November 2005

Charlie Ringas – Gold of Hours: A Multi Media Work for Chamber Orchestra and Chorus
presented by ARTSTRA with earshot
November 18 & 19, 2005Premier Dance TheatreToronto
They’ve Got Your Brain Surrounded
by Stanley Fefferman
Charlie Ringas, a cheerful man with a simple philosophy (“All is in the All”), composed and conducted a work scored for 13 instruments, a chorus of 6 and various stage people who do things with lights. This impressive array of talent was arranged in a half circle around the darkened stage with spotlights on their faces, and as the first notes of a tolling bell sounded, smoke of dry ice rolled across the stage floor to knee level. Behind the orchestra, rotating blue and orange spotlights pivoted around, flashed in and away from the audiences’ eyes as the fine-voiced chorus sang:” From the void/ From the void/ In the sleep/ of the cosmic night/ Light there is not/ The flame of spirit is to be Re-kindled/In the deep/ of the silent void/Time when is not/ change is to Re-begin.”
The title, Gold of Hours, as the program notes tell us, encompasses the ideas that gold, though it comes from low in the earth is held high in the estimation of humans as a symbol of the infinite, and hours, though they multiply themselves, are finite. Thus, the finite has infinite possibilities. Nice.
The music is simple, almost minimalist, repeating phrases apparently representing musically the primordial pairing of elements. Thus, melody alternates with polyphonic counterpoint, harshness with harmony, and so on. The overall effect, as one might expect from the primitive duality of the subject matter, is monotony. Campbell Walker’s visual accompaniment includes multiprojector video on-screen above the stage, sometimes showing raindrops on water, sometimes instant playback of the musicians who played with great precision. Sometimes there are onstage visits by people holding flashlights, and sometimes there are dozens of floor lamps planted on the stage. As the program states, “They’ve got your brain surrounded.”

What it was about the performance that encouraged the couple one row down to keep a steady conversation going throughout the first half of the performance, escapes me. Since I didn’t feel like tapping them on the shoulder, and since none of the neighbours seemed to mind, it occurred to me they were part of the performance, opening the barrier between stage and house. In any case, Gold of Hours is an ambitious project, full of optimism and a sincere desire to speak positively about life and art.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Stanley Fefferman
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
• •

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2005