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Evelyn Glennie Touch the Sound
A Sound Journey Film by Thomas Riedelsheimer

Signum Vision SIGDVD006

This is a remarkable film, impossible to not enjoy and admire, difficult to describe in words.

Thomas Riedelsheimer is a special photographer/film maker, with an eye that selects and maximises the impact of his images.

The subject is Dame Evelyn Glennie, a famously exceptional musician and percussionist, whose response to deafness is at the root of her self discovery and special place in the world; she feels music with the whole of her body whereas the rest of us think we hear it with our ears - an oversimplification and misconception, so she believes and explains.

World wide 'percussion travels' are underpinned with improvised CD recording sessions in a derelict sugar factory warehouse. However good that resultant CD may be, made with her new collaborator Fred Frith - "not only a skewed pop genius and fearless improviser, but a remarkably empathetic soundtrack composer as well" (All Music Guide), this visual examination of complete freedom goes far beyond what can be experienced in sound alone.

My link above takes you to a duet by Glennie herself ("Prayer") towards the end of this film, which shows Frith adept with what can be done with a guitar besides playing it normally. A meditative piece, being recorded in that warehouse, it cannot represent the musical richness and vitality of this whole film, which gives a picture of Glennie's international lifestyle* and ceaseless explorations of the world and of herself in her late thirties.

The 23 mins "extra" gives us great illumination about the creation of this remarkable document, a feeling for the world of Thomas Riedelsheimer, and especially his explaining with candour his difficulty with 'free improvisation" in having to come to terms with a situation which, by its nature, he cannot control.

The (anonymous) introduction in the booklet expresses the whole venture so well that it should not be paraphrased.

Recommended with greatest enthusiasm; Signum Vision is fast becoming an essential label for unique and innovative music DVDs. See Musical Pointers' welcome to those of Tony Britten's Falstaff and the King's Singers; a radical Boheme soon to follow.

Peter Grahame Woolf

New York, USA
Cologne, Germany
CD Recording 1
Feeling Sound
Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Teaching to Feel Sound
Digital Displays
Cambridgeshire, UK
Rooftop Performance
Fuji City, Japan
CD Recording 2
Bar Performance
Rock Garden
Silence and Sound
CD Recording 3
Glennie Farm
CD Recording 4
New York, Lakeside
Santa Cruz, USA
We Are Sound