ca. 30’ min — scored for three silent films: Madamme a des Envoy, Sage de Femme and The Thief
for Alice Guy-Blache’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art premiered at the Crossing the Line Festival, Florence Gould Hall, FIAF Screened at the Whitney Museum of Art, Oct 2009 through Jan 2010
Du Yun’s music is often conventionally modernist (her “Vicissitudes No. 3” was one of the most striking scores in the New Juilliard Ensemble’s program on Saturday evening), but her scores for “Sage-Femme de Première Classe” (“First Class Midwife,” 1902), “Madame a des Envies” (“Madame Has Cravings,” 1906) and “The Thief” (1913) were a free-form jazz-rock hybrid.
The guitar and drum freakouts in the scores and Blaché’s black-and-white, jumpily edited (and sometimes decaying) films could not have come from more distant worlds. Yet Ms. Du’s synthesizer and slide-guitar timbres perfectly characterized the cravings (absinthe, opium) of the pregnant woman in “Madame a des Envies,” and Ms. Du resolutely avoided lugubriousness in “The Thief,” the story of an old soldier down on his luck.