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Contemporary Composition Seminar Fall 2012
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  1. Contemporary Composition SeminarFall 2012 Instructor: Prof. SIGMAN Thursday 14:00-16:00 Lecture IX

  2. 0.0 Important Dates • 11/29: NO CLASS • 12/13: FINAL PRESENTATIONS • 12/20: FINAL EXAM (시험)

  3. 0.1. Final Projects • If your name is not on this list, you owe me a proposal: • 1. Kim Min-Jeong: Cage • 2. Kim Sung-Hyun/Jang Ju-Il: Lucier • 3. Si Jeon Ah/Lee Yu-Mi: Adams

  4. Topics: English “New Complexity” Composers • I. Brian Ferneyhough (continued) • II. Michael Finnissy • III. Richard Barrett

  5. I. Brian Ferneyhough, cont’d

  6. A. Terrain (1992)

  7. 1. Title Reference • Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty • “land art”: changes form, accumulates geological layers, and erosion (부식)over time • Geological stratification (층화), fracturing(파손)/rupture, and sedimentation (침적) • Both stable/monolithic/static and unstable (shifting and changing of layers) • Changes in perception of time and motion: static, continuous, and interrupted

  8. Smithson on Geology and Text: • “Words and rocks contain a language that follows a syntax of splits and ruptures. Look at any word long enough and you will see it open into a series of faults, into a terrain of particles each containing its own void (진공) .”

  9. Geological Erosion Demo • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwcmzcsYJYU

  10. 2. Terrain Model: Edgard Varèse, Octandre (1923) • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8FcxVKIAwo

  11. 3. Global Form • I: Violin cadenza I • II: Violin + “stratified” ensemble • III: Violin cadenza II • IV: Violin + “plate shifting” ensemble

  12. 5. Opposing Forces in Terrain • 1) violin (Romantic instrument) and ensemble (anti-Romantic) “erode” each other’s material • 2) stratification: ensemble divided into fixed duos (Section II) 3) “plateshifting”: ensemble divided into constantly changing sub-ensembles (Section IV) 4) “interruptive polyphony” between 2 layers in violin part

  13. 6. Compositional Tools (도구) • Sections I-III: Rhythmic structure worked out by hand • Section IV: Ferneyhough uses Patchwork software to organise rhythm for the first time

  14. 7. Terrain Score and Recording: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChUcGzjlnjY • [performed by Graeme Jennings and Elision Ensemble]

  15. L. Les Froissements des Ailes de Gabriel (2003)

  16. 1. Shadowtime (1999-2004)

  17. a. Premise • “Opera” in 7 scenes on the death of philosopher Walter Benjamin • Libretto: Charles Bernstein (poet) • References to Benjamin’s theories of history, time, angelology, and Jewish identity • Encounters with historical and mythical figures • Descent into underworld

  18. b. Scenes • I. New Angels/Transient Failures (voices and ensemble) • II. Les Froissements des Ailes de Gabriel (guitar solo and ensemble) • III. The Doctrine of Similarity (chorus) • IV. Opus Contra Naturam (speaking pianist) • V. Pools of Darkness (voices and ensemble) • VI. Seven Tableaux Vivants Representing the Angel of History as Melancholia (narrator and ensemble) • VII. Stelae for Failed Time (chorus and electronics)

  19. 2. Les Froissements des Ailes… • Title = “The Beating of the Wings of the Angel Gabriel” • For solo guitar and large ensemble • “shadow guitar” in ensemble: tuned down ¼ tone • 124 small sections • Each section = new instrumentation • False connections between sections

  20. W. Benjamin on the Angel of History • “His face is turned toward the past. Where a chain of events appears before us, he sees one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in his wings; it is so strong that the angel can no longer close them.”

  21. Les Froissements: Score and Recording • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzSJTCaln14 • [Ensemble ELISION]

  22. II. Michael Finnissy

  23. A. Bio • (b. 1946, London) • Studied composition and piano @ Royal Academy of Music (London) • Also studied graphic design • Has worked in UK, Australia, and Belgium • Currently teaches @ University of Southampton (UK) • Active as a performer in solo and ensemble contexts

  24. “Short” Bio: • “My biography? Doesn’t ‘fit in.’ From the wrong side of the tracks all the way. Virtual failure in commercial terms, but who the hell cares either way?” --Michael Finnissy

  25. B. Major Works • English Country Tunes (1977-85) for solo piano • The History of Photography in Sound: cycle of works for solo piano(1995-2001) (320 minutes [!]) • Gershwin Arrangements (1975-78) for solo piano • Verdi Transcriptions (1972-2005) • Red Earth (1988) for orchestra • Lost Lands for mixed chamber ensemble

  26. C. Common Themes • Transcription (Verdi Transcriptions, English Country Tunes, Gershwin Arrangements) • Folk/indigenous music near extinction (English Country Tunes, Red Earth, Lost Lands) • English society and politics • Musical culture (Verdi Transcriptions, WAM [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) • Keyboard Virtuosity • Visual art and film

  27. D. Compositional Traits • Extremely prolific (다작의) • Diverse output: variety of instrumentation and musical styles • Highly subjective ( • Has performed his own music • http://www.michaelfinnissy.info/works/

  28. E. Compositional Approach: Ferneyhough vs. Finnissy • Ferneyhough = “additive” complexity: layers individually constructed and juxtaposed • Finnissy = “subtractive complexity”: begins with many layers, and filters

  29. F. Film Technique Metaphors • Fades • Cuts • Montage (몽타주)

  30. G. English Country Tunes: “Midsummer Morn” • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR4PZDsvLWk&feature=relmfu

  31. H. Red Earth • Orchestra + 2 didgeridoos • Based upon Finnissy’s experience of landscape of Central Australia • References to Aboriginal music • Explosive forces of nature • Use of heterophony • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYA3N9mUXZo