The March 28-30 concert at the Schermerhorn has inspired one of the best-looking pieces of program art we've seen recently. Sam Smith, aka Sam's Myth, is the Scene-approved graphic artist and Ben Folds-approved drummer responsible for the design. He spoke with us about his concept and a bit of the history of the Wagner composition that inspired it. Read all about it after the jump.
Being a lover of mythology I was really excited to work on this program art.
Wagner's Ring cycle was inspired by the Nordic myths and heroic legend of Siegfried as told in the Nibelungenlied. My favorite part, musically, is the prologue, which also opens the "Ring Without Words" program that the Symphony is performing. It's an almost totally ambient piece of music that I first heard in Terrence Malick's The New World, and it's utterly hypnotic and evocative of the River Rhine where the story begins. I wanted to show some of the more iconic images from the myth — the kingdom of Valhalla, the rainbow bridge, the rock from which the dwarf Alberich steals the mystical gold — without showing any characters.
I did, however, want to depict the Rhine Maidens. They're the protectors of the Rhine and witnesses to this opening scene. I was drawn to their feminine beauty and power amidst such an epic story of masculine conquest. So I tried to show them not literally, but as one with this powerful flowing river.
In short, Wagner's prologue and the sound of that mighty river was my inspiration, and I simply wanted to set the scene for the stormy saga to come.