Day 1: 16/03/2000
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Concert 1
Day 2: 17/03/2000
13:15 St Paul’s Hall Alan Thomas Performs
15:30 St Paul’s Hall Judith Mitchell Open Rehearsal
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Judith Mitchell Performs
21:30 St Paul’s Hall Michael Clarke Performs
David Lowe – Alive
Fantasy…. “A wild or fantastic product ofthe imagination, a day-dream “.
What happens inside your head when you day-dream? It must be something spectacular in order to pull away your complete attention. To place you in ‘another world’. Imagine what you’re imagining and then imagine how you’re imagining it. The structure for this piece is based on the following idea: you think of something. As you think about that something, another image enters your head, and another and another until you’re dreaming. Your mind is lost. You snap away from your thoughts and re-enter the real world again but thoughts keep returning into your head. Eventually they die away. The piece contains large rapid panning effects which makes listening to this piece a three-dimensional experience. This work was created using one sample – a hole punch.
David Lowe – The Pencil Box
This short piece is a sound collage describing stationary objects. The sounds work together. The music is free but also mechanical, rhythmical and sometimes melodical too. It is possible to recognise the objects from original sampled sounds, as well to imagine the objects coming to life. Purposely there is no structure to this piece. Simply a wild mixture with all parts ‘busy’ and constantly intertwining.
Nick Gage – A Moonlit Struggle
While composing this piece I found it very hard to find the inspiration to start the piece, and while listening to other students’ compositions I started to get ideas. These ideas, however, always seemed to almost imitate the other students’ compositions, then in a flash of inspiration I decided to use other composers’ music and alter it in a way that would make a good composition and also include a few samples that I recorded. The samples range from the obvious Beethoven sample to the less obvious sample taken sat on the back seat of a bus.
Miriam Young – The firework display on the way home
This composition in two movements was inspired by firework night last year. The first movement, as it suggests, represents an actual display with a climax to the display in the middle of the movement. On the way home, the second movement was put together using both firework sounds and people and transport noises. I always remember lots of car and people leaving an organised display and I have tried to represent the atmosphere here.
Matthew Dean – Timbral Fires
There are four source sounds that I sampled for this piece: the sound of a zippo lighter flint, a match strike, a warning alarm and scratch tremolando on a viola. The properties of fire – in its growth, its wild nature, glowing heat etc were the original inspiration behind the piece.
Each of the three sections in the piece explores timbre through various textures. The first section focuses on short sporadic sounds of very wide timbral range. The movement has a sense of pace and urgency which gradually slows down, culminating in intense throbbing textures which lead to the second section. Here elements of the first section pan in and out of the throbbing sounds and rhythmical noises slowly grow and lead to the faster, focused sounds of the third section. Here, the ‘ fire’ is building up again as pitches ascend and ‘sparks’ frantically pan across the stereo plain. The ‘ fire ‘ reaches its peak then slowly dies away, leaving the burning embers at the end of the piece.
Jo Thomas – Dark Noise
I drew the inspiration for this work from the Irish writer Samuel Becket. I chose to focus on defining spaces and utterance in relation to an ethereal presence. This work is the fourth in a series of works made almost entirely from the female voice. However, in this work there is no performer, there is no direct narrative. In this work the voice is veiled under dark indefinable noise. Dark Noise was realised in the EA Studio of City University, London.
Bryn Harrison – Mantra for trumpet and drone
The title refers to a word or sound used as an aid to meditation in Buddhist practise. The piece focuses on a constant tone that is subject to slight variations in duration and timbre. This tone is never played in the same way twice and requires a high level of concentration on behalf of the performer. It was written for Stephen Altoft. The drone was prepared by Ewan Stefani.
Geoffrey Cox – Remembrance: Foggy Road 2000
The road is so foggy foggy,
The road is so icy icy,
The road is so cooly cooly,
The road is so icy icy.
Piano: Cloches a travers les feuilles by Debussy, played by Walter Gieseking
Vocal: Foggy Road sung by Prince Far I
Rhythm track : Police in Helicopter by John Holt played by Roots Radics
Ambient sounds and synthesis: Geoffrey Cox
Jonathan Harvey – Ricecare una melodia
Ricecare means literally ‘to seek’ and in musical usage it signifies a fugal, often rather strict movement. Here, a five-part canon is obtained by means of a tape- delay system, and when the ‘sought-after’ melody is ‘found’, the canon is by progressive augmentation and at the interval of the octave.
Judith Mitchell Performs
Christopher Fox – chant suspendu
In 1994 I wrote a solo cello piece, Straight lines in broken times, for the German cellist, Friedrich Gauwerky. While we were preparing the first performance he asked me to consider writing him a duo piece, for cello and piano. I considered it but had no ideas. A couple of years later the English pianist Ian Pace mentioned the same possibility for the duo he then had with Anton Lukoszevieze – again a blank. I was surprised then when on 3 August 1997, sitting under an olive tree in the midst of the southern Italian countryside, I was able to fill a couple of sketchbook pages with the outline of what is now chant suspendu. The realisation of those sketches was completed in October 1998. The duo version of chant suspendu was premiered by Judith Mitchell and Ian Pace in January 1999; subsequently Anton Lukoszevieze persuaded me that the cello part could be played unaccompanied and he has given many performances of the piece in that version. Tonight is the premier of a new version with electroacoustic accompaniment made by Robert Scorah (with the composer’s supervision!).
chant suspendu literally suspends the ‘song’, the microtonally inflected line of the cello part, over a rich, dark mass of sound. In the piano version this was conceived as a continuously evolving background of textured noise; the electroacoustic version samples and stretches a fragment of that ‘noise’. The cello also provides its own accompaniment: melodic writing on the middle two strings is always supported by a drone on one of the other strings (and the outer strings are both re- tuned to Gs).
