UNIVERSAL LISTENING MACHINES
11 May 2013 – Schott’s Recital Room
|The Touring Machine||Deborah Edwards|
|Le Tango Perpetuel||Erik Satie|
|Perpetual Tango||John Cage|
|I demand a recount||Derek Foster|
|Flax Field Dew||Paul Burnell|
|Intermission 6||Morton Feldman|
|Seul a la Maison||Erik Satie|
|An Even Dustier Version of
Seul a la Maison
|And Then||Deborah Edwards|
|Dream Machine||Kerry Andrews|
|A Very Big Noise||Ann Wolff|
Tenor horn, mbira
Piano, mbira, recorder
The Touring Machine – Deborah Edwards ( View score)
The structure of this piece is based on Alan Turing’s paper On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem, 1936.
The conductor directs oboe, cello and horn players to perform one of a number of musical patterns, while the pianist plays Le Tango Perpetuel and Perpetual Tango (see below) sometimes separately, sometimes mixed together, and the reader recites passages from Turing’s paper. See the score.
Le Tango Perpetuel – The endless Tango – Erik Satie
Le tango est la danse du Diable. C’est celle qu’il préfère. Sa femme, ses filles
& ses domestiques se refroidissent ainsi. (Satie)
Perpetual Tango – John Cage
tHe devil neveR takes tIme to thinK he juSt tangos instead he Is quitE cool hE his daughters wife and servants Know they’ll never Stop dancing They never do It’s vEry hot (Cage)
I demand a recount – Derek Foster
Written for Max Thomas, flautist and fellow music teacher, in 2003, the year of his (and my) 60th birthday. The title reflects the passing years and the various missing and elongated beats early in the piece, which incorporates pupils’ hesitations, false starts, anger, despair and humour, non-alignment of the two hands, practising hands separately and briefly quoting a different piece altogether. An affectionate tribute to learning to play the piano.
Flax Field Dew – Paul Burnell (View score)
Singing blue larks sweep flax field dew,
Sing blue lark, flax field view.
Are we feel-ing lax?
Intermission 6 – Morton Feldman
Of the six Intermissions for solo piano, written between 1950 and 1953, only no. 6 has indeterminate notation and may be played on two pianos simultaneously. The score bears a resemblance to Stockhausen’s later Klavierstuck XI, with isolated events that can be played in any sequence. Here, however, each event is a single note or chord and played very softly. The title of these pieces means that they were written as intermissions between the other things he did during the day; none took more than 2 hours to write.
Morton Feldman (1926-1987) was born in New York. A major figure in 20th century music Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. Feldman’s works are characterized by notational innovations which he developed to create his characteristic sound: rhythms which seem to be free and floating; pitch shadings which seem softly unfocused; a generally quiet and slowly evolving music; recurring asymmetric patterns. His later works, after 1977, also begin to explore extremes of duration.
Seul à la Maison – Erik Satie
Seul à la Maison is the second movement from Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien) written by Satie in 1912. The three short movements making up the ‘Genuine flabby preludes (for a dog)’ were written after a previous four-movement set ‘Flabby Preludes for a dog’ was rejected by two publishers. The preludes have the heading: Très “neuf heures du matin”.
Satie (1866-1925) was associated with such artistic movements as Cubism, Surrealism, Dadaism and neo-classicism, although he never belonged to any group nor adhered to any doctrine. He wrote ballets, orchestral works, chamber pieces and songs. His most famous pieces are the ballet Parade and the piano pieces Gymnopedie.
An Even Dustier Version of Seul à la Maison – Paul Burnell
Erik Satie composed ‘Seul à la Maison’ in 1912 as the second movement of his piano work ‘3 Véritables préludes flasques (pour un chien)’. A ‘dusty’ version of the piece was made by Paul Burnell in 2012, and later the same year this ‘even dustier’ version was made.
And then – Deborah Edwards (View score)
I sat idly at the piano and began fooling around, and then…
dream machine – Kerry Andrews
“the mere working out of consequences”
“Digital computers … may be classified amongst the ‘discrete state machines’. These are the machines which move by sudden jumps or clicks from one quite definite state to another. … Strictly speaking there are no such machines. Everything really moves continuously.” Alan Turing
“Musical habits include scales, modes, theories of counterpoint and harmony … In mathematical terms these all concern discrete steps. …musical action or existence can occur at any point or along any line or curve or what have you in total sound-space…”
“…a piano is the most appalling contrivance of levers and wires this side of the steam engine.” Jacques Barzun
This piece was written in 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the births of John Cage and Alan Turing. It is based on tones from Erik Satie’s Seul à la Maison as rewritten by Paul Burnell (An Even Dustier Version), and treated to several filters of changes using the binary numbers from 1 to 100 as a guide.
A Very Big Noise – Ann Wolff
Sound and Silence are both needed in music, and they are compared and contrasted in this basic piece of music.