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The Hall of Mermaids

from The Barnum Museum by Barry Schrader

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You now find yourself inside The Barnum Museum. Its vastness is overwhelming and confusing, but you must decide which exhibit to see first. You choose to enter The Hall of Mermaids through a large door on your left. Although the room is dimly lit by many fire-lanterns on high poles, you immediately sense the vastness of the space. In the middle is a large black pool, perhaps over one hundred meters across, surrounded by large boulders that rise from the water’s depths. In the center of the pool is a rock island, and you climb up the three steps to a large wooden platform in order to better see the pool and the island. As you hold on to the velvet ropes running along the edge of the platform, you peer into the pool, looking for mermaids. It is rumored that there are at least three mermaids in the pool, but, at first, you see nothing but vague ripples. Then, as your eyes become accustomed to the murky light, you notice undulations at various points in the pond. You think you see the underwater movement of unfamiliar bodies or long, golden strands of hair. Suddenly you hear splashes and watch as flecks of water rise into the air followed by a large aquatic tail. You are thrilled at having seen your first mermaid, but disappointed that the experience was so fleeting.


from The Barnum Museum, released July 25, 2012


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Barry Schrader Los Angeles, California

Schrader's compositions for electronics, dance, film, video, mixed media, live/electro-acoustic music combinations, and real- time computer performance have been presented throughout the world. In 2014, he was given the SEAMUS Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a member of the Composition Faculty of the CalArts School of Music from 1971 to 2016. His web site is <barryschrader.com>. ... more

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