8 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 7 - April 2002

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N.:w M11s1c tion and

N.:w M11s1c tion and reading. on this interesting Quick mentions only, therefore, of composer can be found at: · COMPOSER To CoMPoSER: Bra.dyworks at the Music Gallery on April 6; Udo Kasemets' AutoBiowillsonl2.html Musics: CODA, featuring music by http:/ L.C. Sn1ith&Kase11.1ets at The Chapel, Emmanuel College on April 14; arylkurtag.html interviewed by Paid Steenhuisen http://www.interl.og.coml- rune/ the TSO's new commissioned work by Jeff Ryan for violin & orchestra As always, space, or rather the on April 17;Tapestry New Opera lack of it, interferes with my giving Works Opera To Go, on April 22; everything in the montti its due here. and at the Music Gallery again, Janice Jackson, voice & Eve Egoyan, piano on April 27. And May 7 Soundstreams Canada/Music Toronto co-present an intriguing program featuring the Gryphon Trio along with Douglas Perry, viola, and Michael Redhill, narrator and Omar Daniel, the subject of this month's Composer to Composer interview, which is as they say, "coming up next. " . iiiiiiiiiil choreographer/set designer: marie-josee chartier. composer: henry kucharzyk. costumes: heather maccrimmon. lighting: mare parent. sculpture, sound, space + texture ... ·dancemakers' extreme physicality+ chartier's visually captivating, sculptured aesthetic + new music by henry kucharzyk = an extraordinary dance event ... not to be missed! · an ABSOLUT art event apri I 23 - 27, 2002 premiere dance theatre, harbourfront centre . tickets: 416-973-4000 OMAR DANIEL This spring, emerging from Omo.r Daniel's composition desk will be several new works, including a set of cabaret songs for Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, and a new chamber piece for Ottawa flutist Robert Cram. As well, during the Opera America conference, Tapestry New Opera will premiere a fully-staged version of his new 12-ininute horror opera Lisa, written with librettist Alex Poch­ Goklin. And May 7, Soundstreams' Encounters concert pairs Daniel with Australian composer Elena Kats­ Chemin. Daniel's music will be featured in two works, The Man Who Told Lies - a 20-minute fable on a text written and narrated by Michael Redhill, and The Flaying ofMarsyas for violin and live electronics, with the composer playing the electronics · suspended upside-down on the stage. STEENHUISEN: What was your inspiration for The Flaying of Marsyas? DANIEL: I wanted to work with live electronics, and create an interactive envirorunent in which movement and bodily gestures are converted into digital information sent to sound processors which alter the soun~ of the violin. The second inspiration is Titian's painting The Flaying of Marsyas(1515-76), whichdepictsthe final stages of a musical duel between the God Apollo and the satyr Marsyas. According to Greek mythology, Marsyas picked up the pan flute when Athena, daughter of Zeus, discarded it out of vanity - she thought that her face became bloated and ugly when she played the 1 instrument. Becoming an expei;t player, Marsyas challenged Apollo, the patron of music, to a performing contest. Apollo agreed but stipulated that the winner could decide the punishment of the loser. The judging Muses awarded the victory to Apollo, who chose to hang Marsyas from a tree and flay him alive. His sufferipg and death were lamented by earthly beings such as animals, other satyrs, and nymphs, whose flowing tears formed a river named·after him. It's no coincidence that in the' story and painting Apollo is depicted playing a stringed instrument, while Marsyas plays flute. In some cirdes, string instruments were considered more 'divine' by virtue of the mathematical principles they c;ould, .. easily illustrate, and wind instruments were considered 'pagan.' The myth is not only a parable on the dangers of audacity and prid,e, but also the victory of Apollo's noble music over the TOIJgh and lascivious . piping of his opponent. For my piece, I've distilled the Titian painting to its essential elements: Apollo playing a violin to the left, and Marsyas (in this case, the composer) hanging upside down in the centre .. Fundamentally, throughout the piece the god plays, and the satyr reacts, physically /electronically. · Another related source is Andreas Ve:;alius' 1543 collection of anatomical etchings entitled De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The woodcuts' are attlibuted to Titian, and the poses of the flayed/dissected figures are employed structurally in the piece. Marsyas, while hanging, adopts the poses of Vesalius' characters to demarcate compact one-minute sections in the piece. STEENHillSEN: Can you describe further the relation between the myth/painting, and the compcisition? DANIEL: To a certain extent, the characters in the music are representations of the two main characters in the myth. When I went about composing it, the first thing I· did was write a 12-minute solo violin piece, which I thought about in relation to Apollo playing while Marsyas was being flayed. It starts off with a virtuoso passage showing off Apollo's prowess on the instrument. After that first minute and a half, the piece moves through various compositional stages depicting first a type of seduction, with Apollo toying with Marsyas as 16 Apri I 1 -- May 7 2002

