Day 1: 19/04/2002
15:15 St Paul’s Workshop with Diego Minciacchi
18:30 St Paul’s Hall Lecture/demonstration by Ambrose Field
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Electroacoustic Yorkshire
Day 2: 20/04/2002
13:00 St Paul’s Hall Electroacoustic Italy
18:00 St Paul’s Hall Electroacoustic Ireland
20:00 St Paul’s Hall Darragh Morgan Performs
Alan Smith – Interjections
Ambrose Field – Hurricane Ridge
Exposed timbres meet bad weather on an isolated mountain highway. You’ve probably run out of gas too.
Adrian Moore – Superstrings
Superstrings was recorded and composed entirely at The University of Sheffield in 1998/1999 and is dedicated to my father. It uses natural string sounds: those made from the piano and harpsichord, predominantly harmonics and gestures made by scraping the strings with the hands and other objects. There are also passages where these Instruments perform in the manner in which they were originally conceived with single notes, clusters, strings of pseudo-random walks and harmonic passages being played either by hand or with the help of a MIDI Disklavier.
Superstrings resides in a world of pitched and pulsed sections and drifts from the real into the unreal. The sectional nature of the work is highlighted by two similar but contrasting pulsed passages ‘coloured’ and articulated with other sounds. Repetition of other material leads to further understanding of the hierarchies of sound that made up the work.
Superstrings as a word relates to the scientific theory of matter. All matter is made up of superstrings that are multi-dimensional and wave-like in nature. Imagine a nebula where energy and matter collide in a sea of light and heat. The soundworld of Superstrings pulses with this raw energy. Superstrings was premiered at the SEAMUS (Society for ElectroAcoustic Music in the United States) conference 2000 at the University of North Texas in March 2000 and is available on SEAMUS CD 10.
Derrick Archer – Kare-Sansui-Ji
The piece is in four movements:
The inspiration for this piece is Japanese gardens, in particular the dry stone gardens created at the Zen Buddhist temples of the late 16th and 17th Centuries. These gardens are constructions of rocks in a sea of white gravel or sand, raked into patterns that represent waves or flowing water, with very little, if any, plant life. The gardens are abstract p1eces of art, underpinned by religious/spiritual symbolism, the empty space created is as important as that which is filled.
Their purpose was to create an environment that aided the Zen Buddhist monks in their meditation. Each movement includes reference to the physical garden but is more about the atmosphere, mood, and state of mind created as a spiritual response to the garden under different conditions.
Derrick Archer – The Universe
This is the result of an exercise to produce a 3-minute piece using sine wave and white noise only as the sound sources. I have taken the model of an expanding universe that then collapses back on itself. The piece cannot start with the big bang, as there would be no medium with which to transmit the sound. So we pick up the story just after the big bang, but thereafter the whole story is told. Energy matter interchange, matter antimatter, dust clouds, galaxies forming, suns and planets, super nova, pulsars, quasars, comets, meteors, black holes, the vast emptiness of space etc.
Robert Holroyd – Re#.8
As this was going to be one of my final compositions as a student of Huddersfield University, it was one that should ultimately be the best. For this reason I found it hard to come up with an original narrative or reason to compose Therefore I decided to draw on all the musical materials and experiences that have accompanied my university career and try to draw them into one single composition.
After sifting through various OAT tapes and dusting off various optical/zip disks, sounds emerged that would fit the composition. This gave a solid building block of sound that could be mixed and matched with new sounds, to create the full composition.
The idea of motion runs through all the environmental sounds rehashed and recorded for this composition. A train moves forward. A record spins. A clock ticks. A key turns, etc. What really links the idea of motion well with this composition IS the use of eight channels. This gives the opportunity to move sound around in ways that can’t be achieved normally.
