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Transfigured Night: CD-ROM Review
By Joseph E. Romero

PARIS - Based on Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht, Danish multimedia author Michael Petersen's CD-ROM Transfigured Night is a clear conceptual departure from what even the most serious CD-ROM publishers have produced until now. Exquisitely animated, erudite and appealing in the brevity of its texts, Transfigured Night has none of that agressive noisiness heard on so many CD-ROMs. Emphasis is on a veritable aural and visual contemplation of the score, Richard Dehmel's poem which inspired the music and Kandinsky's painting Composition VII which fell under the spell of Arnold Schoenberg. Petersen's use of Autodesk animation, although two dimensional, looks like 3 D and creates a strong sense of environment.His work moves away from the linear aspect of most CD-ROMs, creating little episodes where a line of poetry turns into animated music which then becomes a mirror image of itself.

It is fun even if you can not read music. Because color intensity is closely linked to the continuous visual and sound transformations, the work has a suitably "dreamlike" texture, consistent with Schoenberg's score. While the aesthetic approach is 100% Northern European, intellectually deft, albeit elitist, and will certainly come as a surprise to most American CD-ROM publishers, one cannot help but notice the odd clin d'oeil to Disney's musical animation. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe plays Verklärte Nacht (original sextet version) cohesively under the attentive ear of Michael Petersen. Incidentally, the author wouldn't think of boring his audience with a quizz at the end. Transfigured Night is available in English, French, German and Japanese.

Transfigured Night: a CD ROM by Michael Petersen

Sony Electronic Publishing Company

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