plays the part of the preacher. There is a good deal relevant in this if you listen to the lecture on Evola this footage is taken from. The preacher brings meaning to the chaotic happenings of Lent. The WW I footage is quite disturbing as those are actual men in battle. When they fall they are dying. I have looked at such footage carefully in the past. There is little commitment in the fighters; they seem as unwilling to kill as they are to die, often. I have also noted what seem to be fake deaths in this footage, an attempt by some in this senseless war to survive by hiding in the midst of the chaos.

The main action in ‘Lent’ is carried by DeMille’s footage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. She goes from Liberated and self-indulgent sophisticate to humble mystic over the course of the movement. She would not have seen herself as ill, but Jesus casts 7 demons out of her, the 7 deadly sins, pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, as DeMille interpreted it.

The irregular exuberance of the third movement is nicely complemented by the dancing nuns. This part is supposed to capture the uncertain joy of the realization of the risen Christ; the uncertainty of Mary in seeing Jesus again and in the perennial dissatisfaction in her not being able to embrace him upon meeting.

Over all I am trying to capture the mystical mood of Christian discipleship.

Best Bluegrass Clog Dance move ever made

Passion Play 1903

The King of Kings

Johnathan Bowden on Evola

WW I Footage

The dancing nuns of Sweeden

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