Gordon orchestral premieres

April 17, 2017

In May, Michael Gordon receives orchestral premieres: The Unchanging Sea (Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) and CORPUS (Ballett Zürich)

On May 19, the Rotterdam Philharmonic with pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and conductor Bas Wiegers gives the Dutch premiere of Gordon’s The Unchanging Sea, with a new film by Bill Morrison.

Co-commissioned with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, this is the fifth work with orchestra for Gordon and Morrison, whose fourteen collaborations span nearly 20 years. Another recent Gordon/Morrison collaboration, El Sol Caliente, was premiered last year with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL. Their other collaborations with orchestra are Dystopia (2007), Gotham (2004), and Decasia (2001).

Morrison, who uses archival or found footage that is often in some state of physical decay, feels his films and Gordon’s music connect on a more existential level — a timelessness they both contain. “There is a great majesty in Michael’s work,” Morrison says, “it is enormously forceful. And while it is unmistakably contemporary music, there is a timeless quality to it. It perseveres. I believe that this quality may relate to, and enhance, the old decaying footage I employ.”

Morrison (who edits the films he chooses after Gordon writes the music) took the name, The Unchanging Sea, from the title of a 1912 film by cinema pioneer D.W. Griffith. For Morrison, the Griffith film became a seed for what the project would become: “I looked for other footage that had a similar theme — or could be grouped together with this film — of people embarking on trips out to sea.”

On May 27, Ballett Zürich premieres a new arrrangement by Michael Gordon for period orchestra: CORPUS. Choreographed by Douglas Lee, the new work is an arrangement of previous works for orchestra by Gordon, intermixed with music by Vivaldi.