B(ee) Movie

An avant-garde duet for marimba and cello, accompanying a video by Ann Steuemagel.

Lansing McLoskey (b.1964) came to the world of composition via a somewhat unorthodox route. The proverbial "Three B's" for him were not Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but rather The Beatles, Bauhaus and Black Flag.

Written for NYC based duo Odd Appetite (Ha-Yang Kim, cello and Nathan Davis, percussion), B(ee) Movie is an avant-garde duet written to accompany a video by Ann Steuemagel.

Click to view the accompanying video. (DVD of video included with scores)

“B(ee) Movie” is a 5-minute cello and marimba duet paired with video by Ann Steuernagel. Drone-like instrumental parts provide a backdrop for a simple yet intriguing film; brief shots of a single beekeeper and beehive, interspersed with longer scenes of a person swimming in a pool. While sometimes the cello and marimba parts portray the images (e.g., cellist making buzzing sounds, undulating water-like patterns on the marimba), overall, the two are just lovely companions, each with independent beauty and artistic integrity, whether or not the listener chooses to search for correlations. Lansing McLoskey’s title does not do justice to the depth of this piece; his score immerses the listener, enabling a deeper experience of both the music and the film.

This short, captivating work would be a great first piece for perfomers interested in using fixed media, as the parts are simple enough that performers can focus on syncing with each other and the film. While the minimalist music is not technically challenging, performance will require intentional communication between the two players, as well as in-depth study of both performing parts and the accompanying video. McLoskey enables a successful performance by having both players read from an annotated score with timestamps corresponding to the film, as well as providing a very helpful timeline illustrating how major events in the film line up with the performing parts. The composer recommends that performers be “very familiar with the film and have a video monitor in front of them that they can follow during the performance.”

-Rebecca McDaniel, Percussive Notes, May 2019



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