Different Trains

May 25th and 26th, 7:30 PM

The Marigny Opera House


***click on the title for more information about each work and the performers***

***click here for Versipel Collective bios***

Twenty Answers (2007) Pamela Z

Fast-Paced World (2022) Mendel Lee

Island of the Sirens (2017) Eve Beglarian


Different Trains (1988) Steve Reich

Part I: America Before the War

Part II: Europe During the War

Part III: After the War

On May 25th and 26th, 2023 Versipel New Music presents a program combining 20th and 21st century chamber works with new dance choreography by local choreographers. At the center of the program, the Versipel Collective String Players will perform Steve Reich’s 1988 string quartet “Different Trains” with world premiere choreography by Lauren Guynes (Marigny Opera Ballet, HUB Dance Collective). Reich composed this 27 minute work in three movements. In it, he juxtaposes anecdotal experiences of different train travels during the World War II era in Europe and the United States. The string quartet is accompanied by a recording of sounds of trains and spoken-word snippets from interviews with Americans and Europeans about their experiences. Throughout the work, the string parts imitate speech patterns and vocal contours of the speakers to create a repetitive, pulsating combination of sounds, evoking nostalgia for a bygone era in the United States, combined with the memories of Holocaust survivors in Europe who rode altogether different types of trains.

The concert also includes the premiere of New Orleans composer Mendel Lee’s electronic work “Fast-Paced World” (2022) which incorporates the sounds of speeding traffic on a busy highway. The work will be accompanied by world premiere choreography from New Orleans-based choreographer Jakki Kalogridis and video by Lee. Similar to Reich’s work, Lee’s work explores the idea of patterns of movement related to transportation and technology.

Eve Beglarian’s work “Island of the Sirens” for voice and instrumental trio (featuring mezzo-soprano Meghan Ihnen) and Pamela Z’s open-ended work for ensemble and magic eight balls entitled “Twenty Answers.” Beglarian’s work was inspired by a warning siren she heard in Plaquemine, Louisiana, while traveling down the Mississippi River, and uses a text from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Pamela Z’s playful and spontaneous “Twenty Answers” is an open-ended work in which the performers consult “magic oracles” to make musical decisions. These two works add contrast and balance to the other pieces on the program.

Together these works form a tightly-knit program of music that investigates specific facets of motion, space, sound, and technology creating a unique experience of contemporary music within a fresh, evocative visual context combined with the kinesthetic art of dance.

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