New commissions of the three Kranichstein Prize Winners Sara Glojnarić, Martin A. Hirsti-Kvam and Oliver Thurley for Ensemble Adapter from Berlin
Supported by the Pro Musica Viva – Maria Strecker-Daelen Foundation
OLIVER THURLEY ABOUT AUGURY
How would you describe augury in one or two sentences?
Oliver Thurley: Fragile sounds, staged on a millimeter scale.
What kind of augury is hidden behind the composition title?
OT: The 16th century sorcerer John Dee’s attempts to summon angels.
You wrote the piece as a commission for Ensemble Adapter. Did you work out different sound possibilities together with the musicians in advance? What were particular challenges?
OT: augury is built outwards from a short solo I wrote for Gunnhildur Einarsdóttir’s Harp Studio at the Darmstadt Summer Course 2018. Other parts extend outwards, with the harp’s gestures and sounds creeping into other instruments.
Many sounds started as questions or ideas for the ensemble, others started as rudimentary tests I made that the ensemble solved and developed. I also wrote two study pieces that gave Adapter a chance to explore and get certain kinds of sounds and actions under the skin a bit. These gave a clearer indication of certain kinds of techniques or textures, and let us be more open in some parts of the score to augury, freeing up space to explore and better interpret the outcomes.
ENSEMBLE ADAPTER ABOUT THEMSELVES
SARA GLOJNARIĆ: THIS CHAMPAGNE IS BURNED
This Champagne Is Burned is a video piece, which explores the notion of translation as extended authorship (Edwin Gentzler, 2016), its discrepancies, its paradoxical nature as well as its potential of being a politically subversive gesture.
It examines dubbing as a form of appropriation and neutralization of the original content, be it visual or auditive, juxtaposing and re-contextualizing material from the domain of pop-culture using techniques and processes found in audio-visual translation, such as vague musical descriptions in closed captions, semantic misrepresentations, kinetic subtitles and interviews as a form of cross-cultural translation.
MARTIN A. HIRSTI-KVAM: THROUGH IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES
“Landscape is a natural scene mediated by culture. It is both a represented and presented space, both a signifier and a signified, both a frame and what a frame contains, both a real place and its simulacrum.”
W. J. T. Mitchell
In 1939 John Cage composed the first of his Imaginary Landscapes (for cymbal, prepared piano and two record players) transforming a playback device into a musical instrument by manipulating test tone records.
In this series of works Cage continues to incorporate technology alongside traditional percussion instruments, experimenting with radios and object amplification as well as incorporating other music through the use of mashed-up records.
At the same time, this series of Landscapes highlights a shift in Cage’s compositional focus: from concentrating on what’s inside the frame to creating frameworks from which the music can arise – a shift culminating in Imaginary Landscape No. 5 from 1952, where he leaves the frame entirely open for other music to be placed, written only a few months before the framed ‘silence’ of 4’33’’.
My work continues to explore these concepts of landscape and technology, sampling and remixing both sounds and ideas from Cage’s Imaginary Landscapes using today’s technology alongside record players and FM radios.
In the center of this exploration we find the listener soloist. Functioning as an avatar with binaural headphones in her ears we follow her footsteps through real, virtual, historical and imaginary landscapes.
Martin A. Hirsti-Kvam