Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Einstein on the beach (at Sheringham)

click photo to enlarge
My introduction to the music of Philip Glass was through Godfrey Reggio's film, "Koyaanisqatsi" (1983). This movie features footage from various locations in the United States presented with no actors or narration, simply a score by Glass. The only indication of the message of the film is in the film's subtitle "Life out of balance" -  a translation from the Hopi language of the film's main title. I loved the film and it quickly became a favourite of all the family.

The score of "Koyaanisqatsi" is in the minimalist style, a branch of modern classical music that seems to be either loved or reviled. It's an approach to music that I was familiar with before I heard Glass through Terry Riley's album, "A Rainbow in Curved Air" (1969), and I'm firmly in the camp that likes minimalism. We bought other music by Philip Glass in later years, but this piece that was written for the film, has remained a favourite.

On our recent visit to the Norfolk coast we came upon a series of paintings on the promenade that had been done by an artist as part of a project to involve children in drawing using chalk. The main "canvas" for this work was the sea wall. Towards the end of the series that showed deck chairs, boats, an ice-cream seller's van, etc., we came upon the example shown in today's photograph. Immediately we saw it my wife and I turned to each other and said, "Einstein on the Beach". Clearly the artist knew about Philip Glass. Why else would a seasonal, sea-front cafe be adorned with a picture of Albert Einstein drinking a mug of hot tea other than to reference the composer's first opera, a five hour piece from 1975, called "Einstein on the Beach"? It made us smile.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 32mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On