By Jeremy Eichler, Globe Staff | May 7, 2007
“The story of Daedalus, the mythic master-inventor who fashioned the labyrinth of the minotaur and a fateful pair of wings for his own son Icarus, has not tempted nearly as many composers over time as the tale of Orpheus. But it is a myth with ample resonance in an age that places great faith in our ability to control and manipulate nature through science and technology. Are we slowly learning to master each of nature's puzzles, or is our yearning for mastery itself a kind of hubris that dooms us to failure?
These at least are the themes explored by "The Puzzle Master," a complex and entrancing multi media oratorio with a haunting score composed by Eric Chasalow and a libretto by the poet F.D. Reeve. The work had its premiere performances this weekend at the Laurie Theater at Brandeis University as part of the Boston Cyberarts Festival….
…Behind all of this was a video by Denise Marika, projected onto a screen covered with vertical two-by-fours that were removed in the final scene. The video imagery was often unsettling and opaque, sometimes evocative and sometimes simply disturbing. Close-ups of the human body from odd angles or engaged in mysterious activities, abstract images processed as if through a paper shredder, and in the final scene, as Chasalow's music rises to its most ethereal, Marika presents the haunting image of a presumed corpse in a body bag tumbling with painful slowness down a long staircase….”
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