The Dream Engine : Arena Stage 1972
Funding request letter by producer Zelda Fichandler, Labor Day 1971. Page 4.
Text (continued from previous page):
Bernard Krouse and Parasound, Inc.
Bernard Krouse is coming in from California with his engineer on Friday, having already studied our architectural drawings and drawings of our sound systems. He will go over with us a sound system designed for the use of rock: the system would be useable in the Kreeger, in the Arena, in any auditorium seating up to 3,000.
It is a system that, desirably, we should own, for it would enable us to continue to produce in the rock field and thereby attract young audiences as well as commission or present works in the areas of music and sound.
It is possible that the system will be purchased by the New York producer of The Dream Engine, in which case we would have use of it only for this production. We are also investigating possibilities of buying the system ourselves.
The bulk of the cost of the system is in the speakers, which must be powerful in order to maintain quality and clarity while putting out loud sound. And in the mikes.
The experimental part of the system is the cheapest part of it.
This component is a quadrophonic mixing board. It would be used in the Kreeger as an adjunct to what we already have. (It also is portable and could be used in the Arena or other auditoria). This board has been used in TV and radio broadcasting before and also for the production of records. But never before has it been used in live performances.
It requires a man operating a small board, seated in the middle of the house, who can mix the sound “in the field.” Its objectives are: its capacities are: 1) to move the sound around in space (for example, pick up a moan or a word of a tribe member and travel it or locate it somewhere not on the stage but in the auditorium) 2) embrace the audience with sound which is balanced at all points and 3) focus sound between singers and band and special pre-taped effects and Moog Synthesizer so that there is control over the whole system: all elements of the sound can be balanced out in the desired combination at any given moment.
In simple language, as I understand it from my phone conversation with Krouse, and which will become clearer on Friday: the singers can be heard, the band can be heard, the chants and the sound of the tribe can emanate from any place in the auditorium, control is not achieved by playing “louder” or “softer” but by the quad mixing.
What happened at Amherst - people read the lyrics off of mimeoed sheets because they couldn't hear them from the stage - wouldn't happen with a quadraphonic mixing board. The lyrics would have the clarity they have on a record. And, in Jim's piece, as I wrote above, the lyrics have the quality of poetry.
The brochure from Parasound, Inc. didn't get here by today, Monday. Briefly, who they are: Parasound, Inc. is five years old. Run by Bernard Krouse and Paul Beaver. Beals with the creation and the art of sound in a number of areas: design and sale of professional audio equipment, Krouse and Beaver are recording artists as performers for Warner Brothers, are a record production company for Warner Brothers, have done 110 major film scores in the past two years, have worked for the Beatles and the Stones, have worked commercially in radio and TV, have been consultants (as with Jim Steinman and us), and are also a publishing company. Their interest in this project is partly experimental since the quadraphonic board has never before been used with a live performance. (I wanted to attach an article about it from Village Voice but couldn't get hold of it in time). They also were turned on by Jim's work; it was Jim who put us in touch with them.
This is still in the exploration phase. We may put together our own group out of musicians that Jim and Dick Pearlman know.
It is hoped that Michael Kamen will do the arrangements, be the keyboard man, and stay through the workshop, rehearsal, and performance periods. But our meeting with him is not until tomorrow or Wednesday, so those details have not yet been pinned down.
The arrangements will evolve, such as the tribal movement, speech and singing will evolve, on an improvisational basis. And it will be necessary for the rock musicians to work closely with Falco, Jim, and Pearlman as well as with the tribe in deriving a “score” for the piece. . . . While most of the songs are written, there are no arrangements.
What we need
(see next page)