Saturday, 13 September 2008

seeds & bridges 2008 # 2

Being both a performer and an organiser of live events leads to all kinds of issues sometimes & here in Hull, where very little in the way of truely creative contemporary music takes place, one is always concerned about the audience both in terms of whether anyone will turn up and how they will react when they do.

With last night’s ‘seeds & bridges’ event featuring Angharad Davies, Catherine Kontz & myself we were all pleasantly surprised by the turn out (which left only a couple of empty seats) & more importantly the quality of it. Despite the fact that approx. 80% of those attending had no prior experience of contemporary composition everyone remained quiet, listened intently and several also spoke to us after the performances to ask interesting questions.

below are the programme notes:

‘….tonights concert bridges the area between improvisation and composition. The pieces chosen often allow for both compositional presence and flexibility for the performers – hence leading to music that stretches the path that winds between different focuses and subtleties’ (JrF)

Angharad Davies – solo improvisation (2008)

Alvin Lucier – ‘East Yorkshire (memory space)’ (1970 / 2008)….performed by Davies / Kontz

‘a memory of a space or environment specific to the geographical location of the performance forms the ‘score’. The players attempt to re-create this memory using only their chosen instruments or voices. In this instance Angharad & Catherine took notes whilst standing below the north tower of the Humber bridge & these formed the score for the piece’(JrF)

Catherine Kontz – ‘Woollen yarn’ (2008)....performed by Catherine Kontz

‘Woollen Yarn is a graphic score written for one performer playing three instruments. It belongs to the 'Woollen' series of pieces which I started in 2005 with 'Woollen Laces' and for which I sew the graphic instructions onto a black canvas’ (CK)

Thomas Stiegler's – ‘Sonata Facile’ (1993)....performed by Angharad Davies

…is the final part of the 3- part cycle "Kammerkomplex". These pieces approach the instrument as if discovered for the first time. "If you conceive of the instrument as a landscape," the composer says, "you find yourself confronted with a given infrastructure, a texture of possible routes: some predictable, some bumpy and wildly overgrown." In this landscape the pieces, as it were, explore various routes, learning the way as they go. In "Kammerkomplex" Thomas Stiegler conceives a constructive reduction of violin playing as a kind of virtuosity. A maximum of adventurousness and sensitivity is required from the player: a loving wrecklesness - Antoine Beuger


Pauline Oliveros – ‘The witness’ (1989)....performed by Davies / Kontz / French

‘The structure of ‘The witness’ consists of three strategies for listening and responding with guidelines for the use of the strategies. Appropriate spatial relationships are to be developed by the players during the performance through awareness of height, angle and distance and it’s effect on sound’ (PO)

Henri Vaxby – ‘Violin & Voice’ (2007)....perfomed by Angharad Davies

‘Derived from a series of compositions for strings based on the overtones of each instrument's open strings, 'Violin and Voice' continues to explore this sound-world with the help of the player's voice. First performed by Angharad Davies at Ad hoc 2008, London’

Christian Wolff – ‘Instrumentalist(s) – Singer(s)’ ....performed by Davies / Kontz / French

‘a series of melodic options and interactions are set out and acted upon by the players without the aid of any written score. One intention of pieces such as this, based on strategies for performance, is to allow the composition to be guided by the composers ideas and, at the same time, by the chosen performers own artistic sensibilities’ (JrF)

Catherine Kontz – ‘seeds (for dulcitone)’ / ‘bridges (for dulcitone)’ (2008)
....performed by Catherine Kontz

‘The graphic and spatial notation used in this set of two short pieces defines pitches, registers and dynamics precisely while leaving a little freedom in the actual placement of 'events'. 'Seeds' - 'Bridges' was especially written for tonight's concert’ (CK)

‘The dulcitone is , basically a small keyboard that uses tuned metal bars to produce the notes. It is a forerunner of the celeste & was manufactured from the late 1800’s up until the mid 1930’s. The instrument used tonight is my own & the pieces take into account the rather unique nature of it’s condition. Restoration of these instruments is almost impossible due to the sprung steel and tuned bars’ (JrF)

Davies / Kontz / French – ‘intuitive composition for trio’ (2008)
....performed by Angharad Davies, Catherine Kontz & Jez riley French

‘A compositional arc develops from the intuitive interaction of the chosen players. The outcome hovers between a successful forward momentum and the inevitable fragility of focused interplay’ (JrF)