Strangely Elated

2018 | 17'  

Commissioned by Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble
for orchestra and electronics

2(I=picc II=afl).2(II=ca).2(II=bcl).2(II=cbsn) - - perc - hp - strings


Strangely Elated is based on the life and work of Canadian experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett (1936-1986). Lipsett was a director of short, avant-garde films who used montage and found-footage to create immaculately edited works of incisive, satire: hyperreal portraits of society juxtaposed to reveal the beauty, comedy and depravity of contemporary life. Lipsett led a tragic, too-short life; at the age of ten he witnessed his own mother’s suicide and, suffering from psychological problems of increasing severity, he took his own life at the age of 49.

Lipsett’s films have an agile, almost improvisatory nature to their structure, but were often precisely planned with detailed outlines and sketches. These outlines are in and of themselves works of art and they show the intense level of thematic and structural preplanning which went into Lipsett’s work. Strangely Elated is based on Lipsett's intricate outline for his 1977 film N-Zone. This particular outline references Lipsett’s friend and colleague, the Canadian photographer John Max (1936-2011). Strangely Elated incorporates audio recordings of Max speaking which are drawn from Michel Lamothe’s excellent 2010 documentary film, John Max, A Portrait.