Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


Video of this and another of Francis Schwartz's pieces received with thanks May 2003.

Francis Schwartz is a genial composer of anarchic music-theatre events whose company we enjoyed at the ISCM Music Days in Luxembourg:-

- - It took Francis Schwartz, an American composer and noted 'polyartist', to open the windows on this occasion to let in a breath of fresh air. For his Daimon II the performers had to communicate through body language beyond their particular musical instruments. Rhythmic audible breathing, clapping and stamping added to the sound picture. Grimacing, including silent screaming, made us aware that what is not articulated in a given context is as important as what is worked out explicitly and audibly. The audience was drawn into the performance by Joel Sachs, encouraged to participate with loud breathing and noisy stamping. Even in its limited way (we remained rather decorous and muted) this was liberating. Schwarz had opened the door as if to say 'we are here, come in and have some fun. It is not all doom and gloom inside this ivory dungeon!' This work also leads one to question classical music's staid conventions, or rituals, of audiences sitting silently in rows, immobile and passively receiving earfuls of sound. - - (AW)

Flutist-dancer Ulla Suokko strangling the composer Francis Schwartz

"Composer Francis Schwartz's terrifying music drama "Mad Lady Macbeth" will be the closing work of the 2003 Roaring Hooves Festival, in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on Saturday, June 21, 2003.
This powerful piece of instrumental theater was premiered in January of this year on the prestigious New York Flute Club Series by the notable Finnish flutist Ulla Suokko.

Originally conceived to include a public bathing in blood dropped from the theater rafters during the section celebrating the murder of innocents, the composer withdrew this production element alleging that the world was already covered with too much blood and that he preferred to communicate the horror of homicide in a less graphic manner.

Ulla Suokko, one of the finest new music interpreters on the world scene today, commissioned "Mad Lady Macbeth" and will take it on tour during the 2004 season.

The Roaring Hooves Festival is now considered a world class event which features leading musical ensembles from around the world."


© Peter Grahame Woolf