By Adrian Curtin (auth.)
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Extra info for Avant-Garde Theatre Sound: Staging Sonic Modernity
It provides the principal means by which the symbolic dimension is made manifest (notso-subtly signaled by scything references). Death cannot be seen in the play; rather it is audibly intuited by the silences it ostensibly enacts. It operates through the modality of imagined sound: sonic phenomena the characters think are malevolent and portentous. ) in their heads but in the phenomenal (or supernatural) world. This is the play’s conceit and provocation. As the intruder steals toward 38 AV A N T - G A R D E T H E A T R E S O U N D its victim, the play’s sound world shrinks to encompass their immediate vicinity.
Maeterlinck, whom Khnopff greatly admired, wrote an essay on the subject of silence in which he argues for the importance of cultivating silence for the purpose of personal and spiritual development. Maeterlinck describes “the essential silence of our soul, our most inviolable sanctuary” that mere words cannot express, and distinguishes between “passive” silence, which has a negative connotation (“the shadow of sleep, of death or non-existence . . ”28 Maeterlinck treasures this form of silence and urges his reader to appreciate it in kind.
Absolute music encourages listeners to become enraptured by sound, swept up in musical fantasy. 4). Khnopff ’s portrait, which is of his mother, shows a woman in proﬁle, dressed in black, sitting upright in a living-room armchair, her right hand held to her brow and obscuring her face, its thumb pointing toward her ear, her left hand resting on her lap. She sits with her back to the pianist (cf. Stein’s proclamation), whose right hand is shown, and appears to have withdrawn into herself entirely.
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