Date Of Production
Byron completed the film Les Preludes in 1973. This film is a “musical” set to the symphonic piece, “Les Preludes” by Franz Liszt. As per Byron, it is a quintessential imagist film comprised of many scenes of manipulated color, multiple exposures, smooth camera movement, and seemingly unrelated images. There are references in the film to such diverse works as “Les Chants de Maldoror,” an early Surrealist literary novel by Comte de Lautrémont, and the Flash Gordon serials starring Buster Crabbe. This is Byron’s first “musical,” later followed by To Joy, his second musical completed in 1992.
While working at Douglas Film Lab, Byron experimented with making a copy of a given sequence, then copying the copy, copying the copy of the copy, and so forth, to exaggerate the color contrast. The opening sequence of the film, featuring Byron’s daughter, Abigail, walking through a flower garden in Les Preludes, is made in this way.
At the film’s screening in 1974, Byron met John Luther, head of the film program at the SAIC. John hired Byron based on the public performance of Les Preludes in the museum’s auditorium which was attended by many of Byron’s former students from the Chicago Academy of Fine Art (who applauded the film wildly).
16 min 3 sec
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