Diego Minciacchi – Mentre noi corravam la morta gora
Parte Prima: su testi di Edoardo CacciatoreDante, Divina Commedia, Inferno, VIII, 31
Parte Seconda: su testi di Emilio Villa
Theoretical Basis: In a broad sense, the project stems from one central idea: the conception and implementation of a sound object of principally Italian significance. During the course of my recent activities I came to realize that, today, it is urgently necessary to deal with aspects of our long-standing but controversial and ambiguous Italian cultural tradition through musical terms. The present-day situation is unique: we are planning the future re- arrangement of Europe. However, we are still embedded in tradition and socially burdened by the waiting period for the coming millennium. This apparent contradiction prompted me to create a project in the form of a sound object named after Dante’s verse Mentre noi corravam la morta gora, whereby the use of Italian literature results in a strong socio- cultural form of expression. The human voice can express feelings in the most direct manner. The voice can relate words which can be understood for their own value without means of cultural references (such as instrumental stylism), relating semantic meaning as well as phonetic expression. Primarily for this reason, I decided to use the human voice in Mentre noi corravam la morta gora extensively and sounds produced by instruments very sparingly. I also decided that my work should be in tape format. A tape can be listened to easily, at any time and place, or on radio, without the ceremony of a concert. For performance in concert, a special version of the work, including narrators, a conductor and live electronics, should be used.
Collection of Material: For the conveyance of socio-cultural content, I chose to employ texts with a readily intelligible meaning. I selected passages by two major Italian poets of our century, Edoardo Cacciatore and Emilio Villa. They were both not only poets, but were actively involved in other cultural fields; Cacciatore was a philosopher, while Villa created sculptures and paintings. Villa also wrote important translations from ancient Greek, Hebrew and Sumerian. His own poetry was enriched by his knowledge of ancient and modern languages, and he wrote not only in Italian but in Latin, Portuguese, French, English and ancient Greek. The texts by Edoardo Cacciatore and Emilio Villa are employed in my music in fragments of various length (from a few words to over a page) and are arranged in an order that traces the path of the poets’ activities in reference to their cultural and social ambiance. I carefully designed the procedure of recording these texts. They have been read – not sung – mostly by poets and literary experts, as it was my specific intention to have them read by persons working creatively with words in their professional lives (1). Each individual recording session began with an extended discussion about the theoretical goals of the project. The speakers were then asked to read the texts, in several versions of different character, all of which I recorded. The sessions all took place at my personal recording studio. Additional sounds used in Mentre noi corravam la morta gora were produced and recorded by myself on conventional instruments (piano, tam tam) or taken from my personal library of travel recordings.
Treatment of Textual Material: The principal objective in the electronic treatment of Mentre noi corravam la morta gora has been to preserve the best possible intelligibility of words, fragments of words, sentences, and entire texts by means of editing, layering, juxtaposition and m1xture. For each single part of the sound event an individual structural treatment has been designed to delineate its respective text(s) in all required levels of significance, in accordance with the poet’s original context. As an example of this principle: Cacciatore underscores words and their meanings by refined formalistic and highly repetitive procedures based on semantic, phonetic, syntactic and morphological techniques. The musical treatment of words in the building-up of sound events, in the case of Cacciatore, necessitated a complex construction of multi-layered structures capable of conveying the poet’s subtle play of words and meanings. In the case of Emilio Villa the writing is more linear and oracular. The poet’s linguistic intention is carried out at a more basic level by processes in elementary grammatical functions and by employment of etymological allusions and trans- linguistic constructions. For this reason I chose poems in Portuguese, Latin, and for the last text, Italian, languages closely related to each other (2) I deconstructed and reconstructed Villa’s texts, preserving only small units and distributing these units within acoustical space. Dealing with Villa, my concept of word and sound developed organically from the ieratic, sacral, and apostrophizing character of the texts.
Technical Treatment: The spoken material was digitally edited to obtain a repertoire of sound files, which were then sorted by narrator and version. Fragments of these files where selected according to the criteria described above to form structural elements for the various layers. Collections of layers were repeatedly assembled in different ways, depending on the particular context. Up to about twenty simultaneous layers were used in Mentre noi corravam la morta gora. Spoken material and sounds have been combined in various degrees for different parts of the work, and also, the treatment of sounds has been effected in different ways for the individual texts. In some cases (3) the different materials (words and sounds) were used together for the creation of the basic particles throughout the entire process of layering. In other cases (4) the sound and word processes were kept separate until the final mixing stage. All operations have been performed digitally using the Studer Dyaxis Macintosh-based post-production workstation in my personal studio.
(1) Speakers are, in alphabetical order: Cecilia Bello, Mario Bello, Mariella Bettarini, Giovanni Caligo, Sebastiano Caligo, Sabrina Mata, Valentina Rene Minciacchi, Lavinia Ann Minciacchi, Massimo Mori, Alvaro Rendon.
