Music for Alice Guy-Blache (2009)

About the Work

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

commissioned by the Whitney Museum Live

Madamme a des Envoy (1906)

Sage Femme de 1ère Classe (1902)


By Allan Kozinn Oct. 2, 2009

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.

Read here.