COMPOSER GARY NOLAND'S MAGNUM OPUS IN PROGRESS: VENGE ART
Venge Art is a multi-fascicle “chamber novel” for narrator, musicians, actors, dancers, and culinary artists. Having a projected duration of over 150 hours, it consists of a six-fascicle proem in the form of a pseudo-essay that can be delivered as a series of lectures, and 124 chapters of fiction in the form of a novel. It contains over 300,000 words, over 500 pages of conventionally notated music, more than 230 drawings consisting mostly of semi-abstract pen-and-inks and comix that function as graphic notation, plus performance instructions and legends that explicate symbologies and other devices incorporated into the text as improvisational cues, stage directions, chance operations, and so forth. I call Venge Art a “chamber novel” because it is designed to be read as a “novel” or performed as “chamber music.” I am in the process of releasing this work one fascicle at a time (each of approximately 35 to 90 minutes duration) and anticipate as many as 75 fascicles over the next fifteen-or-so years, if I can survive that long.
The story itself is an epic farce. Its plot parodizes almost every conceivable fiction genre and embodies all the elements routinely calculated to sustain a reader’s (or auditor’s) interest, to wit: Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Murder, Detection, Tangled Webs of Intrigue, and (as its title strongly suggests) Revenge. It is a story with multiple protagonists, all of whose paths intertwine, and many of whom possess differing—albeit seemingly authoritative—interpretations of events that motivate their actions. The plot itself (which is Byzantine, to say the least) may be likened to the types of optical illusions one encounters in M.C. Escher drawings insofar as everything that transpires on the local level has its own logic but looks impossible when viewed from a distance. It is easy to be persuaded by the “integrity” of certain characters, but even the “heroes” of this novel are not without their foibles. Many of the characters are of doubtful sanity or, at best, paranoid and self-deluding—factors which are not always obvious to unvigilant readers and/or auditors.
I have designed this work to be realizable within the constraints of any available budget. It may be read as a “monopologue” by a solitary reciter or it may be performed by a symphony orchestra, full chorus, dance and mime troupes, theater companies, and chefs de cuisine flown in from the finest hotels worldwide. It may be prepared for performance with numerous rehearsals or with none whatsoever. Venge Art is the offspring of my Herculean efforts to find a happy reconciliation between my musical pursuits as a composer, my visual artistic pursuits as an abstract artist and cartoonist, and my literary pursuits as a novelist—a conflict of interests that has given birth to an unprecedented form I call the “chamber novel.”
REVIEWS AND QUOTES (VENGE ART)
“… an extraordinary work …” —George Plimpton, founder and editor, The Paris Review
“The other Seventh Species musicians joined Noland on part one of this excerpt [Fascicle #1] last time, and it proved to be one of the wittiest and wildest performances of new music I’ve encountered.…Teeming with Borroughsian and Joycean punnery (narrated by Maddox), wry comments on the state of 20th century music composition, and splashes of colorful music from various instruments and objects, this ambitious extravaganza is pretty well indescribable yet well worth experiencing, especially if you bring your sense of humor along.”—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly
“Eugene-based composer GARY NOLAND delivers a feast for thought in banquet-size portions that would take a week-long festival to consume in entirety—a magnum opus beyond comprehension, to be sure, a movable feast for the ear and mind; whatever musical ingredients are at hand get seized and thrown by the bucketful into the stew that is Venge Art; years in the making and many more before fully realized, the concoction is well on its way to attaining mythical stature, not unlike the vat and loaf that multiplied to feed a multitude, seemingly without end”
—Jackie T. Gabel, North Pacific Music
“As before, the finale, another excerpt from Noland’s mischievous magnum opus, Venge Art, brought most of the musicians on stage to interject musical accents (often twisted quotes of famous music) while Maddox narrated a satirical monologue that started with the Unabomber’s comments on modern music and proceeded to skewer pedants, ‘cacademic [queerial] composers, [die-heroic] deflections of Hollyweird and Oddway composers,’ and other ripe sausage of pop culture and 20th century music.…funny…engaging.”—Brett Campbell, Eugene Weekly
“… Massive … mammoth”—The Eugene Register Guard
“… Frank Zappa kicking Phillip Glass’s ass …”—Brent Williams, Barbati’s Pan, Portland, Oregon
“...lots of cleverness, a clearly sophisticated culture and literate intelligence at work and an undoubted talent.”
—Joseph Fennimore, composer