(2) The two Latin texts used for Mentre noi corravam la morta gora have not yet been published; they are used by kind permission.
(3) Edoardo Cacciatore, Graduali, Hexasticha V, Lecce, Piero Manni, 1986, p. 101.
(4) Emilio Villa, Opere Poetiche, Milano, Coliseum Editore, 1989, pp. 60-63.
Giuseppe Giuliano – Vidh
Commissioned by Barrie Webb and dedicated to him, Vidh was written in 1987 and was premiered in London (Festival EMAS) during the same year. The score is written for twelve trombones, but it is also possible to play the piece in a solo version with a tape. In this case Barrie has recorded the tape realizing eleven tracks, and he plays the last part live, so that we can listen to twelve fantastic trombones with a very beautiful sound. The instrumental version places the twelve players in a circle around the audience. In the case of the solo version with tape, loudspeakers replicate this situation. The amplification of the solo depends on the space of the concert hall. VIDH is a Sanskrit root that indicates to see, to wit, the wit of man.
Diego Minciacchi – Earth will have her say ..or ..say what?
for trombone, percussion, and tape
“EARTH …” the first work I composed with pioneering techniques of digital audio, was conceived and planned as a challenge exploring sound potentialities in space by the use of essentially one single source: the trombone. Trombone sounds account in fact for the large majority on the pre-recorded material and the live score. The work was conceived for its premiere during the 1990 “lnternationales Ferienkurse” of Darmstadt at the “concert in Dom” in the Cathedral of Speyer, a huge gothic space with astonishing sound characteristics. The system of sound agglomeration was elaborated for “EARTH …” to fully expose its properties when diffused in large spaces. Catalogues of trombone sounds with different shapes (envelopes, as in the score) were recorded and employed as bricks to construct large architectures of sounds through a strategy of layering.
The aesthetic idea was the bouncing between the “internal musical” interest of sound itself (mostly in the pre-recorded trombone sounds) and the original idea of the biological world having “reasons to say” – to communicate – as music (mostly the live trombone and percussion). Also fractures, as in the earth, and crossing of boundaries, i.e. searches for reference – landmark – points, play essential roles as, for example, the presence of sounds from the Australian aborigine bamboo didgeridoo and sounds (the only ones sculptured in the digital domain) from the ancient bell of the Dom of Freiburg in Germany.
Paul Wilson – Genesis
The origin of good and evil, and the necessity for either to classify or contextualise the other, is a theme which directed the realisation of this composition. Although there was never a programmatic narrative during the course of the realisation, this biblical conflict was always at the back of my mind when deliberating over the sound world.
The sonic palette makes use of gesticulative nuances inherent in the source sounds, in collaboration with transformed material. The result is a sound world consisting of both recognisable and surreal elements that should be perceived as having equal timbral significance. The composition begins with extremely high sinusoidal waves and ends with low gritty timbres, indicative of the polar opposites of good and evil. The placement of different frequencies in a loudspeaker enhances the perception of the sounds at the extreme ends of the spectrum. The composition journeys from one end of the spectrum to the other; the perception of timbres as being at each end of the continuum is reinforced within the context of its polar opposite.
Judith Ring – Accumulation
Accumulation is a twenty-first century piece of Musique Concrete. This piece was constructed using everyday found sounds such as domestic appliances, machinery noises, printers and any noise that had an interesting timbre. All the recorded samples were digitally manipulated on a computer using various sound editing techniques. The resulting samples were then layered and orchestrated into an exciting sound-scope of musically interpretated sounds.
Roger Doyle – The Idea & Its Shadow
A short work whose title betrays the compositional thought and process behind it.
Darragh Morgan Performs
Steve Reich – Violin Phase
Violin Phase makes use of repetitive cells, which layer on top of one another and shift against one another in phases. The violin performer plays to a single tape recording of the cell (or one other violin), then to two tapes (or two violins) and finally simultaneously to three recordings (or three violins).
The gradual phase shifting happens as the performer slowly increases tempo and overtakes the repetitive phrases of the recording (or other violins). In two sections of the piece the performer simply plays one of the given musical cells louder than the recording (or other players), gradually letting it ring out so that the attention of the hearer is drawn to that one particular pattern. The selection from the phase sequence which is chosen remains, to a large extent, up to the performer.
