Programme notes (please click on title):
This represents the first project employing the then newly developed SOUND=SPACE with dancers. The system was set up to overlook the performance space and to react with sounds or chains of structured sound events to the presence and movements of the dancers. Two performances were given in 4 different venues, each venue being quite different in size and spatial layout.
The performance spaces were in most instances quite large. For the last set of performances, taking place at the Espace Nordin La Villette, Paris, the system employed 32 ranging units, enabling it to survey in substantial detail an area of almost 8oo square metres.
The premiere and first of 8 performances of COPERNIC OPERA, with equipment, programming and technical supervision by Philippe Prevot and the equipeof LIMCA, Auch, where the first version of SOUND=SPACE was developed and constructed, was performed by the Kilina Cremona Dance Company in Montpellier, France in 1986.
This work was composed with the aid of a computer employing a program based upon the re-representation of the Julia set of complex numbers, a program I had just begun to develop. The line for each instrument and the voice was calculated independently but employing a very similar set of x-y coordinates and resolution. The text for the work is the eponymous poem by Schiller, an allegory on the arrival of Spring.
The work was commissioned by an anonymous gentleman from Belgium as a birthday present for his fiancee, an amateur mezzo.
Similar in construction and origin to PIXELS, ORIGO was however, composed with the aid of a computer, using a program I developed especialy for it. The task of the program was to allo me to calculate a probabilistically determined number of attacks with similarly probabilistically determined distributions and durations within a fixed period of structured time : teen tal - 16 beats, with a more or less empty 9th beat. One of the challenges was to examine how much the probabilities could be changed, how much the temporal structure could be flexed, and still recogniseably maintain its characteristic structure.
ORIGO was commissioned and premiered by the ensemble metanoia in London, 1987
This composition was the first implementation of the original SOUND=SPACE as a specific 'performing' environment. The instruments involved were two clarinets and a trombone, all instruments that could be played while moving about. In the course of the composition, the players triggered specific sounds or controlled pre=programmed processes of sound transformation. The electronic musical material - created by the players through their movements - was either pre-empted or adopted by them on their instruments or it served as a vehicle for further instrumental development.
The layout of the ultrasonic ranging system was such that it created a number of different spatial axes, thereby allowing for a great variety of movement. A major portion of the performance took place in almost total darkness, illuminated only by numerous projections of astronomical photographs and small lights worn by the musicians, thus providing the visual world in which the music materialised and dematerialised.
The first performance of EICHUNG, with equipment, programming and technical supervision by Philippe Prevot and the equipe of LIMCA, Auch, where the first version of SOUND=SPACE was constructed, took place as a part of the Musica Nova Festival in Bremen and was recorded by Radio Bremen in 1986.
After completing the new software for SOUND=SPACE in 1988, I started working on a number of new pieces which employed it as an 'instrument' to be used in performance in many fundamentally different ways. HEAD PIECES explores the possibilities of the system in which the performers have maximum control but move as little as possible.
The two-dimensional position and movement of only the head of each of the two performers is measured. These measurements are converted either into trigger values for specific sounds or into two independent values for 'activity' which in turn give the players access to structural controls over a composing algorithm.
The premiere of HEAD PIECES took place during the Nettlefold Festival, London in 1988, performed by Nouritza Matossian and the composer.
While I was at IRCAM, Paris, carrying out my research project on 3-dimensional sounds (see PAS a PAS…music for ears in motion) I chanced upon another very interesting process of creating / modulating sounds: very slowly phase-shifting 256 oscillators all generating the same sound (the first 32 harmonics) at the same frequency. Over the period of time it takes all the oscillators to reach that point at which they are, for a very brief moment, all in phase, each of the harmonics is 'liberated' from the fundamental, is resolved as a sustained pitch fading in and out as often as its harmonic number. This led me to plan an instrumental piece in which I would incorporate an attempt to recreate this sound in as many different ways as possible.
ORIGO was premiered at the Bath Festival by Lontano, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez, in 1985
sorry, not ready yet....
This work was composed as an alternative solution to a sketch for a work entitled Time for the End of Music for 5 pianists with chain saws. There was, however, no future for this piece, despite the fact that the pianists were allowed to wear protective clothing, face masks, heavy leather gloves and not even required to cut up pianos.
