Self Portrait of an Other Blends Readings by Acclaimed Dutch Writer Cees Nooteboom with Music Performed by Pianist Sarah Rothenberg
February 27, 2002
Los Angeles--On Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. the Getty Research Institute presents Self Portrait of an Other, a collaborative mixed media performance featuring Dutch writer and former Getty Scholar Cees Nooteboom and acclaimed pianist Sarah Rothenberg. This performance will be the West Coast debut of a piece which has been performed internationally. Nooteboom reads sections from his new novel All Souls Day, the story of a cameraman's attempt to cope with the deaths of his wife and child following an airplane accident, as well as other works by the author. The various literary forms are mirrored by the sounds and structure of compositions by Dmitri Shostakovich, Toru Takemitsu, Morton Feldman, and Arnold Schoenberg as performed by Rothenberg. Together, the readings and music reflect the passage of time and the role of memory and narrative in confronting traumatic personal loss.
Tickets ($15) are available at the J. Paul Getty Museum Information Desk or by calling 310-440-7300. The performance is held in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, 1200 Getty Center Drive.
The Self Portrait of an Other program is divided into halves. The first part presents readings from Nooteboom's All Souls Day with the music of Shostakovich as a leitmotif: the narrative form of the novel is reflected in the dramatic classical sonata, with the development of recognizable themes--and their transformation over time--resembling that of characters in a novel.
The second half of the program features Nooteboom's selected poetry and short prose and is quite different in mood. The music of American composer Morton Feldman--aesthetic kin to John Cage--discards all aspects of narrative for contemplative, soft, coloristic sounds. This music is as abstract and still as the paintings that inspired it. Toru Takemitsu's Rain Tree Sketch exists in a similarly delicate sound world and reflects Nooteboom's involvement with eastern spirituality. The program concludes with music of Arnold Schoenberg in which the haunted city of Berlin, the central city of All Souls Day, is represented musically. The musical works are both radically modern and profoundly romantic in their expression. The eerie, dreamlike qualities of Nooteboom's prose poems are in close spirit to Schoenberg's music, and the startling visions of Schoenberg's own painted self-portraits from this period suggest a further connection between the composer and the author.
Nooteboom, one of Holland's most acclaimed writers, has been compared to such literary luminaries as Aldous Huxley, Milan Kundera, Jose Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, and Umberto Eco. His work has been widely translated and includes novels, poetry, prose, poems, and even journalistic and travel writing.
Pianist Sarah Rothenberg is one of the most distinguished and creative musicians of her generation. Noted for her "power and introspection" (Fanfare), she has received international acclaim as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, and recording artist, and for the innovative programs that she conceives and directs. Recognized as a visionary artist, over the past five years Rothenberg has created numerous original performance works, including the celebrated Music and the Literary Imagination series linking music to the works of Proust, Kafka, Mann, Akhmatova, and others. She also conceived and performed in the Da Camera production Moondrunk, which inaugurated Lincoln Center's New Visions series in January 1999 and was hailed by American Theatre magazine as "the birth of a new genre."
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