Telling Science Through Music: the Crossroads Project

“The audiences would understand it on an intellectual level,” says Davies. “The science is pretty self-explanatory and very compelling.” But they didn’t seem to personally connect with the information. They understood it, but they weren’t feeling it, he says — and weren’t taking any action.

It was as if he were informing people about the dangers of smoking, and then watching them go out afterward and light up cigarettes.

Davies became passionately interested in finding ways to change people’s behavior when it comes to climate change.

But how?

He left Oxford, England and quantum optics for Logan, Utah and a job at the Utah State University Climate Center.

One day it occurred to him that maybe music was the answer. His idea was a hybrid event: one that sort of combined a lecture on climate with a musical performance — performance art and performance science.

(read the rest and listen to the String Quartet commissioned from Laura Kaminsky).

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Online Orchestration Manual

Here’s a great resource for those who don’t feel like spending your life’s fortune on the Kennan, White, or Forsyth texts. Best of all, this online database contains audio files that exemplify various orchestral scoring techniques from the repertoire. Very cool!

This site is part of a larger project called “The Sound Exchange,” that makes orchestral resources available online. The project is headed up by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen (whose music has come up, variously, in studio class, and was featured prominently in a recent iPad advertisement)

Be sure to supplement your open-source learning diet with generous portions of IMSLP scores of Stravinsky, Rimsky, Mahler, Holst, and Vaughan-Williams, Bartók, and/or Lutosławski (just kidding, Lutosławski isn’t on IMSLP).

Submitted by Ben Montgomery

Submitted by Ben Montgomery

9-Beet Stretch

beets

From Scandinavian sound artist Leif Inge comes a transcendent soundscape made out of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. By stretching the recording to 24 hours with no distortion or pitch shifting (achieved through high-quality granulation), the piece is fundamentally changed from a goal-oriented tonal work with a dramatic narrative to a slowly-evolving sonic environment more closely resembling micropolyphonic works of Ligeti or post-minimalist pieces by John Luther Adams and R. Murray Schafer.

The source recording is from Naxos, conducted by Béla Drahos with the Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia and Chorus. The work can be heard streaming 24-hours a day—click here to download the internet radio station link (open in iTunes or VLC Media Player).

http://www.xn--lyf-yla.com/

The Met Museum: Janet Cardiff’s “Forty Part Motet”

FortyPartMotet2

The Forty Part Motet (2001), a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957), was the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. Regarded as the artist’s masterwork, and consisting of forty high-fidelity speakers positioned on stands in a large oval configuration throughout the Fuentidueña Chapel, the fourteen-minute work, with a three-minute spoken interlude, continuously played an eleven-minute reworking of the forty-part motet Spem in alium numquam habui (1556?/1573?) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1585). Spem in alium, which translates as “In No Other Is My Hope,” is perhaps Tallis’s most famous composition. Visitors were encouraged to walk among the loudspeakers and hear the individual unaccompanied voices—bass, baritone, alto, tenor, and child soprano—one part per speaker—as well as the polyphonic choral effect of the combined singers in an immersive experience. The Forty Part Motet is most often presented in a neutral gallery setting, but in this case the setting was the Cloisters’ Fuentidueña Chapel, which features the late twelfth-century apse from the church of San Martín at Fuentidueña, near Segovia, Spain, on permanent loan from the Spanish Government. Set within a churchlike gallery space, and with superb acoustics, it has for more than fifty years proved a fine venue for concerts of early music.

Of the work, Cardiff says,

“While listening to a concert you are normally seated in front of the choir, in traditional audience position. With this piece I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers. Every performer hears a unique mix of the piece of music. Enabling the audience to move throughout the space allows them to be intimately connected with the voices. It also reveals the piece of music as a changing construct. As well I am interested in how sound may physically construct a space in a sculptural way and how a viewer may choose a path through this physical yet virtual space. I placed the speakers around the room in an oval so that the listener would be able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis. You can hear the sound move from one choir to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.”

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/janet-cardiff