Monday, December 27, 2010

Stop, Repair, Prepare

Through January 10 at MoMA in New York, artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla are performing their piece Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on "Ode to Joy" for a Prepared Piano.
For this piece, the artists carved a hole in the center of a grand piano, through which a pianist plays the famous Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, usually referred to as “Ode to Joy.” The performer leans over the keyboard and plays upside down and backwards, while moving with the piano across the vast atrium. The result is a structurally incomplete version of the ode—the hole in the piano renders two octaves inoperative—that fundamentally transforms both the player/instrument dynamic and the signature melody, underlining the contradictions and ambiguities of a song that has long been invoked as a symbol of humanist values and national pride.
Emily and I saw this performed at Gladstone Gallery in 2008 and while it might not sound like much, there's something about it that is both funny and moving. Info at

Photo David Regen

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