The Center for New Music & Audio Technologies Presents:
New Music with Computers and New Digital Technologies
February 2, 1992 8 PM
Hertz Hall University of California, Berkeley
Prelude (1991) Garnett
Flute Fantasy (1990) Garnett for flute and conducted electronics Priscilla Call, flute Guy Garnett, conductor
Esquisse (1992) Smith for flute and digital resonance Priscilla Call, flute Ronald Smith, electronics
Miroirs Deformants (1989) Verin for oboe and tape Denis Harper, oboe
Multitudinous Verses (1991-92) Reynolds for Alto voice, SY77, SY22, and Macintosh with Samplecell Elena Benzoni, alto Jude Navari, synthesizers
Interlude (1991) Garnett
Postlude 91991) Garnett
Heptadecatonic Drops (1990) Hajdu for MIDI-devices and computer in 17-tone temperament
Responsory (1991) Felciano for solo male voice and live electronics Richard Crocker, voice Richard Felciano, conductor
Two Songs (1991) Garnett for soprano and electronics Gia * L'alto veliero Leah Fitchen, soprano Guy Garnett, conductor
With the exception of Miroirs Deformants by Verin, all works were realized at the Center for New Music & Audio Technologies (CNMAT).
The Flute Fantasy was written in the summer of 1990 for Rachel Rudich who gave its premiere performance at CNMAT's 1750 Arch Street home in October of that year. Though that first performance used a tape for the electronic parts, the work has since been revised and will be presented tonight in its new form for flute and conducted electronics. The electronic parts now follow the tempo, phrasing, and dynamics of a conductor. This allows the rhythmic structure of the fantasy to be more fluid and there fore to play a strong role in projecting the musical sense.
Esquisse was composed in January 1992 and explores several colors of resonance as well as the contrasts created by the different registers and timbres of the flute. The pitch material for the piece is derived from a single symmetrical sonority. The resonance program, Waveguides, employed in Esquisse, was written by Brian Link at CNMAT.
Multitudinous Verses is a work in progress for live voice, synthesizers, and Macintosh computer. With it I explore the depth of meanings in six poems of Ping Hsin's from her collection, Mutitudinous Stars and Spring Waters. In the two pieces presented tonight, the singer sings the text as it is written in Hsin's verse. Against this I overlay a computerized version of the poems in which spoken readings of the texts are altered to highlight the inner meaning of each poem. Both the synthesizer's harmonies and the singer's line are derived from the contours of the spoken poems. This work is dedicated to my friends, Laura and Dan: Laura, for graciously lending her voice for recording, and Dan, for giving me the inspiration to write this piece.
Heptadecatonic Drops is my first piece consistently written in non-standard tuning. The composition is based on previous research allowing me to select a musical system according to the factors equidistance, concord, and control of the melodic and harmonic events. For this piece I have picked the 17-tone temperament, a system that yields a closed circle of fifths almost perfectly in tune. Formally, the three movements Prologue, Etude, Epilogue -- although derived from the same musical material -- are arranged in a thesis-antithesis-synthesis manner.
Based on the plainsong Gradual for the mass of Christmas Day, Responsory is set up in such a way that the singer sings only the original chant (and from the original neumatic notation). While there are no new pitches, individual contours are isolated through pauses and sometimes repetitions, in order to form the appropriate "contrapuntal" interaction with the processed sound, which is itself derived solely from the singer's voice. The composition of the work consisted in designing processes whose character would evolve to a conclusive end, not simply a momentary interaction with each plainsong gesture. Such a creative approach bears much in common with that of painters like Jackson Pollack, where much depends upon the artist's ability to select from available data that which will interact effectively with the frame -- or, in this instance, the processing. Of course, Pollack created the data with the painting in mind, as I created the processing with the chant in mind. the nature of that processing owes not a small amount to my fascination with the ideas of my distinguished colleague, Richard Crocker, regarding the Responsories of the monastic office -- specifically those ideas concerning "the whole diatonic pitch set ... potentially sounding, before, around, and beyond any particular pitch that is sung," to quote him directly, and that "this pitch set is tuned, with all pitches in as many relationships of maximum resonance as possible. In practical terms this means perfect fifths and fourths above and below." -- from my standpoint, not only an accurate estimation of the self-reinforcing properties of these intervals, but one which yields (appropriately?) the bell-like combination tones which emerge toward the end. While a student in France, I once lived three weeks in a Benedictine monastery to study such music, and I have probably incorporated something of the extraordinary variety of distance and proximity cures which seemed to resonate form every room's stone walls and floors. In the interaction between the singer and the processed version of his own voice, the word "Responsory" takes on a new meaning, though one, I hope, which is not insensitive to its origins. My thanks to David Wessel and Guy Garnett of CNMAT for constant readiness to help with the electronics and to Richard Crocker for his encouragement.
Two Songs is for soprano voice and synthetic MIDI instruments. Both the soprano and the computer are conducted live, the latter using a Buchla Lightning and a score-following scheme in the MAX programming environment. The synthetic instruments (a Yamaha TG-77 and Waveguide Resonances on an AudioMedia card) are organized into two timbral categories: struck-string sounds based on varieties of piano and plucked-string sounds based on harp. Formally, both songs are grouped into sections defined largely by changes of harmony (supported by variations of texture and tessitura). The harmonic changes are brought about by exploiting trichordal partitions of an underlying first-order all combinatorial hexachord. Transformations of this primary hexachord are combined in such a way as to yield "weighted aggregates" of twelve pitches but only eleven pitchclasses. Work on the realization of this piece was completed at CNMAT in 1992. These songs are dedicated to Sherry Wang.
In a concert with so many technical requirements, there are always people behind the scenes working to make it all come together. Special thanks to Brian Link for his cheerful and unflagging help in all things, not the least of which is DSP coding. Thanks also to Michael Lee for his quick solutions to difficult programming problems.