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Reynolds’ ‘Illusion’ to Appear at L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall

| May 8, 2006

Photo
Photo by: Malcolm Crowthers

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, will present the world premiere of Illusion by composer and UCSD music professor Roger Reynolds.

The piece is scored for voice, instrumental soloists, actors, a chamber ensemble and multi-channel computer sound. This includes a 24-channel real-time computer environment in the lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall as a prelude and the use of eight-track, computer-generated sound during the performance.

This combination of cutting-edge sonic techniques is a first for Disney Hall.

An interpretation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Illusion explores moral conflicts and the tension between tyranny and democracy in a time of war – as seen from the points of view of different characters.

This multiplicity of views is a key idea in Illusion. Instead of surrounding the audience with one omnipresent story, Illusion makes use of Disney Hall’s multi-channel capacities and presents different voices in distinct locations in a continuing conversation between the human voices and the instruments.

Reynolds sees Illusion as part of his long-term goal to write a full-length opera called The Red Act, which would likely include The Red Act Arias, originally written for London’s fabled Royal Albert Hall, and Justice, the companion piece and predecessor to Illusion, which was commissioned by the Library of Congress for its Bicentennial Celebration.

“No other work I have written has involved so many preparatory phases,” writes the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer in his concert notes on Illusion. “And accomplishing Justice and Illusion has caused me to realize that the explicitness of musical relationships cannot always carry adequately the emotional range and the sonic inferences that a drama of this intensity requires. It has led me to explore a flexibility of means that I would not previously have expected to embrace.”

Illusion is co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic New Music Group and the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Inc., supported by the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund and by UCSD.

To learn more about the concert – and to read more of Reynolds’ perspective on the piece – click here.

To read the Union-Tribune feature on Reynolds and Illusion, click here.
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