The original version of the work used slides for the visual material. Later, a 16mm B/W silent film - showing three stages in the life of a piano, accompanied by a pianist - was made by the composer in Italy in 1976 with the kind and essential collaboration and under the imaginative direction of Davide Mosconi, composer and photographer extraordinaire.
The first performance of the original version with slides took place in Madrid under the direction of Thomas Marco in 1969.
In several earlier solo works I relied upon the additional complexity of a live time delay to allow me to create a wider range of timbres and densities than were otherwise possible. In NAIIRI, however I decided to take another approach: simply to amplify the instrument, and by amplifying it, to expand the publicly audible sounds and timbres to the same magificent range that the violinist can hear while playing.
Consequently, this piece is an attempt to draw the ear away from the traditionally dominating foreground of pitch progressions, their histories and probable futures, to focus on a seemingly independent evolution of timbres arising from these pitches. A small amount of the pitch material was freely adapted from the liturgy of the Armenian Church, not note for note, but in spirit.
NAIIRI was commissioned by Haroutune Bedelian with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The first performance, by A.Balanescu, violin, took place as a part of the Nettlefold Festival, London in 1988. The second, remarkable performance by Darragh Morgan on an electric violin, took place London 2001.
The title for this work for amplified piano and SOUND=SPACE is borrowed from one of the sequences of Tai-Chi movements and is intended to evoke its essential structure and fundamental resonance. Numerous harmonic and rhythmic phrases, stronly contrasted and individual, are linked by a strict combination of algorithmic transformation. These transformations are designed to bring to mind the motions of a pendulum whose initial motions are gradually - chaotically - modified by external forces.
Little by little the 'pendulum' traces paths which become increasingly complex while impressing on succeeding paths the the direction and amplitude of the new forces. Thus no specific movement is ever entirely lost but the most recent force exert the greatest influence.
The score consists of two parallel sequences of events - one each for the two players - notated in a combination of graphic and space=time notation. These events are interpreted and transformed according to a set of instructions governing the register, duration, the number of times an event is to be repeated and how the event is to be linked to other events in its immediate surroundings. Throughout the repetition of any event, special indications govern how it is to be transformed within itself - dynamically or timbrally - as well as how it must be adapted or transformed in relation to its environment. Furthermore, an event may gradually either absorb a previous event, come into being out of nothing, transform into the next event or decay into nothing.
DIAGONAL FLYING was commissioned by Roger Woodward for the Extasis Festival of new music in Geneva, where it was premiered in 1989 by Roger Woodward, piano and Rolf Gehlhaar, SOUND=SPACE; it was also performed by the same ensemble during the Sydney Spring in 1990 and recorded for the ABC.
A Tokamak is an axi-symmetrical toroidal vacuum chamber in which plasma is contained and brought to extremely high temperatures by means of interacting electrical and magnetic fields.
TOKAMAK for piano and orchestra is a composition in four parts of which each part represents a phase of a larger process. Described abstractly, it is a process of an assimilation of energy and mass, within well-defined limits, up to a critical maximum. The arrival at any critical maximum has one of two consequences: either the limits are transgressed, the matter is transformed by the assimilated energy and the process is begun again, at a higher level, within newly defined limits, or, the limits hold absolutely, the matter collapses, 'melts down' and radiating its accumulated energy, is reduced in mass, and the process is begun again at a lower level, within narrower limits.
The 'matter' referred to consists of interval fields whose register, density, articulation, speed, timbre and loudness serve as the objects of this interaction of forces. The planning and design of this process, as in most of my works since 1979, was carried out with the aid of a computer, implementing a personal technique of composition which generates models of musical structures. Output in various types of notation - numerical, musical, graphic -, these models are constructed by the computer according to sets of rules which determine the fundamental - genetic - characteristics of the intended musical process.
Consequently I was able to obtain not only reasonably rapid and accurate results on calculations involving quite complex interrelationships but also to generate numerous alternative versions of a partially indeterminate process composed of a probabilistic chain of causally related events.
The first version of TOKAMAK in three movements was completed in 1982; a fourth movement was added in 1987.
The first version was brilliantly premiered and recorded by Aloys Kontarsky with the Symphony Orchestra of the SWF, Baden-Baden, conducted by K.Kord, in 1983.