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PEPPERLAND Mark Morris' Exuberant Homage To Sgt. Pepper Makes NY Premiere At BAM

PEPPERLAND Mark Morris' Exuberant Homage To Sgt. Pepper Makes NY Premiere At BAM

Pepperland, a vivid work by the choreographer Mark Morris was created at the request of the City of Liverpool to inaugurate the "Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival" in 2017, paying tribute to the Beatles' groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Renowned for his profound understanding of musical forms, Morris teases out the album's colorfully avant garde motifs through spirited movement and an inspired score by jazz composer Ethan Iverson.

The Pepperland score is performed by a unique music ensemble, featuring voice, theremin, soprano sax, trombone, piano, keyboard, and percussion. Iverson's new arrangements of six songs from the album intermingle with six "Pepper-inspired" original pieces, illuminating the LP's eclectic roots. An important work of British psychedelia, musical influences included Indian classical music, vaudeville, classical, jazz, avant-garde, and blues. The iconic work solidified the concept album form in popular music. It is described as one of the first art rock LPs, aiding the development of progressive rock, and is credited with marking the beginning of the album era.

In this slice of 20th-century culture, the kinetic costumes and sets reflect the album's optimism, empowerment, and experimentalism that spoke to an entire generation-and in the process legitimized pop art, vibrant fashion, mysticism, freedom from parental control, and experimenting with altered states of consciousness.

Photo by Mat Haywar


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