Simon Mawhinney – Barcode 3
Barcode 3 is the most recent in an ongoing cycle of pieces for solos and/or small ensembles. A common link between the three pieces is the instrumental virtuosity required, as well as a concern with the systematic transformation of small musical segments.
Barcode 3 exists in a number of versions. It can be played on an amplified acoustic violin, or on a five-string electric violin. An additional version which includes live electronics is in development.
Adrian Moore – (I/V)T
This work was written during April and May of 1996. lt has a simple cyclical form and contrasts traditional instrumental writing with a varied tape part. The title’s expanded form (1/Violin)Tape explains the basic relationship:
1 – the performer
V – violin
T – electroacoustic sounds with treated violin material and other sources.
This equation is pronounced ‘one over violin to the power tape’.
The tape part is quite strong and the performer exists not only to play the violin part but also to reflect the tape part, often seemmg to control it through the gestures present in the violin writing. As it is not a solo violin work with tape accompaniment there may be times when the violin is subsumed by the tape. The two parts (tape, violin) were composed in small units and gradually reconstructed to form a more unified whole
Andrew Lovett – Jacob dreaming
Jacob dreaming was composed in the Electronic Music Studio at the Musikakademie der Sladl, Basel, Switzerland and in Cambridge, England. lt was inspired by a visit to the stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall in the Fraumünster in Zurich. One of these is devoted to the Hebrew Patnarch, Jacob. In a beautiful, predominantly blue composition, Jacob is shown asleep, apparently floating in air, surrounded by complex and vivid images from his dream.
The musical material for the piece derives from a short introductory passage played by the violinist. A pre-recorded version of this music was used to generate sound material for sampling. The violin part threads an independent course through a dreamscape created with the electroacoustic music which progressively transforms the sounds from the beginning of the piece.
I see this as being somewhat analogous to Jacob’s status in the Chagall window; he floats in the middle of the window amongst all the other images. He is both the dreamer and the creature of his dreams.
Tim Parkinson – eight violins
Each part is independent. They play simultaneously. They begin together. There is no further coordination. Each part was written separately and is made up of sections of music positioned at various moments within a fifteen minute frame. There is a variety of music; linear, repetitive, subjective, objective, fragmentary; sometimes very foreground, other times supporting or commenting on the surrounding music. A variety of juxtapositions occur. Occasional accidental concord arises, as well as discord. Connect1ons may be made or they may not.
Frank Lyons – Dazed by the Haze
(Homage to Hendrix)
Dazed by the Haze was written for Darragh Morgan as a result of our shared interest in the music and persona of Jimi Hendrix. The somewhat tongue-in-cheek title refers to the fact that the piece was inspired by the Hendrix classic Purple Haze.
The structure of Dazed by the Haze loosely follows that of a live recording I heard of Purple Haze in which Hendrix, after opening with the familiar riff-verse-riff format, shifts gear suddenly in the middle of the piece to unleash an incandescent blues solo, before effortlessly returning to the riff-verse-riff material and ending with a virtuosic cadenza.
Most of the violin material is derived from pitch collections and rhythmic figures gleaned from the many transcriptions I have made of different versions of Purple Haze,. and the overall on-the-edge character of the solo part is intended as a homage to the Hendrix guitar style. The tape part is constructed using transformations of samples taken both from the violin and from recordings of Purple Haze. The relationship between the violin and tape in the piece is modelled on the approach adopted by Hendrix when using special effects and sonic transformation – the tape part plays a subservient role, being used to subtly expand the sound world created by the soloist.
Michael Alcorn – Crossing the Threshold
Crossing the Threshold brings together my interest in conventional and unconventional sound materials through the interaction of musician and computer. The title relates to both musical and technical ideas of the piece. In the former case it reflects the division of musical ideas into conventional and unconventional playing techniques: throughout the piece the violin explores techniques that are on the boundary or threshold of the sound worlds of pitch and noise. In the latter case the title refers to the process of interaction: the violin is tracked by the computer and interacts with the performer when certain thresholds of loudness are crossed. The work is dedicated to Darragh Morgan and was commissioned with funds from the Arts Council of Ireland.