5 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 9 - June 2003

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years. This is from

years. This is from speaking to people who are of a generation a year or two younger than me, and have what seems to me a very narrow sense of history. A lot of people have absolutely no sense of anything that's happened outside their lifetime, and sometimes within the range of their lifetime. I mentioned Bing Crosby's l-WUte Otristmas. I use that one specifically because for close to 50 years it was the most popular recording, in terms of sales and airplay, but there's a whole generation of people who seem not to recognize it now. That requirement we talked aboutbefore, of recognizing the source in the transformation, in some cases just isn't there. I didn't expect it would disappear so quickly from generation to generation. Perhaps there is a life span in these pieces, although I think the appeal might be with a narrower portion of the population than I've always thought was possible. I've always thought that these are potentially popular pieces in themselves, partly because of their close proximity to pieces that have proven to be popular. STEENHUISEN: As the source material fades, is it, in fact, your technique that emerges, or what you do with materials? OSWALD: It might be possible because I think there's lots of interesting things that go on, not independent of the source, but as a result of the source material, that end up probably being interesting on their own. STEENHUISEN: Ultimately, we 're highlighting the fact that they 're layered. Over time, I think it's inevitable with any music, but in some »cys it's more pronounced with yours, how some layers subside and others emerge more clearly. OSWALD: I think with my 'plunderphonics' oeuvre in particular, it's less likely to be identified with an era. There's something less timely about most of the pieces I've made. · They definitely have some degree of the era of the source because more often than not we can place a lot of these very popular examples whether Beethoven or the Beatles to a given period down to the decade. But since I don't think I've been directly influential to any particular musical styles, and given that in some cases you can't tell it's manipulated recordings, some of them exist out of time. I think particularly with this other category of mine, which are just performable 'plunderphonics' pieces that have been notated and in all cases to some extent derived from the classi- 20 cal repertoire, particularly the very often than not were originally a popular classical repertoire, there's straight-ahead4/4. even less of a sense of what time they STEENHUISEN: But it seems the were composed in. Some would def- transposition-elongating, or trans-· initely be accused of being part of the , posing up or down the original, source post-modern era. material- conceptually, that's very STEENHUISEN: "'1zy do you use important. Beethoven and the Beatles as sound sources so often? OS.WALD: Yeah, although it's almost exclusively transpositions in oc­ OSW ALD: I don't know. The face- taves. I've never really been a samtious answer is that I start going pier player, and never liked anything through the alphabet and get them... you do easily on samplers -having a STEENHUISEN: Why not Boult!'l soum source that goes up and down then? Or Berlo? Don't enough peo- the chromatic scale, getting shorter as you go higher, and longer as you pie know their music? go lower. Those kinds ofeffects I've OSWALD: Well, there is that. I used very rarely. It's something that was very conscious of it when I was overly emphasizes the artificial naworking with W-ebern's music. It ture of the original recording. More hadn't risen to the level of any sort of often I tend to revel in illusion. familiarity with the public. I know STEENmrrSEN: You seem to take that having grown up with this isola- the origiilal idea as though it's a baltion of the 20th Century composer from any sortofpopUiarity inclassi- loon, andyoublowitup. With helical musical circles, in order to make wn. music that I thought was ... let's say, OSWALD: Yeah, which is when useful ... it was necessary to create Dolly Parton sounds like a chipbridges. One of the most obvious munk. Doing things in registers exwas Beethoven because he's probably treme from the original, like taking the most pervasive composer in this the opening of Lohengrin and speeding society. If I made pieces that sound- it up sixteen times -I think I got the ed like Beethoven, by the advantage original impulse from the science ficthat I am using Beethoven's music, I tion writer J.G. Ballard, who enviend up sounding like Beethoven. Per- sioned a future where people ingested haps then I wouldn't immediately be Wagner's operas in seconds, at ulbranded a 20th Century composer trasonic frequencies, arxl discussed and not experience those kinds of the varying aural ambrosia of differthings that happen where people leave