• NEW Music he's ' hanging upside down, then a . piece tends to wallow more in the figures reportedly in an attempt to murder/death scene, followed by a c0ncluding lament. By the time the deaih scene comes around, the . electronic alterations to the violin ~undproduce something very ;i'~ive and highly noise based, niucfrle5s harmoruous than at the foginhlng. STEENHUISEN: What is the ruitute gratuitous than the symbolic. As the piece unfolds, interestingly enough, the point could be made that in the very last section, the lament, the samples that are triggered, and the proc:esSing that is achieved by the hanging musician is the purest in the entire piece, so there may be something to that. remove the person-to-person associations and give us the distance and emotional detachment to maybe allow us to face the satyr, and to endure the sight of such a gruesome event. It seems the result would be quite the opposite in a live perform- ance of your piece - hanging upside- , down will heighten the torturous 'arid function of the live electronics? STEENHUISEN: How is the flaying - nature o~ the story. I bring this up DANIEL There are two types - one reflected in the musical materials and because 111 many Greek sculptures, techniques? Marsyas is tied upright. Why do you is the altered sound of file acoustic · think Titian portrayed the figure violin, and the second is a collection DANIEL: In terms of the solo violin hanging, and what is your intention in qf sampled sounds. A11y time the part, the music goes through phases: replicating this in performance? violin is heard through the ~ers, more aggressive toward 'the middle of ·it's a digitally processed manipulation the piece. Pitch-wise, it becomes DANIEL: I understand your point of the sound via the sensors attached more dissonant, the melodic contotir about the Baselitz figures, but if you to suspended musician, and triggered becomes more angular, and overall, loolq1t Marsyas in the Titian painting, •by body movement. The samples, more violent. In the lament, the and compare it with representations which comprise about 2 minutes of music hearkens back to more of him by other artists, Titian's is the the piece, reflect Marsyas' cries for consonant material. From the point most chilling, the most uncomfortable help, and are based on vocal., metal, and flute sounds. The electronic · of view of the solo violin part, it's what one might consider standard and and tortured. What struck me first about the painting was the tone and movement sensors are as follows: I intuitive dramatic techniques for brutality, and also the architecture of have a G-force controUer that senses depicting a; scenario which is it, the layout and geometry - . Apollo either gravity or acceleration - one is becoming worse and worse, In upright and to the left, a little higher, • attached to the back of my neck, and the other to my right wrist. are also touch controllers. These control things such as the volume of what'comes out of the speakers. ·For example, when my thumb is straight, terms of the el!!Ctronics, the sonic quality of the' voice, metal and flute samples ha:v,e a sharpness and aggressivel)ess to them. Within the context of each spmple, there is a metallic component, scraping or Marsyas hung in exact opposition. That is the crux of the concept to me, in bringing it to the stage. All that is required is a violinist to the left, and a simple suspension where I'm hung upside-down. It's very no sound comes from the speakers. striking metal. uncomfortable form~, especially ~ When it is fully bent, the maximum . time passes. The blood rushes to processed violin sound comes out. SfEENHUISEN: The pamter Georg your head for the first two minutes, There is also a flange patch, with one Baselitz started painting upside-down 1 and it's qui~ djfficult, but after that, ~. finger contrqlling delay time, another controlling reverberation, and another the spatial placement of the sound, and so on, effecting, ii1 real time, the processed sound of the violin. Essentially, the hanging figure is reacting to the violin and sending it back, so what we're hearing is the emotional response to what is being done to.Marsyas. STEENHUISEN: Why did you choose to set the flaying, which takes place after the musical duel, as opposed to the duel itself? DANIEL: That's interesting. I think it worked out this way because my initial attraction was to Titian's painting, which I discovered first. As time went on and I delved into the myth a little bit, I was most attracted to representing the paintrng with a c6mposition, but I could see the musical competition as a future avenue ifl were to expand the piece. STEENHUISEN: In the Renaissance, flaying symbolized the removal of the external self, and the peeling away of layers, perhaps emotional. Is this reflected? DANIEL: I didn't include that in the concept, but. .. (laughing) I think the April 1 -- May 7 2002 the body adjusts. You have to keep the body moving, for circulation, which conveniently refates to the poses and sensors of the electronics part. STEENHUI~EN: Apollo was seen as a prototype pf, the god of reason and intellect -- noble music based on mathematical science and symbolized by strings. Marsyas, the pagan, is seen as earthly and rough. Does the music reflect this? DANIEL: Not so much, but it's the kind of thinking I would approach in another reflection on this story. I have the idea to do a sequence of these pieces, maintaining the relationship of an immobil,e electronic musician in varying associations with an acoustic performer or performers. Another is~ is the relationship between composer and performer,. and there's obviously another level of subtext there. People who experi- . ence tllis piece become concerned, ' because they sense the powerlessness of the hanging figure within the context of the piece. This tension interests me. It's no mistake that I've chosen myself as the composer to be the musician ' hanging on the stage. It explores another level of the multi-dimensional relationship between composer and performer. theComp:re-NCMI presents BRADYWORKS April 6 at 8pm ~ St.George the Martyr 197 John Street' (at Stephanie Street) tickets ~00 I Students & Seniors .00 . Tim Brady surrounds us with sampled, tweaked electroacoustics. Layered with textured guitar work to Annie Tremblay's seasoned soprano, ; electronically fused together to create 'a masterpiece of sonic resonance. A must attend performance for new music lovers.· Included will be a special perfonnarice of a newiy restored, digitally remastered version of R. Murray Schafer's "Music for the Morning of the Wor1d." Also Featuring Tim Brady's "Music Box Belle Curves (Hello Paris)" and "Sauchiehall Street'' and Frederic Roverselli's "Qichotte," .. 17

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