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Murderous Little World
Experimental Music Theatre
Voice, trumpet, piano, accordion and trombone
Commissioned and premiered by Bellows and Brass; Toronto, Canada

Organized around seven poems excerpted from Men in the Off Hours, by Anne Carson the work brings together gifted artists from diverse experiences to create a new evening length multimedia performance that fuses music, poetry, theatre, video art, and lighting.

Three musicians/actors perform on trumpet, trombone, accordion and piano live against an electronic score integrated with video projections -both live and pre-recorded.

Murderous Little World takes as its inspiration the terse yet epic poetic work of Anne Carson. The poems conjure up a textured universe of “little worlds” that span continents, and ages of human existence. Carson’s phrases seem to be made up of fragments or artifacts and point to individuals’ searching for truth against waves of corruption and cruelty. Bouchard’s musical compositions bring to mind the title of Carson’s book, from which the poems are taken and the collegiality, competitiveness and brutality that this title implies. The music, like the poems, deals in fragments and strange juxtapositions to form a compelling set of concise, interrelated themes or motifs whose brightness and audacity lend themselves to the splashes of color and light that is possible with current video projection technologies.

The musical and dramatic response to each poem is unique with each selection having an individual voice expressed through specific vocals – i.e. whispered, slow recitation, fully voiced, in a range of emotional pitches and vocal styles, etc. At the same time the three musicians/actors play live and move around the stage creating different dramatic interplay with the visuals. Live music is performed against an electronic score that is manipulated with MaxMSP using pre-recorded sounds of the musicians’ voices and their instruments in the form of a “hyper-trio”.

Murderous Little World has received support and funding from individuals through an Indiegogo Campaign 2012; Matralab, Concordia University, Canada, residency Summer 2012; The Canada Council for the Arts Touring Grant 2011; Composers Assistance Program 2012, New Music USA; The Canada Council for the Arts Music Program 2004,2006; Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec 2007; Oboro Laboratoire Nouveaux Medias, Montréal Canada, Production Assistance Program 2005 and 2007; Composer Assistance Program, American Music Centre, USA 2005; Tesuque Foundation, USA 2005.

Performed by Bellows and Brass: Guy Few, Eric Vaillancourt and Joseph Petric.
Poems from Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson
Video by Yan Breuleux and Fredéric St-Hiliare
Director, Keith Turnbull
Artistic Director and composer: Linda Bouchard

“Murderous Little World features a versatile three-man ensemble of brass and accordion – Bellows and Brass – that pretty much blew me away… Bouchard’s music is the bowl of elsewhere [from Anne Carson’s poetry]. There are many layers to shift through in Murderous Little World. Query the video and you might miss something in the music. Let a Carson line gyrate in your mind and you’ll fail to capture another as it glides by. The sheer brilliance of Bellow and Brass may draw you to them alone. Bouchard’s electronic soundscape is its own enchantment… Once around is hardly enough to fathom Murderous Little World.”

Los Angeles Times, Murderous Little World Worth Further Exploration View Full Review »
Review by Mark Swed, LA Times Music Critic
December 11, 2012

“…a mesmerizing multi-media combination of music, video, and theatre …The opening combination of visuals and music was stunning. The effect was simultaneously overwhelming, intoxicating and irresistible… As with the inspiration for the work, the performance experience was poetic. Intense infusions of images,words and sounds evoked any number of meanings and messages — at times tender, intimate, and humanly connected; and at others, jarringly global, mechanical, and overwhelming.”

The Record, Numus Gives Life to Murderous Little World View Full Review »
Review by Stephen Preece, for The Record
February 13, 2011