Last night was the premiere of my new piece Dreaming of Trees, for chamber ensemble [alto recorder, clarinet, harp, violin, ‘cello, soprano voice, tenor voice] and (for pragmatism’s sake) optional choir. Composed for Forest Collective/Exaudi Youth Choir’s ‘Bois’ concert and launching from the given theme…trees.
My chosen tree, the Moreton Bay Fig. The musical and text materials that went into the piece were mostly drawn from bits of information I gathered about the Moreton Bay Fig, pitch material extrapolated from the structure of cellulose and metacellulose (the major building blocks of wood), formal scheme derived from information about the growth cycle of the plant, semi-poetic text taken from the blog of a person claiming to have received a spiritual ‘tranmission’ from a Moreton Bay Fig tree.
Last night’s concert was also my public debut as a conductor, quite an experience.
Many thanks are due to all the musicians involved for their effort, and to the audience for their welcoming response.
I made some music and the sound design for this exhibition about Australia’s first Muslim community, the Cameleers, and their role in the exploration and settlement of Australia’s interior.
The exhibition is being held at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum on Flinders Street Melbourne, until September 19 2010.
Although I’ve done sound installation as part of other projects and made things that skirt around the edges between music and ambient sound this is the first time I’ve considered myself to be working primarily as a sound designer. It’s a whole new way of thinking about sounds, well for me at least.
The main thing that concerned me working on this project was authenticity, especially with it being in the context of a museum exhibit. Although coming up with a perfectly authentic sound would be nigh on impossible, given the time constraints and that I don’t live anywhere near the western desert, and that the Cameleers of Australia’s pioneer days are now gone, I ended up creating what I would almost term a ‘hyper-real’ sound environment. I restricted myself to the sounds I knew would be in the environment specified in the brief (campsite in the desert), and excluded anything I couldn’t be certain of, and using the palette left to me I created a kind of caricature of that place. Caricature might not be exactly the right word, it seems disrespectful in the context, but I can’t think of anything more apt at the moment.
Make the time to go and have a look at the exhibition, the stories and the artifacts are fascinating.
Admission to the museum is $8 for adults and free for children and concession holders.
Very special thanks to Ben Landau (Exhibition Designer) for inviting me to do something a little outside my norm.
I had a meeting with Delwyn Freestone of Chrysalis Gallery and Studio last week to get better acquainted with the space, and to clarify what kind of acoustic we can expect to be working to. Below are some photos which give a bit of a survey of the main spaces of the gallery.
A concert/exhibition/installation of new works by 3rd year composition students of the VCAM School of Music. Featuring new works exploring space and the intersection of technology and performer by composers Dean Gourley and Evan Lawson, Sean Mears, Luke Paulding, and Camille Robinson. There will also be an exhibition of scores and recordings by the composers.
The show will be held at Chrysalis print gallery in East Melbourne on the evening of Friday the 6th of November.
Last Friday the Southbank Brass Ensemble again performed my piece ‘Burning Water’ this time as part of the Melbourne International Festival of Brass, and they again did a great job. Thanks to Russell Davis for conducting and for including it on the program, and thanks to the players of the ensemble for all their hard work, and thanks to the festival organisers.
A quick bit of background on this event: earlier this year the Institute of Italian Culture and the VCAM school of Music held a series of workshops hosted by Carlo Forlivesi as part of the composition competition “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”, for which all the participants selected a poem by an Italian poet from a list provided, and composed a work inspired by the text. The intention of the competition was to celebrate the Italian language, as well as mark the centenary of the founding of the Italian Futurist movement. Following the workshops three finalists were selected from the participants, Chiaki Kato, Mike Solomon and myself, and the ensemble Quiver prepared the work s for performance at the final culmination of the process: today’s concert at Iwaki Auditorium.
This afternoon Quiver (Aviva Endean, Jessica Fotinos, Rebecca Lane, Luke Paulding, Matthias Schack-Arnott) delivered a pretty amazing performance premiering Kato’s “Alti Alati”, Solomon’s “granini di luce beccuciati da uccelli di silenzio” and my piece “5 Epigrams”. A special mention should also go to Flavia Coassin and Tindaro Di Luca for their recitations of the poetry, and of course thanks to the main organisers Dr Stefano Fossati and Dr Donna Coleman. The concert was recorded by the ABC and hopefully I’ll soon have some audio to put on here, at least an excerpt. I believe I also saw someone there videoing the event, and hopefully I can get hold of a copy as audio only wouldn’t really do the piece justice, there being a lot of visual performance elements.
As for my piece itself I’m glad I had such dedicated performers working on it, digging into the text of the poem and my research on the Futurist movement took me out on a limb with a few of the ideas I threw in there and being the excellent performers they are Quiver made it work. What follows is the text from the preamble that Dr Coleman read out before the piece.
“This piece picks out what I found to be the most vivid phrases in each
section of Ventroni’s text, and responds to and illustrates them
aurally and peformatively. These at times confronting images and the
abstract mode of their combination formed the foundation of this
piece, upon which I composed my own poem in sound.
At a fundamental level inspiration was also taken from the rhythms of
Ventroni’s language in the original and in translation, and from the
very idea of translation itself, which as an English speaker was
unavoidable in dealing with the text and which became very important
to me in making this work.”