Commentary and Reviews
“And Beethoven Heard Nothing”, October 23-24, 2010
“IT IS ONE OF THE BEST WORKS I HAVE EVER SEEN.”
- Constance Cooke, Director/ChoreographerVictoria School of Contemporary Dance
“And Beethoven Heard Nothing” , May 12, 2010
At its base, “And Beethoven Heard Nothing” is a structured improvisation by Victoria’s LaSam that uses Beethoven’s deafness as an occasion to meditate on individual experiences of tinnitus and hearing loss, specifically focusing on how these episodes relate to listening, performing, and conceptualizing music. In some ways, the final result of LaSam’s production is the exact opposite of what Beethoven has come to represent, substituting a haunting inevitability for the latter’s famous dramatic drive. And yet, might there not be a special and specific truth to this? Surrounded by dancing shadows that strain to speak in every way imaginable—instrumental squawks and moans, melodic fragments, multilingual vocalizations, projected historical relics, electronic and physical spatializations, and even the internal machinations of our own ears—the listener hears a tract of time that contextualizes Beethoven work. In this, LaSam finds a breadth that lends breath where the individual symphonies would shout, so that we are led away from the Romantic pathos that has made a caricature of the human being named Beethoven, and towards a deeper empathy for the inexorability of his progressive deafness…a painful progression that LaSam’s work suggests—to my ears—looms close by for all of us who value our hearing in a culture that relentlessly attacks our ears.