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UCSB Arts & Lectures Presents The Orlando Consort Accompanying ‘The Passion of Joan of Art’

UCSB Arts & Lectures presents renowned vocal ensemble The Orlando Consort, performing its new project, Voices Appeared: Silent Cinema and Medieval Music - The Passion of Joan of Arc. The deeply moving live accompaniment to the celebrated silent film will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at Hahn Hall at Music Academy of the West.

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s acclaimed 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc), is considered among the best films of all time.

Its depiction of the great French heroine who was burned at the stake in 1431 and later canonized is based on the actual record of Joan of Arc’s trial and execution. Noted for its stark realism and vivid close-ups, the film stars Renée Jeanne Falconetti, whose performance is often described as one of the finest in cinema history.

The Orlando Consort, one of Europe’s most expert and consistently challenging groups performing early music, brings the sound of the 15th century to life with live vocal music from such composers as Guillaume Dufay, Gilles Binchois and others to enhance the film’s startling imagery.

Music from composers as diverse as Nick Cave and J.S. Bach have been applied to The Passion of Joan of Arc, yet no one has provided a soundtrack of music from the period the film depicts. 

This is particularly surprising given how seriously the film takes its duty to history: Dreyer famously took dialog from Joan of Arc’s trial transcripts and painstakingly recreated locations.

For Voices Appeared: Silent Cinema and Medieval Music - The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Orlando Consort extends Dreyer’s impeccable precision. They have drawn repertoire from the first three decades of the 15th century and from the rich musical traditions of the three powers acting upon Joan of Arc, a French prisoner of the Burgundian Court at the behest of the English Crown.

Screening The Passion of Joan of Arc carries its own storied past. Dreyer’s original film negative was burned in a fire in 1928, leaving only a few copies in existence. Dreyer patched together a new version, which was destroyed in a fire in 1929.

As time went on, it became increasingly difficult to find copies of either version of the film as Dreyer intended it. For decades the only extant versions of the film were variations of Dreyer’s original cut that he did not create, nor did they meet his approval.

Then, in 1981, a copy of his original cut was improbably discovered in a janitor’s closet of a Norwegian mental institution.

Formed in 1988 in Great Britain, The Orlando Consort are the outstanding leaders of their field, combining captivating entertainment and fresh scholarly insight, unique imagination, original programming and superb vocal skills.

Their celebrated collaborations have included such diverse pairings as the jazz group Perfect Houseplants and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra.

They have performed more than 30 world premieres and have performed throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The Consort currently holds a residency at Nottingham University and recently debuted at Carnegie Hall. Selections from the Consort's impressive discography have been among The New York Times critics’ favorite classical CD releases, have twice won Early Music CDs of the Year by Gramophone Magazine and were short-listed for a BBC Music Magazine Award.

Click here to view a trailer for Voices Appeared.

Tickets are $30 for the general public and $9 for UCSB students with a valid I.D. For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805.893.3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

The Up Close & Musical series in Hahn Hall at the Music Academy of the West is sponsored by Dr. Bob Weinman and KCSB 91.9 FM.

UCSB Arts & Lectures gratefully acknowledges the generous support of SAGE for its major corporate support of the 2015-16 season.

Caitlin O'Hara is the senior writer and publicist for UCSB Arts & Lectures.


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