Jocelyn Hagen
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(Chamber ensemble tuning) (Music: flute solo) (Music continues) (Single clarinet joins in) (Single violin pizzicato joins in) (Single oboe joins in) (Music continues) (Strings join in) (Music continues) (Music continues) (Music stops) "A painting is a poem seen but not heard, a poem is a painting heard but not seen. Hence these two poems, or two paintings, have exchanged the senses by which they pierce the intellect." Leonardo da Vinci wrote those words in one of his many notebook pages over 500 years ago. These words served as inspiration for me in the creation of my new multimedia symphony - "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci." I was inspired to create this work after seeing an exhibit of the Codex Leicester at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2015. And as the composer who is the creative force behind both the music and the visual component, I have designed an opportunity in which the music serves as the foundation for the digital media. As audience members, we are conditioned to expect a certain relationship between film and video. We all know how powerful a visual experience can be when it is supported by adequate sounds that heighten our emotions at exactly the right moment. What is more empowering than a triumphant line played by the horn or as sad and isolating as a solo violin. Film and TV directors know that great music is a wonderful asset to their productions, and they spend millions of dollars each year on the creation of new music or the licensing of just the right pop song to get the audience at their emotional peak. The world of classical or concert music, though, in which I work, is still trying to figure out how to utilize video in the best way for their audiences. Composers have tried various visual additions and multimedia productions throughout the years - some more successful than others. What many of them are missing is the vital connection that film directors have been capitalizing on for years: the ability to sync the film and music, to, in essence, perform together. A few years ago, I was introduced to a new software called Musaic, created by Ion Concert Media, which allows for the syncing of video to live music performance without the use of any kind of mechanical metronome. In the past and still often today, if a conductor wants to sync a video to a live music performance, they would have to use a click track. Imagine a little clock inside your ear giving you the time with each beat - tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick … It is hard for even the most seasoned professional musicians to perform expressively with a metronome in their ear. And part of what makes live performance so magical is the fact that each performance is unique, and great conductors know when a beautiful moment should be held a little longer or if the excitement a section needs to push just a little bit faster. Playing with a click track does not allow performers to follow their musical instincts, and it leads to dry, mechanical performances. Tick, tick, tick, tick … A few years ago, I brought my boys to Orchestra Hall for a performance of Home Alone - (Laughter)` great movie and a wonderful soundtrack by John Williams - but I'm not so sure my boys even knew there was a live orchestra up there. It's too hard to compete with Kevin McCallister, (Laughter) and that's because the film is leading the music, and that's how we're programmed to digest it. Movie scores are built to elicit emotion, and they are very good at that, but only the best of them participates in the storytelling in a deeper way, and when they do, it elevates the entire experience. But what I am exploring and creating is a different relationship between film and music, in which the music is leading the film. The combination of my music and the wonderful cinematography by my collaborators, animator Joseph Mattoon and filmmaker Isaac Gayle, goes beyond simple sound and sight. Adding a new dimension to the work can be likened to dance. The effect feels more organic and intuitive, and connects us all to a broader, more present sense of time. The music is meeting the film on an equal ground, and they coalesce into one blended immersive performance. I can create this way because I have a video technician using the Musaic software as a member of the ensemble. I'd like to say "hi" to Scott. See Scott over there? Wave to Scott. (Cheers) (Applause) And he is following the conductor, just like the singers standing next to him, so when the conductor decides to slow down or speed up, or hold something a little bit longer, he adjusts the film accordingly. In my multimedia symphony, the film will always adjust to what needs to happen musically. What you just saw and heard was the beginning of the first movement of the symphony, a movement titled "Painting and Drawing," and it begins with a duet between the flute and the animation, but as an audience, we take them in as a single thought, a single idea, recognizing the fluid connection between what we see, what we hear, and what we feel. These two instruments are linked and incomplete without each other. What you just were witness to was the beginning of a thought or an idea. It came in bits and pieces, there was a mistake, there was silence - as Leonardo's brain was thinking about what to write next – and then the idea begins to grow and make sense, and the music begins to flow, and the handwriting begins to flow, just like creative ideas flow. And it wasn't just handwriting in all those notebook pages; I was amazed to discover how much Leonardo da Vinci studied the angles of light and the perception of an object. His notebook pages are filled with geometry, perfect circles, straight lines, and I thought, "How do I represent that musically?" (Music) (Music continues) (Music ends) As Leonardo draws those long lines across the page, I brought those lines into the strings. You can even see it in the notation of the music: those long sustained notes are drawn across the strings of the instruments, just like his hand across the page. And then of course he practiced - he drew sketches of people, plants, animals, buildings, inventions, water, even grotesque faces and a few dragons. I wanted to highlight some of these beautiful portraits in the final section of music. This is when the choir enters, singing an English translation of one of his many musings from the notebooks. ♪ O painter ... ♪ (Choir sings with accompaniment) ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ (In canon) ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ (In canon) ♪ A painting is a poem ♪ ♪ seen but not heard, ♪ ♪ a poem is a painting ♪ ♪ heard but not seen. ♪ ♪ Hence these two poems, ♪ ♪ Hence these two poems, ♪ (In canon) ♪ two paintings, ♪ ♪ two paintings, ♪ (In canon) ♪ have exchanged the senses ♪ ♪ have exchanged the senses ♪ (In canon) ♪ by which they pierced ♪ ♪ by which they pierced ♪ (In canon) ♪ the intellect. ♪ (In unison) (Music ends) I love the correlation of the human voice and the human face. I'd like to thank my collaborators up here today with me: Conductor Kathy Romi, Scott Winters from Ion Concert Media as well as all my friends and colleagues who are up here performing with me today. In 2019, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. It has been four years of planning and creating, but I'm proud to say that this symphony will be performed over a dozen times across the United States this year. You all - (Applause) Ah … (Laughs) (Applause continues) Thanks. (Applause continues) You all were the first to see this. (Audience) Whoo! And now, the first movement of "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci." Thank you. (Applause) (Music: flute solo) (Music continues) (Single clarinet joins in) (Single violin pizzicato joins in) (Single oboe joins in) (Strings join in) (Harp joins in) (Music continues) (Music continues) (Music continues) (Choir joins in) ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ O painter ... ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ ♪ A painter is not admirable ♪ (In canon) ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ ♪ unless he is universal. ♪ (In canon) ♪ A painting is a poem ♪ ♪ seen but not heard, ♪ ♪ a poem is a painting ♪ ♪ heard but not seen. ♪ ♪ Hence these two poems, ♪ ♪ Hence these two poems, ♪ (In canon) ♪ two paintings, ♪ ♪ two paintings, ♪ (In canon) ♪ have exchanged the senses ♪ ♪ have exchanged the senses ♪ (In canon) ♪ by which they pierced ♪ ♪ by which they pierced ♪ (in canon) ♪ the intellect. ♪ (In unison) (Instruments continue playing) (Music continues) (Music ends) (Applause) (Cheers)