Houdini: Memories of a Conjurer

Instrumentation: Cello, piano, percussion
Duration: 55:00
Commission: Core Ensemble
Premiere: 1/23/2000
Core Ensemble with Demetrius Klein
Portsmouth Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH

Program Note:
Houdini: Memories of a Conjurer pioneers a new cross-discipline genre, combining chamber music, theatre, and movement. It features the voice-over of a radio play, the visual action of silent film, and a concert all rolled into one. The action is set in a theatre that Houdini breaks into the night before his comeback after the traumatic death of his beloved mother. The show is built around his intense relationship with her and touches on many aspects of the American immigrant experience. The action includes his comeback preparations, including a number of exciting escape acts, with movement performed by award-winning dancer Demetrius Klein as Houdini. Shatin’s kaleidoscopic original score, composed for Core Ensemble’s instrumentation of cello, piano, percussion, and electronics acts as a psychological partner to the action. The music comments on the narration, and also features chamber music ranging from klezmer-inspired pieces to a lighthearted Presto inspired by magic tricks. The music for Houdini: Memories of a Conjurer is also available in a standalone version as a variable-length suite (7:00-16:00) for cello, piano, and percussion. –JS

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