Decontamination #10: Songs of mourning/music of suppression

Image from the score of Emily Hall’s Rest

Monday 8th May, Royal Northern College of Music Concert Hall

Tickets/info here.


Kleine Trommel und UKW-Rauschen (“Conceptio”) [2000] – Peter Ablinger

Piccolo und Rauchen [1996/97] – Peter Ablinger             

Rest (extracts) – Emily Hall & Toby Litt

Weiss/Weisslich 17 (extracts) – Peter Ablinger
Weiss/Weisslich 17b: Violine und Rauschen [1995]
Weiss/Weisslich 17g: Gitarre und Rauschen [1997/2011]
Weiss/Weisslich 17d: Flöte und Rauchen [1996]
Weiss/Weisslich 17c: Kleine Trommel und Rauschen [1994/2017]

Rest (extracts) – Emily Hall

Violine und Rauchen “Veronica” [1995/96] – Peter Ablinger

Rest (extracts) – Emily Hall

Olivia Carrell, Anna McLuckie & Eleanore Cockerham (voices)

Aiden Marsden (snare drum), Callum Coomber (guitar/FM radio), Henry Rankin (violin), Meera Maharaj (piccolo/flute)


Decontamination continues on Monday with a concert of characteristically stark contrasts. Here the ‘pop up secular requiem’ Rest, by Emily Hall & Toby Litt is punctuated by music for instruments and noise by Peter Ablinger.

Emily and Toby’s Rest emerged as the third in a cycle of pieces dealing with love, birth and death. Toby talks about the sequence eloquently in this short trailer which also includes some extracts from the music (performed by Lady Maisery for whom it was written).



Emily Hall: Photo by @cardigankate & @RobOrchard

I was seduced by the trajectory of this sequence of songs. The first is conventional, beautiful and folk-like. The second retains all these qualities and crafts them into a large scale narrative. This third cycle, designed to be sung by professionals, amateurs or friends, is true chamber music. I’ve been hearing about the rehearsals in the singers’ house; this is as appropriate a platform for this music as any concert hall. When I first heard these songs I could hear how they might be comforting at times of loss.

Peter Ablinger

I have chosen two selections of piece for instruments and noise by Peter Ablinger; some from Weiss/Weisslich 17 and the rest from the Instruments und Rauchen seriesThese two collections engage with elusive features of looking at and listening to music with the sound of the instruments embedded in, behind or alongside a veil of electronically produced noise; a kind of strange take on a live instrumental acousmatic music. Ablinger writes about Violine und Rauchen “Veronica”:

The first in the series of pieces for instruments and noise. A piece about complementary noise, about disappearing, about audibility.

The language of form in this pieces the composer sometimes decribes as “suprematistic” (after Melewitch), because of its use of “geometric” elements, like the surface, the line, the dot, which appear in sequences of a kind of “abstract” narration.

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