Decontamination #14 – Material things
02/05/2018, Carole Nash Recital Room, Royal Northern College of Music, 20.00
Rainbirds* – Hanna Hartman
for amplified flute and two water sprinklers
The two from Rastibon could start a hailstorm** – Larry Goves
for two alto saxophones and electronics
The Grand Tour – Joanna Baillie
Horizontal cracking on concrete pavements – Hanna Hartman
for two alto saxophones and electronics
Meeting the Universe Halfway** – Matthew Sergeant
for flute, soprano saxophone, electric guitar and cello (both with preparations) and three apparatuses
*Pending final logistical confirmation.
** First performance
The House of Bedlam
Kathryn Williams (flutes)
Carl Raven (saxophones)
Anthony Brown (alto saxophone)
Tom McKinney (electric guitar)
Paul Grennan (cello)
Larry Goves (director)
Great news that The House of Bedlam are returning to the RNCM with a new programme of excellent pieces. Also exciting that two of the featured composers will be giving presentations on the day; Hanna Hartman will be talking to the RNCM composers as part of their regular Wednesday seminar series and Matthew Sergeant will be presenting as part of the RNCM’s public research forum series.
These pieces are all connected by idiosyncratic approaches to material. In Hanna Hartman’s Rainbirds the sounds of the flute intermingle and blend with the sound of two water sprinklers spraying into and filling two large buckets. In her Horizontal Cracking in Concrete Pavements electronically prepared sounds of body and environment blend, are enhanced, confused and contradicted by two saxophones.
Matthew Sergeant has kindly written us a new piece. In his Meeting the Universe Halfway (inspired by Karen Barad’s extraordinary book of the same name), three new apparatuses (each made of a specific material (i.e. wood, metal etc.)) behave as analogues for compositional behaviours within the piece except with little/minimal human involvement. So cascading nails behaves like canon, an irregular pendulum like hocket and descending wooden balls on bamboo like organum. Read more about it on Matt’s website. Here is a film of the first apparatus in action and images of the other two.
In Joanna Bailie’s short film The Grand Tour the starting material is a box of old photographs from her late’s father’s various trips abroad. The piece explores themes of memory, loss and love through an entanglement of this source material with techniques typical to the sampling and manipulation found in her compositional work. Joanna writes:
The box of photos goes far beyond a traditionally captured film, or even a time-lapse film in terms of its gappiness, and we might imagine that the irregular spans of time that lie between each photo are filled with whole undocumented chunks of my father’s story. Much of the film is concerned with a kind of futile attempt at reconstituting a whole from this sparse set of samples.
Finally I’ve written a new piece, The two from Rasiton could start a hailstorm, commissioned by saxophonist Anthony Brown and premiered here ahead of his planned recording project. This new work is, in my mind, the partner piece to hollow yellow willow in that it deals with antiphonal communication. However the paths these two pieces have taken could not by more different. The piece gradually moves from complex and problematised communication between the two players to straightforward communication and independence; for me the communication between the players is the primary material. As this instrumental theatre drives the piece the sonic interactions don’t always fall into line. The notation is partially conventional, partially time-space and partially based on speech (starting with chant and going, via conversation and argument to speech/soliloquy). This text (and the title) is borrowed from Lars Von Trier’s script for Antichrist; this is for the intensity and clarity with which the two protagonists’ relationship falls apart rather than the violent and controversial imagery.
One great shame about this concert is the decision to postpone the second performance of Mauricio Pauly’s Fold Explain Fold Leave revisited (backdoor). Freshly revised and now with two electronics operators I have exciting plans for this piece later in the year and will be posting about this soon.