From President Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865, the breaking of the MLB color barrier by Jackie Robinson in 1947, to Tax Day (since 1955; unless the date falls on weekends or Emancipation Day), April 15 has retained a level of historical significance over the last 150 years. Not only does the anniversary of RMS Titanic's tragic plunge fall on this date, but also this year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the event. For the centennial, Le Poisson Rouge is presenting a rendition of Gavin Bryars’ “The Sinking of the Titanic” by mainstays in the Wordless Music Orchestra and LPR’s house band.
Bryars’ composition, produced by Brain Eno and released on his Obscure label in 1975, is a haunting and surreal speculation of the Titanic’s demise in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The almost half hour piece is based around the last song played on the Titanic described by Harold Bride, the junior wireless operator on board the ship, as the Episcopal hymn Autumn. Bryars’ construction ensconces elements of wind instruments, piano, guitar, bass, atmospherics, and archival audio of interviews with survivors into the violin-led hymn. For those interested in the ambient, this is essential.
While observing the centennial of the Titanic’s last breath isn’t going to be a social fest reviling Halloween or anything, Le Poisson Rouge is offering you an interpretation of a visionary that explored the wreckage of the Titanic ten years before it was even found. Or, you could certainly give James Cameron some more bucks to explore the Mariana Trench by catching the 3-D version of Titanic. On the upside, “The Sinking of the Titanic” won’t have you waiting around two hours for a 3-D shot of Kate Winslet’s boobies. On the downside, no Billy Zane.