Andrew Lovett – unknown terrors
unknown terrors is a musical journey into the geography of the imagination and the mythology of exploration. It was partly inspired by James Cowan’s book The Mapmaker’s Dream, which gives poetic voice to the 16th century cartographer Fra Mauro. Fra Mauro lived in a monastery on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni near Venice, where he listened to the stories of travellers – merchants, seamen, adventurers, explorers – using their descriptions to create his own maps. The most striking surviving example is his beautiful Planisphere of 1549.
I found a modern counterpart to Maur’s Planisphere in some remarkable photographs of the earth taken from space in a book called Orbit by Apt, Helfer and Wilkinson. They show lakes, rivers, deltas, mountain ranges, deserts, islands, oceans, land masses and human activity: agriculture, cities, fires pollution. Like maps, these pictures challenge us to image the world anew; a place of extraordinary beauty, strength and fragility.
Both of these sources hint at a deeper mythic structure: a journey undertaken by a hero or heroine to hell – and back. Orpheus, Persephone, the Ancient Mesopotamian Goddess Inanna, Jonah. These stories possess a structure which recurs again and again in stories throughout the world, providing – perhaps – a kind of ‘map’ for the innermost path of human adventure.
Kaija Saariaho – Près
Près for solo cello and electronics emerged at the same time as Arners, a concerto for cello and chamber orchestra. The musical material in the two works is to a large extent the same, but it is used in very different ways, and in terms of form and dramatic structure the pieces are strikingly different. The only identical elements are certain passages for the solo instrument and a few of the electronic materials. Both works were produced at IRCAM and the electronic component is very important in each case; in Près the electronics continue and expand the musical gestures of the solo instrument in many different directions.
Près is in three movements. The first movement concentrates on a rather linear texture in which the cello part is sometimes fused with the synthetic sounds. This material is based on recordings I made with Anssi Karttunen and have subsequently either analysed and used as the starting point for the work’s harmony and sound synthesis, or transformed in various ways. The synthetic element is realised using resonant filters that also operate in real time in the later movements, where the cello sound is modified on a music workstation developed at IRCAM.
As a whole the electronic element consists of synthetic sounds, modified cello sounds stored in the computer and real-time sound processing. This latter element has made use of resonating filters and different types of delay, space-filtering, and transposing techniques. The programming work was realised by Xavier Chabot and Jean-Baptiste Barrière at IRCAM.
The title of the work links it to its sister-work Arners, a nautical term for leading marks or landmarks, and also to Paul Gauguin’s painting By the Sea; and hence to the experience of the sea itself and waves, their different rhythms and sounds stormy weather and calms. In other words: material, wave shapes, rhythmic figures, timbres. The charging up of the music and the ultimate release of that charge.
Près is dedicated to Anssi Karttunen, with whose collaboration I completed the piece, and who gave the first performance in Strasbourg on 11 November 1992.
Monty Adkins – Noumena
Michael Clarke Performs
Michael Clarke – Tim(br)E
for 8-channel tape
Tim(br)E, as its title implies, plays with the ambiguity that can be created between pitch and pulse (timbre and time) using computer generated or processed sounds. Sounds that begin as timbres dissolve into pulses and vice versa. Our normal perceptual distinction between pitch and rhythm becomes blurred. For much of the work, eight streams of sound, each heard on one of the eight loudspeakers, interleave in a complex counterpoint. Recognisable timbres emerge from and dissolve into this rich texture creating a musical structure that, hopefully, speaks for itself.
Michael Clarke – Cascade
for trumpet and live processing
In Cascade the sounds of the solo trumpet are processed live by a computer during the performance and the results then distributed across the eight loudspeakers. The work is in two movements. In the first the distant trumpet gradually becomes surrounded by an aura of harmonics derived from its own timbre. The second movement commences with a lively rhythmic counterpoint between the trumpet and its own delayed transformations. In the more lyrical central section the solo line is expanded by changing transformations. In the final section the rhythmic counterpoint returns in a more elaborate variation. Towards the end the harmony and the rhythm clarify, revealing the harmonic structure that will for the basis of Prism.
Michael Clarke – Prism
for trumpet, 8-channel tape and live processing
Prism has a more austere, sombre character than the other works in this cycle. Both the trumpet and tape parts are based on just eight notes and on the unpitched sound of air blowing through the instrument. The trumpet is not so much a solo in the traditional sense as a reference point for the computer transformations that take place. The octophonic tape acts like a prism: the trumpet recordings are broken into eight harmonic components (partials) and are then treated independently. On one level, therefore, Prism might be thought of as a contemplation of the timbre of the trumpet. The computer also transforms a section of the solo part in real-time, reinforcing the links between the live performance and the tape.
In the first two sections of Prism, the timbre of the trumpet is gradually pulled apart, different harmonics moving independently between the loudspeakers creating subtle but significant transformations. A more complex and extended development of these ideas follows before, at the very end, individual trumpet harmonics are left on their own, revealing a hidden, ethereal beauty within the sound o f the instrument.