With their electrifying interpretations of classical music, it could be said that Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe four-handedly set the keyboard on fire. Literally.
At the end of their new musical video, a wild, 36-minute re-interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” they do ignite the instrument, pounding the keys even as they melt and the Gothic instrument goes up in flames.
Secretly, both were hoping not to get burned by the fire of their own performance.
The pair set out to create a re-interpretation of Stravinsky’s classic ballet that would honor the radicalism and shock value of the piece, which premiered in 1913 to a riotous reception of outrage from the staid Parisian crowd.
“The audience was booing and screaming and they weren’t able to finish the performance because the narrative is so shocking and dramatic,” Anderson said.
But over a century it lost its ability to shake up a hall. People now receive it quietly.
“As we were making the video, we were looking at the spirit of the original music and finding a way to bring that back to life, he said. That’s why we made it so fiery and wet in the end.”
Their film is a dissonant dream of visions from clouds to urban streetscapes. At one point they even dragged the piano into the ocean, wildly playing while knee-deep in crashing surf.
“The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey,” premieres Sept. 19 at the Wine Country Film Festival. Shown under the stars at Deerfield Ranch with a live piano performance by the Billboard-topping piano duo, the film is one of the centerpieces of the 60-film festival, which plays over five days outdoors and within the cave at Deerfield, as well as on screens set up at several tasting rooms in the Kenwood Village center.
Other highlights include a yet-to-be released theatrical film called “The Intern,” a comedy with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, a documentary about Dorothea Lange called “Grab a Hunk of Lightning” created by the photographer’s granddaughter Dyanna Taylor, and “The Poet of Havana” a portrait of the Cuban poet/songwriter Carlos Varela.
“The Rite of Spring” will show on the main screen, a full 36-by-14 foot high professional theatrical screen with a perforated surface so the sound from rear speakers comes through in the right orientation and places, said Steve Ashton, the founder and director of the 29-year-old film festival.
“Because it’s just so perfectly edited and executed and visually conceived, it is a feast for the eyes,” Ashton said of the film, which Anderson and Roe conceived, directed, filmed and performed themselves with limited assistance.
“The ultimate goal was to not to be sensationalistic, but to bring to life the incredible audacity of the music,” said Roe, who is now based in Southern California after spending two years as artist-in-residence at Sonoma State University. “‘The Rite of Spring’ remains one of the most revolutionary and scintillating pieces of music. We wanted to speak to the timeless boldness and innovation of it.”
Written as a ballet for The Ballet Ruse, the piece ends with a shocking ritual Pagan sacrifice of a virgin who literally dances herself to death.
Roe said she and Anderson wanted to put the piece in a more universal context.
“Sacrifice can take on many forms in human existence,” she said. In a way, the piano becomes an object of sacrifice. It presents the kind of materialistic values a consumerist society takes on.”
Luther Burbank Rose Parade winners
Antique or classic auto; Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
Band, elementary school: Rincon Valley Royals
Band, middle school: Hillcrest Middle School
Band, high school: Rancho Cotate High School
Band, out of county high school: Compton High School
Band, non-school: The Remedies, presented by Sutter Health
Color guard, adult: Santa Rosa Police Department
Costume group, adult: Dan Gighaus Elvis impersonator
Costume group, youth: Franklin Park Co-Op Preschool
Cultural dance: Cesar Chavez Ballet Folklorico
Cultural, other display: Sons of Italy
Costume heritage: Santa Rosa Rural Cemetary
Drill team, elementary: Strawberry School
Drill team, high school: Montgomery High School
Drum major, elementary: Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School
Drum major, middle school: Rincon Valley Charter
Drum major, high school: Elsie Allen High School
Flag team, elementary: Hidden Valley Elementary
Flag team, middle school: Hillcrest Middle School
Flag team, high school: Rancho Cotate High School
Float, commercial: Friedman's Home Improvement
Float, nonprofit: Sonoma County Fair
Mace drum major, high school: Rancho Cotate High School
Military or veterans group: Marine Corps League Det. 686
Mounted authentic novelty: The Mask of Zorro
Mounted group: Rancho La Potranca/Ignacio Manzo
Pooper scooper: The Mask of Zorro
Novelty group, commercial: Santa Rosa Gymnastics Center
Novelty group, nonprofit: Sonoma County Library
Unit ID, elementary: Hidden Valley Elementary
Unit ID, middle school: Hillcrest Middle School
Unit ID, high school: Rancho Cotate High School
Henry Trione Award: Best Overall Equestrian Entry: The Mask of Zorro
Best Tribute to Luther Burbank: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
Best Use of Color: Cesar Chavez Language Academy & Ballet Folklorico
Best Use of Roses: LandPaths
Best Use of Theme: Friedman's Home Improvement
Thomas P Keegan Award: Best Entry Using Local History: Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery
Sweepstakes Award, Best Unit in the Parade: Sonoma County Fair
John Bugbee Memorial Perpetual Trophy, best county high school entry: Rancho Cotate High School