83

 Geoffrey Fallthuis

Duration 5.10

The spot where Geoffrey Fallthuis landed from the balcony

 

Eleven years ago, a tree that grew on a site was the subject of an unfinished film. The film was made by Geoffrey Fallthuis, student pupil of Tulse Luper, and at 19, the shortest and youngest of the Luper admirers who supported the Luper programme for an unassisted naturally evolving landscape. The tree, a wych-elm, had been planted on the south bank of the Thames, when the area was the garden of a London broker who apparently specialised in the importing of timber for the manufacture of musical instruments. Due to a number of coincidences of date, name and geography, Geoffrey Fallthuis chose to structure the cutting copy of his film, at least, on Anton Webern's Five Pieces for Orchestra, a choice later cemented by the knowledge that another Schoenberg pupil, Hans Eisler, had composed a work to a tree, an oak that had survived the bombing of Berlin.

Three months after completing his modest film exercise, Geoffrey Fallthuis joined an ecological foundation, studied tree-culture and went to America. Seven years later, he married Corntopia Felixchange, a soprano who eventually joined the Metropolitan Opera Company.

Geoffrey Fallthuis was in Ontario at the time of the VUE, he was supervising the planting of conifers. The VUE gave him a bone-marrow disease, incipient patagium fellitis, and a neuralgia that Fallthuis was able to partly anaesthetise with nicotine and aspirin. Fallthuis, in acknowledgement of his VUE disabilities, took an administrative job which gave him time to travel with his wife on her singing tours of Europe. Eventually his wife was invited to London and sang at the Royal Festival Hall and Fallthuis visited the south bank of the Thames for the first time in eleven years.

One September evening at dusk, whilst his wife attended a rehearsal, Fallthuis stepped out of the concert hall to look again at the tree which had been the subject of his last film exercise. Much had changed. The buildings that Fallthuis had filmed in their stages of construction were now long completed. And the tree had gone. Heavily supported by chains at the time Fallthuis had filmed it, the tree had become a potential danger to pedestrians and had been cut down.

Fallthuis lit a cigar and walked along a new concrete balcony overlooking the River Thames to a position he could hardly have anticipated as a camera position ten years previously. While leaning on the balustrade, he fell. Or he was pushed. Or he jumped deliberately. One witness is on record as saying that at the time Fallthuis fell, there had been a pistol shot. Anton Webern had been shot. He too had been standing on a balcony. The lighted tip of Webern's cigar had made him a target after curfew for an overzealous American soldier in 1945. The connection was not lost on Fallthuis's wife. She demanded and got an inquiry. Eleven witnesses came forward, but in the end the evidence was so conflicting that the coroner passed a verdict of misadventure abetted by delayed effects of the VUE.

Corntopia Felixchange lobbied the IRR to provide funds to remake her late husband's film with a new musical structure that would reflect Webern's Five Pieces and provide her with a vocal part. The work was to be dedicated to all VUE victims. An early friend of Fallthuis's, Nye Galibo, who makes a fleeting appearance in the fifth part of the original film, generously agreed to compose the new music. As yet neither the IRR nor any other body have come up with the funds to make Corntopia's film and in extended deference to VUE victims the music has, in the meantime, been used to accompany some of the VUE biographies in The Falls.

 

The Falls Biographies

  1. Orchard Falla

  2. Constance Ortuist Fallaburr

  3. Melorder Fallaburr

  4. Appis (Arris) Fallabus

  5. Standard Fallaby

  6. Tasida Fallaby

  7. Lacer Fallacet

  8. Arris Fallacie

  9. Mashanter Fallack

  10. Squaline Fallaize

  11. Carlos Fallantly

  12. Musicus Fallantly

  13. Wrallis Fallanway

  14. Allia Fallanx

  15. Starling Fallanx

  16. Ipson & Pulat Fallari

  17. Stachia Fallari

  18. Aptesia Fallarme

  19. Corntopia Fallas

  20. Anteo Fallaspy

  21. Pandist Fallaspy

  22. Sashio Fallaspy

  23. Vyanine Fallaspy

  24. Casternarm Fallast

  25. Ardenaur Fallatter

  26. Agropio Fallaver

  27. Propine Fallax

  28. Cash Fallbaez

  29. Antopody Fallbatts

  30. Coppice Fallbatteo

  31. Agrendo Fallbazz

  32. Cisgatten Fallbazz

  33. Hasp Fallbazz

  34. Canopy Fallbenning

  35. Cole Fallbird

  36. Castel Fallboys

  37. Acataloope Fallbus

  38. Astraham Fallbute

  39. Loosely Fallbute

  40. Betheda Fallbutus

  41. Bwythan Fallbutus

  42. Cathine Fallbutus

  43. Menenome Fallbutus

  44. Olivine Fallbutus

  45. Vacete Fallbutus

  46. Astra Fallcas

  47. David Fallcash

  48. Bewick Fallcaster

  49. Catch-Hanger Fallcaster

  50. Clasper Fallcaster

  51. Felix Fallcaster

  52. Max Fallcaster

  53. Orion Fallcaster

  54. Throper Fallcaster

  55. Raskado Fallcastle

  56. Appropinquo Fallcatti

  57. Agrimany Fallchester

  58. Sitiarch Fallding

  59. Ostler Falleaver

  60. Edio Fallenby

  61. Shey Fallenby

  62. Affinado Falleur

  63. Erek Fallfree

  64. Thomax Fallfresh

  65. Zachia Fallgillot

  66. Joyan Fallicory

  67. Bird Raspara Fallicutt

  68. Obsian Fallicutt

  69. Wrallis Fallinway

  70. Ashile Fallko

  71. Agostina Fallmutt

  72. Castan Fallockery

  73. Cottes Fallope

  74. Pollie Fallory

  75. Afracious Fallows 

  76. Hearty Fallparco

  77. Sallis Pino Fallpinio

  78. Crasstranger Fallqueue

  79. Romanese Fallracce

  80. Ascrib Fallstaff

  81. Armeror Fallstag

  82. Combayne Fallstoward

  83. Geoffrey Fallthuis

  84. Merriem Falltrick

  85. Stephany Falltrix

  86. Tolley Falluger

  87. Vassian Falluger

  88. Erhaus Bewler Falluper

  89. Grastled Fallusson

  90. Castral Fallvernon

  91. Leasting Fallvo

  92. Anthior Fallwaste

 

 

The Falls 

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