arts & entertainment
Jewish composer's oratorio accompanies acclaimed
silent film about Joan of Arc.
I Contributing Writer
the Middle Ages and shows the composer's
research in medieval chant.
A montage of Latin and ancient French
ichard Einhorn has visited
writings, the work is presented with
Michigan to hear the Rackham
Symphony Choir per-
"For a long time, I wanted
form Voices of Light, an orato-
to do a piece about a religious
rio he composed to accompany
subject, and someone sug-
Danish director Carl Dreyer's
gested Joan of Arc:' Einhorn,
1928 silent film La Passion de
60, recalls about the origin of
the oratorio for soloists, choir
The 1994 piece, to be
repeated with the film but
"I didn't like the idea origi-
without the composer's pres-
nally, but I came to be in the
ence, has been scheduled for
film archives of the Museum
March 22-23 at the Detroit
of Modern Art researching
Voices of L ight
another project and saw a
"I saw the Rackham Choir
notice of the silent movie.
years ago, and they did a
"I asked to screen the film
wonderful job with the work:'
and found it to be a mas-
comments Einhorn in a phone conversa-
terpiece of cinema. The performance of
tion from his New York home. "I had a
Renee Falconetti [as Joan] is one of the
great time being there.
best performances ever.
"I like that Voices of Light floats outside
"I became intrigued and decided to use
of time. If someone were to suddenly
it as inspiration for Voices of Light. Where
hear it, the first thought might be that the
Dreyer's movie has a lot about Joan of Arc's
music is medieval. If that person would
trials, my piece focuses on the rest of her
listen a little longer, the idea would be that life, from childhood through her career as
it doesn't move like medieval music, which a famous warrior and into her imprison-
throws it out of the time period.
"I worked hard to achieve that"
Joan of Arc, an illiterate young woman,
Voices of Light, sometimes referred to as led a French army against English occu-
opera with silent film, was recorded and
pation and eventually was martyred and
became a Billboard classical bestseller. It
canonized a saint. She claimed guidance by
is built around texts by women writers of
divine voices, an element in Einhorn's piece.
Special to the Jewish News
Opening on Friday, March 22, are
the feature films On the Road and
Road is based on the famous 1957
Jack Kerouac novel that became an
icon of the Beat Generation. The two
main characters (Sal Paradise and
Dean Moriarty) are thinly disguised
versions of Kerouac and his "muse,"
working-class hero Neal Cassady.
Along the way, they often hook up
with "Carlo Marx," a version of Beat
poet Allen Ginsberg.
based on the
novel of the same
name by Jean Hanff
March 21 • 2013
Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) makes a
recruiting visit to an alternative high
school run by John Pressman, a for-
mer college classmate (Paul Rudd,
43). Pressman has guessed that
Jeremiah, a gifted student of his,
might be the son that Nathan secret-
ly gave up for adoption. Nathan finds
herself putting her career at risk to
help Jeremiah get into Princeton.
Meanwhile, she finds herself falling
Wallace Shawn, 69, has a support-
ing role as Nathan's colleague, with
Lily Tomlin as Nathan's mother. Nat
Wolff, 18, the former co-star of the
kids show The Naked Brothers Band,
plays Jeremiah. The film is directed
by Paul Weitz (About a Boy), 47.
On The Tube
The excellent 2012 PBS documen-
tary Oscar Hammerstein II: Out of
My Dreams is being rerun by Detroit
Public Television-Channel 56 at 8
p.m. Friday, March 22.
Falconetti, a stage actress and later a
producer of light stage comedies, made
only this single movie. Of the film, the late
Jewish New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael,
wrote, "One of the greatest of all mov-
ies ... no other film has so subtly linked
eroticism with religious persecution.
Falconetti's Joan may be the finest perfor-
mance ever recorded on film"
Einhorn, who composes at the comput-
er, has not worked with other silent films.
He has composed for 16 feature films,
including Arthur Penn's Dead of Winter,
and a number of PBS documentaries.
Special projects have inspired other
types of composing, including opera,
orchestral and chamber music, song cycles
and dance scores.
Einhorn, who decided on his career
while preparing electronic music for a
multimedia group in high school, received
formal training at Columbia University.
After working as a record producer, he
started composing film music and left pro-
duction for freelance composition.
"Ever since Voices of Light, I've concen-
trated less on film music and more on my
own projects:' says Einhorn, who has writ-
ten The Origin, an opera/oratorio based on
the work and life of Charles Darwin.
"I'm working on a piece for the a cap-
pella singing group Anonymous 4 and a
couple of works for the [post-classical]
string quartet Ethel.
The composer, active with the nonaf-
Musical theater notables who
worked with Hammerstein are inter-
viewed, including director Harold
Prince, 85, and composer Stephen
Sondheim, 82. Oscar Hammerstein
II was the son of a Jewish father and
a Christian mother and was raised in
his mother's faith. While not religious
as an adult, he never identified as a
Jew. Still, he lived his life in a very
Jewish milieu: Most of his colleagues
were Jewish, including his two main
composing partners, Jerome Kern
and Richard Rodgers.
Also, as explored in the film, he
had an intense loathing for any form
of discrimination and risked much to
make racial prejudice a theme in South
Pacific. By the way, some of his grand-
children, via his son Jamie and Jamie's
Jewish wife, are practicing Jews.
Nobody ever called rock music pro-
ducer and songwriter Phil Spector,
now 73, "nice." This is, after all, a guy
who pulled guns on John Lennon and
Leonard Cohen and was convicted of
Renee Falconetti as Joan of Arc in Carl
Dreyer's 1928 silent-film masterpiece,
La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc
filiated synagogue B'nai Jeshurun in New
York City, has been approached to do an
opera in Poland, where the setting would
be the Holocaust.
Einhorn and his wife, journalist Amy
Singer, have one daughter, who is think-
ing about attending the University of
Michigan. He is the designated cook in the
"Cooking is like composing music:'
he says. "You get some ingredients, put
them together and try to make something
delicious. Composers, working with 12
notes, also hope to develop something
The Detroit Film Theatre at the
Detroit Institute of Arts presents
Voices of Light this weekend. A
dress rehearsal takes place at 8 p.m.
Friday, March 22 ($18); the regular
performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday,
March 23 ($25). (313) 833-4005;
murder in 2009. Spector's murder
trial is the subject of the HBO original
film The Bottom Line, premiering on
Sunday, March 24, at 9 p.m. Written
and directed by David Mamet, 65, it
stars Al Pacino as Spector and Helen
Mirren as his defense attorney.
Also on HBO is the Oscar-
nominated documentary short Kings
Point, a look at the darker side of life
in the Sunshine State and its resi-
dents' very real concerns about aging
and relationships. The film is directed
by Sari Gilman, whose grandmother
was a resident of Kings Point for 30
years; Gilman spent 10 years working
on the documentary.
The film screens at
4:30 p.m. Friday, 7:35
a.m. Saturday, and
6:15 p.m. Sunday,
March 22-24, on HBO
East and is available
On Demand until