…Taking a little Christmas time off from writing this thing, and I had to have a couple of medical procedures last week, so obviously there haven’t been as many postings as of late… Anyway, there is some news concerning my music.
First of all, this recently came back from the concert on the 20th last month. See my previous posting. R to L: Me, Beth, Bruce.
Bruce’s friend also took this video of a fragment of one of our pieces during the concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gixQZIXz4i0 (As you watch it, keep in mind that it was recorded with a cell phone.) No, it isn’t one of the “StormSound” pieces; it isn’t a piece at all, but part of a free improv session. Some things to watch for:
0:52 – Some extended piano-string techniques.
1:15 – Bass clarinet solo by Bruce.
1:48 – “Mewing” sound by all three players (including me on piano, using one of George Crumb’s “on the wires” techniques).
2:33 – Fast runs: I begin this on the piano and Beth picks it up on the clarinet.
Now, onto the “StormSound” Cycle itself. Keith Eisenbrey, on his blog (also about "new music") came up with an interesting comment that the acoustic sounds seem to derive from the electronic sounds; the opposite of "usual" for electro-acoustic music. This is exactly what I've wanted to do: the electronic sounds in the Cycle form a universe, so to speak, within which the "live" instruments have various amounts of freedom to play. They (the "live" instruments) are part of the whole, but not completely embedded within it. (This is the same idea as in an earlier piece of mine, "From the Oceans; From the Stars", which began life as a doodle during my undergrad college coursework at Seattle Pacific University in the early 1980's.) Concerning the Cycle: I’ve just about finished it, as far as the written material goes. Recruitment of musicians has begun. The two “signals” pieces that I blogged about previously as giving me problems have been fixed – one in an unexpected way in that one of the musicians I wanted to play in it turns out to have a set of home-made zither-like instruments – exactly what I’d like to do for one of the other pieces in the Cycle but I didn’t think anybody would have any…
So as it stands now, here are the 21 pieces, all 9 hours’ worth:
1. Nature Lives in Motion (NLIM): piano, string bass, home-made zither-like instruments, electronics
2. Song from the Voices on Earth (clarinet, electronics)
3. Desert Bloom (clarinet, electronics)
4. Circle Song (clarinet, trombone, electronics)
5. Song from the Storms and the Winds (NLIM II) (electronics only)
6. Songbird and Stillness (trombone, electric guitar, electronics)
7. Soundform I: Voice (electronics only)
8. Spherics (trombone, electric guitar, electronics)*
9. The Songbird Flies Unhindered Through Storm and Violence (NLIM III) (electronics only)
10. Song from the Winds of the Sun (bass drum, electronics)
11. Song from Magnetic Fields (cymbals, electronics)
12. Malacandra (marimba, vibraphone, wind chimes, electronics)
13. Soundform II: Cricket (shakers, electric guitar, electronics)
14. Night Signals – Journey to the Sea (2 bass clarinets, electronics)
15. Soundform III: Wind (marimba, electric guitar, electronics)
16. Through a Glass Darkly (Out of the Depths) (piano, electronics)
17. Song from Deep Silence (piano, electronics)
18. Frogscape (piano, electronics)
19. Day Signals – Sonic Nebula (flute, piano, drum kit, electronics)
20. Soundform IV: Spaces (electronics only)
21. Consort of Voices (flute, piano, marimba, vibraphone, electronics)
Besides the obvious structure of seven sections, there are some subtle symmetries for those who care to find them: Soundforms I and IV use electronics only, for example, and Soundforms II and III use electric guitar, percussion, and electronics. Not noticeable from this list: the only two pieces where the electronics are not based on processed nature sounds are the second in parts two and six. NLIM is by far the longest piece (over two hours), but the total time of part seven is almost exactly the same as that of part one. The most complex pieces, musically, are also in parts one and seven. …and so on.
*Yes, for those who noticed, “Spherics” has been remixed from the concert last time. The sound worlds of the clarinets and the electronics clashed, to my ear at least; I’ve opted for didgeridoo sounds from the trombone (or maybe a real didgeridoo) and ambient sounds from the guitar, with reverb on extreme. The clarinets have moved to “Night Signals – Journey to the Sea”.
(This posting is Dec. 5, 2010; 170 days until the first performance of the complete StormSound Cycle)