Passing Through

Brakhage's 1990 film Passage Through: A Ritual is by all accounts one of his most singular achievements (in a career no doubt filled to the brim with singularity).  Two aspects in particular seem to serve its distinction; first, the subtle darkness that comprises the majority of its running time and second, the music of Philip Corner woven intricately into its being.  The story behind its making is best recounted by Brakhage himself:      

"When I received the tape of Philip Corner's Through the Mysterious Barricade, Lumen 1 (after F. Couperin), he included a note that thanked me for my film, THE RIDDLE OF LUMEN, he'd just seen and which had in some way inspired this music. I, in turn, was so moved by the tape he sent I immediately asked his permission to "set it to film." It required the most exacting editing process ever; and in the course of that work it occurred to me that I'd originally made THE RIDDLE OF LUMEN hoping someone would make an "answering" film and entertain my visual riddle in the manner of the riddling poets of yore. I most expected Hollis Frampton (because of Zorn's Lemma) to pick up the challenge; but he never did. In some sense I think composer Corner has - and now we have this dance of riddles as music and film combine to make "passage," in every sense of the word, further possible."

Naturally the combined input of these two great artists create an experience very different from that of their individual contributions, nevertheless Corner's exquisite score is very much worth listening to alone for its own considerable reward.  Thanks to Simon Evnine at The Mysterious Barricades such an experience is possible...(scroll down a little bit to find the post).

(Philip Corner)


Anonymous said...

I received an email from Philip Corner whom I informed about this. He writes: "I must confess i have no idea what the "riddle" is ..."
It is no riddle that the image does not show Philip Corner but – presumably – Karl-Erik Welin, Swedish Composer and Pianist. The photo was taken my Maciunas.