Day 1: 15/03/2001
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Polyphony
Day 2: 16/03/2001
13:15 St Paul’s Hall Peter Hill Performs
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Anton Lukoszevieze and Melvyn Poore Perform
Rose Dodd – Transient I
In Transient I focus on the integration of the “strings” timbre of the classical acoustic instrumental world into the extreme of the acousmatic genre. The origination of string sounds forms the central material of Transient I. The sublime nature of conventional classical string texture is subverted; string presentation here is undeniably brutal and ‘off message’. Plucked string articulations launch the piece towards their more synthetic counterpoint. A contorted middle string section is encountered before the transient retraces its journey through a more sublime acousmatic environment. String sounds are recontextualised in Transient I by journeying through primarily a synthetic background. Key moments are signposted through conventional string portrayal; strings in their “natural” form. Transient I demonstrates an unstable character, neither wishing to be caught or even stabilised. String sounds are perceived to be between the acoustic instrumental, electroacoustic & acousmatic environments. The string sounds as “transient”.
Transient I gained a prize in the Residency category at Bourges 1997, Second Prize in the Tape music category of the 18th Luigi Russolo competition 1996, and a Special prize in the EAR’95 Magyar Hungarian radio competition.
James Mohan – Wood
After recording myself playing different instruments [mainly wooden congas] I was able to take rhythmic, melodic and more effect based material into the studio and create the composition. I wanted to preserve the “woody” sound of the various instruments -especially the percussion.
This piece sets out to become a blend of Latino jazz and heavier beat styles. These more contemporary sections of the piece are linked via an electro- acoustic theme that explores some of the richer timbres available in wooden instruments. The two main sections of the piece portray a different character exhibited by wood: The first Latin style section might suggest a supple and animate nature, the heavier beat section may suggest strength and stiffness.
Andrew Lewis – Scherzo
Miguel Azguime – Comunicaões
Comunicacões is, in some aspects a “programmatic” electroacoustic piece, based primarily on concrete sounds, including texts in more than 30 different languages, although pure synthesised and instrumental sounds are also an important part of the sound material for the composition. The idea of communications not only underlies the sound material, but also the inner relationships upon which the piece was composed.
Comunicacões was realised at the Miso Studio in Lisbon, Portugal, and was commissioned by the Lisbon World Fair Expo’98 as part of a sound installation in the ‘Knowledge of The Sea’ Pavilion. I later remixed it and made some minor changes and this concert version was premiered in Lisbon in November 1998.
James Perkin – Dali’s Momentary Thought That Life May Not Be Surreal
In writing this piece I was writing a soundtrack to a single thought: a piece of music that represented a split second in time and yet reflected the complex thoughts that could occur over this period. The combination of surreal and real sounds in this piece is an attempt to summarise the human mind in music… an impossible task. On a less contrived level, this piece is my attempt at introducing rock music to electronic music, but without the costumes of Progressive Rock! I hope that I have combined the best of both genres.
Harald Muenz – BeethovEnBloc
BeethovEnBioc is my personal response to a monument of German “Leidkultur” [“culture of suffering” – an untranslatable pun on “Leitkultur” (“leading culture”), the political slogan introduced by the CDU party in Germany to encapsulate the idea of German culture as the dominant culture within multicultural Germany]. The composition’s only materials are the sounds of the thirty-seven movements of the nine symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven.
After I had tested as many of the different renditions of the symphonies as possible, the recordings were first of all cleaned, balanced and timed. For each symphony I calculated an average movement length from the durations of its individual movements. Subsequently I used time-stretching to bring all the movements of the symphony to this duration, but without altering the pitch. This time-consuming transformation method sometimes caused rather extreme stresses or strains to the originals. Thus for each symphony I achieved a compact overlaid form of all its movements. These nine blocks can also be performed separately.
The next stage was once again to establish an average duration of these nine assemblages (and consequently of all 37 movements), so that – again without altering pitch – each individual complex could be brought to this average length of 9 minutes 26 seconds. Finally I superimposed these nine structures and thus achieved a compact block of all the Beethoven symphonies.
The sound composition makes possible perceptual insights which “Ludwig van” would have been unlikely to grant. At first the continuous fortissimo can be quite hard for the listener, but then one is astonished by the transparency of the sound. Which of the 37 movements is at any moment the strongest? Once one has come to terms with the volume, the superimposed dynamic fluctuations of this hallucinatory stream of sounds flood into the ear. Finally one is able, by further focusing one’s perception, to pursue innumerable individual threads in this shining tapestry.
