This is the first commerical release of John Cage’s Variations V, from the legendary studio production made by NDR German Television, Hamburg, in 1967. It marks an early pinnacle in recorded Cage/Cunningham collaborations, and is one of the few available films of a Cunningham Dance Company performance from the 1960s. With music for an orchestra of electronic soundproducers by John Cage performed by Cage with David Tudor and Gordon Mumma to choreography by Merce Cunningham performed by Cunningham and The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, films by Stan van der Beek, and Robert Moog and technicians from Bell Laboratories developing the unique electronic “antennae” which trigger sounds as the dancers move about them — Variations V is an interactive multi-media event.
'Variations V' (1965) NDR-Hamburg German Television version 1966 (mono, PCM audio) with introduction by Hansjörg Pauli. Musicians: John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma. Choreography: Merce Cunningham. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company: Merce Cunningham, Carolyn Brown, Barbara Lloyd, Sandra Neels, Albert Reid, Peter Saul, Gus Solomons, Jr. Filmed Projections & Visual Effects: Stan VanDerBeek and Nam June Paik. Lighting: Beverly Emmons. Directed for Film by Arne Arnbom. 'Variations V' (1965) Paris version 1966 (stereo, PCM audio only). Musicians: John Cage, David Tudor and Gordon MummaVariations V reflects the experimentation and spirit of the 1960s - a collaborative, interactive multi-media event with choreographed dance, elaborate mobile decor, variable lighting, multiple film projection, and live-electronic music often activated by the dancers' movements. Filmed in 1966 at the NDR television studio in Hamburg, Germany, it is historically important as one of the few available films of a Cunningham Dance Company performance from the 1960s and the first commercial release of Variations V.As the dancers performed on stage, their movements interacted with twelve antennas built by Robert Moog and a set of photocells designed by Bell Labs research scientist Billy Klüver in such a way as to trigger the transmission of sounds to a 50-channel mixer whose output was heard from six speakers around the hall. The actual sound sources - a battery of tape recorders and radios - were supervised by Cage, David Tudor and Gordon Mumma. The mise-en-scène was supplemented by a film collage by Stan VanDerBeek that included processed television images by Nam June Paik and footage of the dancers shot by VanDerBeek during rehearsals. 157 minutes of video and music.Bonus features: ¥ A complete stereo recording of the Paris 1966 performance of Variations V (PCM audio, no video, 40 minutes).¥ Cunningham Dance Company's archivist David Vaughan interviews some of the dancers from the original production - Carolyn Brown (40 minutes), and Sandra Neels with Gus Solomons Jr. (30 minutes) - about the production, working with Cage and Cunningham, and touring in the 1960s.¥ 12-page book with essays by Rob Haskins and Gordon Mumma plus archival photos.