Trisha Brown Dance Company.
The word "art" takes on a special, or perhaps true, meaning when every element in a work rises from the same insight. These elements invoke a magical kingdom joined in a balance of power and vulnerability. Such a work was Trisha Brown's Winterreise, which premiered December 2 during her company's New York season of three programs spread over twelve performances.
Winterreise, a twenty-four-part song cycle composed in 1827 by Franz Schubert, is the epitome of romanticism. In an atmosphere of unrelenting aloneness, it traces the journey of a spurned lover, played by British baritone Simon Keenlyside.
In his simple garb of work shirt and trousers, with his feet bare and his hands restless, he sang with a fine-spun sweetness, at the same time taking off in stag leaps or circling the stage without losing a decibel. And yet his involvement in the poetry of Wilhelm Muller did not for one moment suggest an athletic virtuoso. He was a simple man, perhaps a man near death, with a broken heart and an angelic voice.
Three dancers (Brandi L. Norton, Seth Parker, Lionel Popkin) shared the wintry landscape with him. Masterful abstractionist that she is, Brown avoided descriptive or mimetic gesture for them. Instead, as they sifted behind Keenlyside and shadowed his angled arm gestures, all four seemed joined in some mystical union.
Pianist Pedja Muzijevic did much more than merely accompany. His crystalline interpretations bound the actions with threads of silver, while lighting designer Jennifer Tipton gave a constantly changing pulse to the landscape.
IT WAS REMARKABLE HOW ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS REMAINED ATTUNED TO THE DEEPLY MATED VISION OF KEENLYSIDE AND BROWN--AND YES, SCHUBERT.
The season also included the New York premiere of Geometry of Quiet, dedicated to the late Stephanie Reinhart, co-director of the American Dance Festival. To Salvatore Sciarrino's gentle lamentation for flute, played onstage by Mario Caroli, Brown created a dance that was almost classical in its unadorned dignity. The moving of a graceful white drape signaled changes in the action as the four dancers progressed calmly through an equally calm and reassuring world.
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|Title Annotation:||Trisha Brown's Winterreise combines dance with Franz Schubert's twenty-four part song cycle|
|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||May 1, 2003|
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