Peter Hill Performs
Olivier Messiaen – Cantéyodjayâ
Messiaen himself has described the circumstances in which he composed Cantéyodjayâ, one of his most concisely argued and significant works from the late 1940,. written just after he had completed the vast Turangalila- Symphonie. According to his own account, Cantéyodjayâ was:
”composed at Tanglewood (Massachusetts) between 15 July and 15 August 1949 during the rare moments of rest I had while teaching courses in rhythmic analysis and composition at the Berkshire Music Center – a huge school of music founded by Koussevitzky, set in an immense park, with a lake, with country houses for the musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and with a number of concert halls of which the largest could hold 15,000 people. […)I was only able to be alone first thing in the morning in my classroom – before the students arrived – with an excellent Steinway for company. lt was here that I started and finished this substantial piano piece.”
Cantéyodjayâ is a study in rhythm, using, particularly, Hindu rhythms drawn from the 120 Deçi-tâlas (rhythms from different regions) in the treatise entitled San gita-ratnakara (literally ‘Ocean of Music’) by Çarngadeva, a Hindu theoretician of the 13th century. These 120 rhythms had long fascinated Messiaen: he worked out the rules by which they were constructed and also studied their religious and philosophical symbolism. lt is on the basis of these rhythms that this remarkable work is built. Stylistically it was a bold departure for Messiaen: drier, more percussive and harmonically more uncompromising than a work such as Turangalila, yet there are moments when it clearly harks back to this and the other works in the ‘Tristan’ trilogy which immediately preceded it: the Cinq rechants and the song-cycle Harawi. But the result is something new – a departure without which some of the later works (notably the Catalogue d’oiseaux)would have been inconceivable. Appropriately, Cantéodjavâ was first published in August 1953 by Europe’s most progressive music publisher, Universal Edition in Vienna, and was first performed at the Domaine musical by Yvonne Loriod on 23 February 1954.
Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum (Part 1)
A suite of twelve movements, divided into two series of six.
The first series comprises six related movements, usually organised in pairs, electronic sounds with instrumental and more rarely, concrete sounds: Incidences/resonances brings into play controlled resonances akin to sounds of concrete origin in a process that helps to expand the variable electronic sound sources. Here, ‘incidents’ are opposed to one-off ‘accidents’ in the second movement: Accidents/Harmoniques (Accidents/Harmonics). In the second movement, very short events of instrumental origin change the harmonic tone of the continuum they interrupt or overlap. Moreover, the high notes are underplayed, which stimulates the attention given to other phenomena generally hidden by the melodic form applied to the instrumental play. Géologie sonore (Sound Geology) is similar to a flight over an area where different ‘sound’ layers come to the surface one after the other. When seen from high above, instrumental and electronic sounds seem to fuse … Dynamique de la resonance (Dynamics of Resonance) is a microphonic exploration of a single sound resonating through different forms of percussion. L’Etude élastique (Elastic Study) places together various sounds produced by ‘touching’ elastic or instrumental skins (baloons, doumbeks) or vibrating strings and a number of instrumental gestures close to this ‘touch’, using electronic processes to generate white noise. Conjugaison du timbre (Conjugated Tone), the last movement in the series, uses the same substance to apply rhythmic forms onto a perpetually varying tone continuum. The second series of movements draws its inspiration from concrete and electronic sources rather than instrumental ones. Incidences/battements (Incidences/Beatings) is a reminder of the first movement in the first series which then quickly moves into Natures éphémères (Ephemeral Natures): ephemeral play on instrumental and electronic sounds, singled out by their internal trajectory rather than by the material itself. Matières induites (Induced Matters): just as molecular effervescence triggers a changes of state, it seems that the different states of these sound materials can be generated by each other or through induction processes. In Ondes croisées (Crossed Waves), the pizz vibrations interfere with somehow ‘visible’ water drops on the surface of a similar material. Pleins et déliés (Downstrokes and Upstrokes) can be listened to as the energies absorbed in the motion of bouncing bodies, while hollow ‘bubbles’ and points bring together some people’s gravity and others’ downwards movements. The work finishes with Points contre champs (Reverse Angle Points). Here, the notion of perspective of the different sound threads weaving a kind of network, or field, traps the occasional iterative elements in the foreground and progressively absorbs them, giving more space for the angle – and the chanted sound – to grow.
Karlheinz Stockhausen – Klavierstück VII
Klavierstück VII forms part of the cycle of 21 piano pieces on which Stockhausen began work in 1952. The cycle remains incomplete but for many commentators the finest music in the cycle is in the group of four pieces, from IV to VIII, which Stockhausen wrote in 1954 and 1955. This group of pieces was dedicated to the American pianist David Tudor, whose formidable technique inspired much of the most challenging new piano music of the 1950s, most notably John Cage’s Music of Changes. In Klavierstück VII we can hear Stockhausen revelling in the sonic possibilities of the piano, his ears opened by the new sounds he was developing in the electronic music studio and his imagination challenged by Tudor’s commitment to the most radical exploration of piano sonority.
Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum (Part 2)
Olivier Messiaen – La Chouette Hulotte
Plumage spotted with brown and russet, enormous facial discs, a solemn look, stamped with mystery, wisdom and the supernatural. Still more than its appearance, the voice of this nocturnal bird provokes terror. I have heard it often, in the middle of the night, towards two o’clock in the morning, in the woods of Orgeval, of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and on the road from Petichet to Cholonge (lsere). Darkness, fear, a heart which beats too fast, the mewlings and yelpings of the Little Owl, cries of the Long-eared Owl; and here is the call of the Tawny Owl: now gloomy and sad , now vague and disquieting (with a strange trembling), now vociferous in terror like the cry of a murdered child… Silence. A more distant ullulation, resembling a bell from the other world…
Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum (Part 3)
Olivier Messiaen – L’Alouette Lulu
From the Col du Grand-Bois, at Saint-Sauveur-en-Rue in the Forez. Pine woods to the right of the road, meadow pastures on the left. From high in the heavenly haze, the Wood-Lark gives out its notes two by two, its chromatic and fluid falls. Hidden in a bush, in a woodland glade, a Nightingale replies. Contrast between the mordant tremolos of the Nightingale and this mysterious voice of the heights. Invisible, the Woodlark draws near, then flies away. The trees and fields are black and calm. lt is midnight.
Anton Lukoszevieze and Melvyn Poore Perform
Karlheinz Stockhausen – SOLO (cello version)
Stockhausen wrote SOLO in March and April 1966 in response to a commission from Japanese Radio and it was premiered in Tokyo in April 1966 in versions for flute and trombone. In Stockhausen’s own note on the piece he describes how in the 1960s he was regularly invited by leading solo instrumentalists to write them a piece which would exploit the new techniques being developed. What he wanted to achieve, however, was a piece in which a monophonic instrument would be able to create polyphonic music, utilising in real-time the possibilities of montage and playback that he had used in the electronic studio to create works like Gesang der Jünglinge, and enabling the live performer to respond in real-time to the playback of his own performance. To achieve this he devised an elaborate technical set-up involving a tape recorder with a specially constructed tape delay path, which would allow multiple recording and playback of a live performer. In this way the single line played live gradually produces a polyphonic texture, to which the player is also able to respond.
As in other Stockhausen works of the mid-60s (Plus Minus, Momente and Mikrophone I, for example) the score offers considerable flexibility of choice to the performer, although the performer is nevertheless only able to choose the piece, ranging in length from 10 and a half minutes to 19 minutes, each of which offers different ways of combining the notated musical materials with a scheme for reacting to this material as it is played back from the delay system. Advances in technology mean that what in 1966 could only be achieved with analogue tape and a laboriously customised tape machine can now be done far more efficiently in software.
Nicolaus A Huber – Solo mit Koonstück
SOLO kit Koonstück (2000) was written in co-operation with Melvyn Poore and continues my series of solo pieces. Fourteen tones are modulated in their colour by the use of alternate fingerings. The additional, precisely-notated diaphragm accents and the rhythms of the written pitches result in a threefold polyphony. The concept of “running through”, as veins run through a cliff-face, leads to a chromatic line – at the beginning clearly articulated, later hidden – which descends to the lowest note in the piece and to a breaking up of the continuity of the surface in the sense of multiple distancing from an implied “original music” of the solo piece. This ranges from laughing at the music via the insertion of very loud foreign material, to “whispered tones”, and the ‘pppppp’ stroking of a large cuddly animal (the ‘Koon’ piece, a reference to the American artist Jeff Koon’s immortalisation of his pet terrier in a series of vast sculptures) which gives new colour, density and content to the rather worn-out avantgarde notion of ‘silence’.
Karlheinz Stockhausen – SOLO (tuba version)
Monty Adkins & James Saunders – #160301
The composition of #160301 was a collaborative process. We decided in advance on a time structure and then each created a number of short modules: the cello and tuba material is mine, and the two CDs are by Monty. The CDs each contain fifty-five tracks of differing length (some of which are silent) and are to be played in a random order in the performance. The instrumentalists have a number of modules which they can choose to play at any of the given timed entry points spanning the twenty minutes of the piece. The results are never the same, as different simultaneities will occur in each performance. Listening therefore becomes a more open, listener-centred process: the network of possible relationships encourages the search for points of contact between material and your own route through the piece.
The cello and tuba material also forms part of #[unassigned]. an ongoing project to create a series of flexible compositions. Individual versions are modular in their construction, with units (individual short pieces. drones, fragments, silence) being detachable, and appearing in other compositions within the series, which varies with regards to duration, instrumentation and deployment of material.