In a Nelleke Koop film, Livingston portrays Fred Astaire.
In a Nelleke Koop film, Livingston portrays Fred Astaire. Nelleke Koop
One Minute More is available for purchase at Amazon.com.
Courtesy of the artist
Guy Livingston asked Dutch filmmakers Nelleke Koop, Juan de Graaf, Newt Hinton, Menno Otten and Thijs Schreuder to create short films for his collection of 60-second music pieces.
Guy Livingston asked Dutch filmmakers Nelleke Koop, Juan de Graaf, Newt Hinton, Menno Otten and Thijs Schreuder to create short films for his collection of 60-second music pieces. Courtesy of the artist
Years ago, a pianist named Guy Livingston came into NPR's Studio 4A, sat down at the piano, and performed for host Lynn Neary. But he didn't play for long.
Each piece was around 60 seconds. For his album Don't Panic! 60 Seconds for Piano, he commissioned dozens of composers to write short vignettes. One composer even notated a 21-second prance across the piano keys by his cat.
Livingston has since taken the idea into the multimedia age: He commissioned five Dutch filmmakers to add a visual dimension to all the pieces, resulting in a total of 60 films. The result is a new DVD called One Minute More.
In an interview with host Liane Hansen, Livingston says that while the time constraints were novel to composers, it was a natural fit for filmmakers.
"What is the funny paradox here is that the filmmakers were much more used to that," Livingston says. "If you've ever filmed a commercial, or even thought about filming one, 30 seconds might be a good length. So for the filmmakers, in a way, the conceptual leap was easier to take."
Livingston says that the compositions themselves emphasize varying perceptions of time.
"The music is being forced into an unreasonable constraint, and then that makes everybody think about time in a different way, and try to mark the passing of time in different ways," he says. "And some of it moves forward very, very, very hard and very, very, very quickly, and with a huge, high velocity. And other stuff moves in an extremely slow manner. And yet — the slow piece might seem much shorter."