ent performances. So, I tried that the hall before the piece begins. Hav- out. Even earlier than that, I'd been ing said that, I have no particular listening to other thlligs, particularly great attachment to Beethoven, and I Stravinsky - and some of them have rarely, if ever, sit down to listen to to do with these cictave transposi- Beethoven when I don't have to. It tions. It goes back to when I was a just pops up all over the place. He's kid and had a 4-speed record player obviously on the same level as the and tended to listen to LPs at 78 rpm. Beatles by the fact that some of his · It's not exactly an octave increase in music is so easily recognizable by the speed, but you do have an approxibroad populace. Tchaikovsky is up mate doubling of speed and the sense there too. It's easy to say you like of things going by twice as quick, Beethoven, a bit harder to say you which in some cases I thought was likeTchaikovsky. veryexciting. Whenigotaroundto STEENHUISEN: listening to the doing this on tape recorders it was 'plunderphonics'pieces, your tech- definitely octave transpositions. STEENHUISEN: "'1zy? nique is often to contort the expected beat, but also, rather than processing or cross-synthesis, to vary the speed, transpositions of" pitch, duration -effectively, the scale of the sound: lWiat 's your goal with these types of" transfigurations? OSWALD: People point out the odd rhythmic aspects of these things quite often, and I think that's where that dream sense of improvised music comes in. The unpredictable, dare I say organic aspects of rhythm in freely improvised music having a great influence on rhythms which more OSWALD: Out of curiosity in part. That's the initial impetus for all these things, womering what they soun:l like under different coOOitions. Quite surprisingly, given the way the record industry tries to legislate listener activity, there've never been commandments printed on records that say "Do not play this at the other speeds on your record player." Back in the old days, when you did have those choices, to change the speed, I dd STEENHUISEN: We listm a very specific »cy to the 'plunderphonics' pieces. listming to them can be very concrete, very comparative and mnemonic. Is there an element of the abstraction in your other music that you wish were in the digital? r OSWALD: Very definitely the primary intent of listening, say, in my improvised music activity, is to engender conversation. I have never really cared too much about how listeners may hear an improvisatory perfonnance, and I don't really care if there are listeners or not - maybe I've got some kind of allegiance with Milton Babbitt here. But I do care in the eXtreme what the person I might be playing with hears. Aro how they're responding, and their sense of what's going oq can only be read in the way they're playing. So, it's a direct feedback circuit that gives me some sort of impression of a listening activity. STEENHUISEN: In the midst of all the samples, transpositions, transformations, progressions through scale andfrequency, therecognizedmateri- ' a{s (borrowed or stolen), where are you? OSW ALI): I'm on the other side of loudspeakers along with everybody else. STEENHUISEN: lWlere is your . imprint? OSWALD: It's something I never really found appealing in talented people - that they have a distinct personality and can ortly play one way, although some people do that one thing · quite wonderfully. I think I've been able to be quite amorphous in this production role. If you think of me in the traditional record producer's role - the person that cultivates aild brings along thepersonality in the recording, whether it's a particular cl:iaracter or conglomerate of characters or style - in that respect I think I manage to be somewhat transparent. At first, I was dismayed when people would say, "Your music always has quirky rhythms." I've got so many different rhythmic characters I've incorporated into these pieC:es that I'm disappointed to be categorized that way. So, the short answer to the question of where am I in these things is - I'm invisible. · I don't think people picwre me while they're listening to my music in the same way that they'd be picturing Glenn Gould slouched over - the piano while listening to the Goldberg Variations or even a scowling Boult!'l hovering over his score. I don't know if I'm inaudible, but at least I'm appreciably invisible. June 1 - July 7 2003

