Are you into The Rite of Spring? Well, thanks to the Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen you could, quite literally, step inside this still-astounding score. A new multi-media celebration of Stravinsky’s 1913 ballet score is running on London’s South Bank until November 15 at the Bargehouse, Oxo Wharf, which allows you to walk through the orchestra as it plays: a quite amazing experience.
Filmed using 29 cameras – some fixed to the players’ heads – Re-Rite presents a rarely glimpsed view of what’s it’s like to be inside an orchestra as it plays. Laid out over three floors, the various sections of the orchestra are shown on 20 huge screens with conductor Salonen a constant presence, moulding his interpretation. Cleverly, the sound has been remixed in each room to focus on the instruments you are actually watching. The intricately woven-in solo lines are quite as potent as the orchestra in full cry. It’s a highly imaginative and engaging project and is well worth a visit (and it’s free!).
The Philharmonia has shown an imaginative commitment to new media, ever since being one of the first orchestras to offer a download of a live performance. The Re-Rite project, very much driven by Salonen (who became the ensemble’s chief conductor and artistic advisor at the start of the 2008-09 season, having previously led the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1992), has been overseen by the Philharmonia’s Digital Team, and supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
The project is supported by an excellent Re-Rite website.
(Photo by Ben Ealovega)