VisionIntoArt (VIA) Scores Triumph with The Colorado, Both Live and on Recording
VisionIntoArt (VIA) scored a decisive critical triumph this spring with The Colorado. At its world and New York premieres, the groundbreaking new music-driven eco-documentary proved “captivating and unsettling,” its music sometimes “outright gorgeous” (New York Times), while VIA Records’ soundtrack recording was named Q2’s Album of the Week.
With original music by Pulitzer Prize laureate John Luther Adams, William Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova (formerly Worden), and VIA founder and Visionary-in-Chief Paola Prestini; a script by conservationist and Pulitzer Prize-finalist William deBuys; editing by David Sarno; direction by Murat Eyuboglu; and cinematography by Emmy Award-winner Sylvestre Campe, The Colorado takes its audience on an ecological, historical, and sociological exploration of the Colorado River Basin that represents the first in a series of multimedia projects designed to foster better understanding and stewardship of the environment. The project premiered at Houston’s Da Camera and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the film – complete with recorded narration by Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance – accompanied live accounts of its exhilarating score from Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Avery Fisher Prize-winning cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, and composer-percussionist Glenn Kotche, who live scored and improvised during the narration. Click here to see the trailer for The Colorado.
The Houston Chronicle welcomed the opportunity to see “a living interactive performance of a striking, thoughtful and cautionary piece of art.” Likewise, the New York Times found:
“The mix of documentary film, live performance and call to activism worked unexpectedly well, maintaining a delicate balance between didactic drive and meditative awe.”
The review explained,
“[In] this visually captivating and unsettling film, … the music – commissioned from five composers and performed by some of the most innovative soundsmiths around – is specifically tailored to the film’s passionate environmental advocacy and carries equal weight with the visual.”
Singling out Prestini’s “ethereal blend of Mexican Baroque music and otherworldly ululations” and Adams’s evocation of “a timelessness and mystery that was beyond mourning,” the journal went on to declare the best of the music “outright gorgeous.”
WQXR agreed. When The Colorado’s soundtrack was released on May 13 by VIA Records, the radio station selected it as Q2’s “Music Album of the Week,” observing:
“The result is an album so energized by the possibilities of contemporary music-making that it practically glows in the dark. … [The Colorado] hangs together, in part due to the tone of wide-eyed – but always clear-eyed – wonder that winds through the album like the titular river, and in part due to the remarkable palette of sounds that the team of performers is able to create.”
Next season, VIA looks forward to celebrating Earth Day by presenting the West Coast premiere of The Colorado in Stanford University’s “Stanford Live” series (April 17), besides publishing a full-length textbook of approximately 400 pages to accompany the project. Corresponding to the film section by section, with original text, timelines, maps, photographs and videos, this educational resource will be available both in an art book-style print edition and as a state-of-the-art website.