June offerings from Toronto's Coalition of New Music Presenters ARRAYMUSIC presents FUI'URE LAB Young Composers' Workshop SunJune 1, Bpm, Music Gallery future lab features new works by the artists selected for this year's Young Qomposers' Workshop, now in its seventeenth year, who worked directly with the Arraymusic ensemble thrbughout the development of the . new work. This year's Young Composers are: Jennifer Butler (Roberts Creek, BC), Hector Bravo Benard (Mexico City, Mexico), Colin Clark (foronto, ON), Eric Clark (Victoria, BC) 'a'nd Sabrina Schroeder (Victoria, BC). CAii-ARRAY Sat;f/U1e 14, 7pm, Music GGJlery With a silent auction, eclectic music by local Toronto musicians, refreshments, and premium quality beer supplied by Unibroue, Arraymusic's annual fundraiserpromises 'to be swank and entertaining. COLLABORATIONS: A Chamber Arts Experience presents PRISONMS Wednesday, June 11, 7:3(.pm, duMawier Theatre Cen!re In this chamber arts experience, vo- · cal, chamber, and electro-acoustic music are combined with dance, computer-generated imagery and the spoken word in an exploration of the human struggle to find meaning and beauty in an environment ruled by science and technology. The music of Canadian composers Jeffrey Ryan, Peter Hatch, Leonard Cohen, Hildegard Westerkarnp, and Michael Colgrass will be featured. Performing artists include vocalist Jasmine Baird, dancer Ryan Boorne, and CBC radio broadcaster Tom Allen. CONTACT contemporary music presents AMOUR the language of ... *An official event of Pride Toronto* Tuesdpy, June 24, Bpm wiJh 7pm pre-concert talk, Music GaJlery The issue of same sex love and its place in history is addressed in this concert featuring compositions by Barry Truax (Vancouver), Michael Gfroerer (foronto), Michael Parker (Halifax), Lou Harrison (US), and the world premiere of a new work by Ann Southam. Performed by Peter Pavlovsky, double bass, Michael Morgan, baritone, and the CON­ TACT contemporary music ensemble: Akiyo Hattori, clarinet; Michael Gfroerer, piano; and Jerry Pergolesi,' ~ion. MUSIC GALLERY presents technqt V .2 - ARTISTES INVITEES Saturday, June 28, doors at Bpm ' Produced in collaboration with technot (Jeremy Mimnagh/TJtilityfforonto + GordonAllen/Ovalroaster/ Montreal), the evening features performances by Tim Hecker (V ancouver ,'BC), Ghislain Poirier (Montreal, PQ), Granny 'Arc (Vancouver, BC) and vitaminsforyou (Winnipeg, MB). GUEST PRESENTATIONS* at the MUSIC GALLERY TIIE MICROPHONES with PICASfRO + 00 POLMO POLPO Tuesday June 3, 9pm' TIIE CANADIAN ELECIRONIC ENSEMBLE Thursday, June 19, Bpm GLASS ORCHESfRA Sat, June 21, Bpm *Jn addition to its core season, the Music Gallery makes available approximptely 50 evenings per year for artists and groups to produce their own events. MUSIC GALLERY INSTITUTE presents Family and Adult Summer Classes June 3L25 and July 8-30, MGIStudio, 219-(j() Atlantic Avenue COMPUIER-ASSISTED MUSIC Using Freeware software (yes Free software!), this introductory course emphasizes the fundamentals of MIDI and how to use your computer as a musical instrument. CRE417VEIWORI.D PERCUSSION Participants learn to play a range of hand ,and mallet instruments from a collection of djembes, darabukas, bongos, tong drums, singing bowls, gongs, cymbals, and artist-made 'glass lithophones. Professional Development Workshops for Teachers, August 18-28 Workshops in music offer the opportunity to develop practical skills and learn how to facilitate exciting music and movement prograffiming with strong curriculum connections for students of all ages and abilities. See for details and discounts. SOUNI>STREAMS CANADA, DanceTheatre David Earle and the Pierrot Ensemble present THE MERMAN OF ORFORD by Harry Somers Mllilic Director Robert Cram June12-14at Bpm, June 15 at 3pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Based on a legend that tells of fishermen near Orford Castle catching a strange, wild "Merman" in their nets in 1167, award-winning choreographer David Earle brings a new, mesmerizing interpretation to this dark tale of mystery and cruelty. The work, developed in collaboration with Robert Cram, Artistic Director of the Harry Somers Recording Project, brings to life a lost work of Canadian coinposer, Harry Somers. funding partners \ '6 C.nad. Coundl Cons.ii du Alb forth•Atts duC.l'lada ·'\~~\ \.J 2003: Our Fourth Fabulous Season Westminster Ensemble Flute & Classical Guitar Fri.,July 11, 2003 8:00 PM Borealis String Quartet String Quartet Thurs., July F, 20 The Mo . P Sat., July 19, 2003 8:00 PM Thurs., JuJy 24, 2003 8:00 Peter Stoll Clarinet Quintet Thurs., July 31, 2003 8:00 PM Kiran Ahluwalia South Asian Music Quartet Wed., July 23, 2003 8:00 PM Denise Djokic Cello & Piano Sat., August 2, 2003 8:00 PM All concerts are held at Trinity United Church, Collingwood. The festival is presented with the kind supporl of Heritage Canada. Baldwin concerl piano generously donated by Roberl Lowrey's Piano Experls TICKETS AND INFORMATION 519-599-5461 Website: www.collingwoodmusicfestival .com E-mail: Dave Snider Mu.sic Centre 3225 Yonge St. PH (416) 483-58~5 cM a i I: sn idcrm usi c@sn idcrm usi c .com \"\' \'. sn i dcrm u sic .com One of Toronto's Oldest Music Stores ... With The Best Selectioi;i of Pop, Jazz & Broadway Sheet Music in the city ~For Begiu_ne~s twrl Professiounls ~ Come in and browse over 25,000 sheet music publications. \'Ve have a wide array of Woodwind, Brass, Keyboards, Guitars and Accessories. Music Lessons offered on site. Jun~ 1 - July 7 2003 21

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