Sarah Saviet (violin) and Susanne Peters (flutes) play works by Natasha Barrett, Jason Eckardt, Evan Johnson, and Timothy McCormack, with Nicholas Moroz (electronics)
Doors at 19:30. Concert starts at 20:30.
Jason Eckardt, The Silenced (2015) for solo flute
Timothy McCormack, Glass Stratum (2011) for piccolo and violin
Evan Johnson, L’art de toucher le clavecin 2 (2009) for piccolo and violin
Natasha Barrett, Sagittarius A* (2017) for violin, multi-channel electroacoustic sound, and live electronics
Susanne Peters and Sarah Saviet explore the unlikely combination of piccolo and violin through duos by Timothy McCormack and Evan Johnson. Also on the program: Jason Eckardt’s The Silenced for solo flute and Natasha Barrett’s Sagittarius A* for violin, multi-channel electroacoustic sound, and live electronics.
The Silenced (2015)
The Silenced is a meditation on those who are muted, by force or by political, economic, or social circumstances, yet still struggle to be heard. While composing the work, I was concerned with the ideas of trauma and self-expression during and after an emotionally damaging experience. This is manifested musically by gagged, stifled sounds that are perpetually in transition towards a clearer articulation that is never fully reached. Significantly, it is the flute, not the voice, that comes closest to realizing a kind of expressive “purity,” free of the noise and interference that typify so much of multilayered sound strata in the piece. (Jason Eckardt)
Glass Stratum (2011)
“The particle [of glass] on the island takes on an enormity. Whereas the island itself is just a dot.” – Robert Smithson
Glass Stratum takes as its reference point the glass-based work of Robert Smithson. Smithson uses glass to explore concepts of scale, abstraction, matter, structure and form. Glass is a self-negating material. Smithson employs it as a massive crystalline structure: at once a fractal and a monolith. As in the above quote, a single particle or sheet of glass is somehow enormous, while a massive collection of the material would render itself indistinct and small. This is because there is no more information in a pile of glass than there is in a shard. The material collapses into itself. Though the masses of panels of glass in Smithson’s Glass Strata change, the information contained at every level does not. Thus, the scale of the piece is in constant flux when perceived by a viewer, though the structure is entirely fixed. The instruments in Glass Stratum have a similar relationship, constantly differentiating themselves from each other but compiling their material into an entirely dedifferentiated form. Any single shard or plate of material is highly distinct and crafted, but, as in Smithson, what we perceive once the panes have been layered atop one another no longer bears any relation to its parts. The information does not change, but the “temporal-mass” of the object does. (Timothy McCormack)
L’art de toucher le clavecin 2 (2009)
L’art de toucher le clavecin is the title of a famous instructional pamphlet by François Couperin, the master claveciniste of the French Baroque, which gives a concise but invaluable guide to interpretation, performance, and ornamentation of the singular keyboard music of that time and place.
The present series of works (one for piccolo solo, this duet, and a third for piccolo with violin and percussion) forms, I suppose, some sort of oblique homage to Couperin’s aesthetic of ornamented surface, of a simple ground-gesture that is forced to proliferate if it wants to inhabit a space. Most obviously, there is “melodic” ornamentation everywhere, not only where one expects to see it—in the form of trills, mordents, and other related figures adorning fundamentally simple gestures of pitch and breath—but also in the structure of the piece, which takes the form of a fitful and gap-filled flowering of a small stable of “stock figures.”
The purest expression of the aesthetic of ornament in this work, though, is in the role played by the violin. Given its own, somewhat non-specific set of ad hoc notational conventions, the violin is always absolutely subordinate and reactive to the piccolo, in its shadow dynamically, gesturally and structurally, playing out a servile dedication to filling the spaces that the piccolo suggests and then abandons. The violin exists as ornamentor in a pure sense: it is an intermediary between the bare facts of recurrence, restatement and progression that the piccolo proposes as the structure of the work and a continuous temporal surface that it seeks to fill with gesture, to say nothing of lyricism. (Evan Johnson)
Sagittarius A* (2017)
Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A-star) is a bright and very compact astronomical radio source at the centre of the Milky Way, and is thought to be the location of a super-massive black hole. Although black holes let out no detectable matter, they are apparent through the effect on their surroundings. Ultimately, what is experienced is not the black hole itself, but observations that are consistent only if there is a black hole near Sagittarius A*. Inspired by both the scientific and romantic mystery of this phenomena, in Sagittarius A* the violin begins a journey inside a real, Norwegian forest, while touching on fragments of ancient musics of the world. Sounds and themes become focused, entangled, broken apart, stretched, reshaped, and energised, as they are drawn away from real-world sources. Rather than the total annihilation of falling into the black hole, which could have been musically portrayed as noise and then silence, the music instead enters a sonic spatial-musical indulgence more akin to the stretching and bending of gravitational lensing. (Natasha Barrett)
Sequence is a concert series for recent sounds and collaborations curated by Sarah Saviet.