Students from the Composition Department at Birmingham Conservatoire present their own insights into There is a Place… exhibition in this unique afternoon concert.
The composers have taken a variety of sources of inspiration from the exhibition and will perform their original pieces of music throughout the gallery. Expect the unexpected!
Spectator (World premiere)
Spectator is an interpretation of the poem of the same name by Andrew C. Gottlieb, for small vocal ensemble and computer. The structure of this poem is a 14 line, mutated descendant of the Sonnet. The poet’s words join to create surprising images in a dialectic flow of observations of otherwise unremarkable spaces. The musical realization of the concert piece uses computer surround sound in combination with the twelve singers of the Icarus Ensemble from the Birmingham Conservatoire. In this performance the poetic meaning becomes the fifth dimension of Spacetime.
Inspired by the “Blue skies, nothing but blue skies” exhibition, and in a similar vein to the paintings in the exhibition, which capture the sense of the sky as an all-encompassing entity that dwarfs the viewer. The piece creates a sense of atmosphere, of being a small entity in a big space, so that when people enter the foyer they feel like they’re walking into a much larger space.
Luke Deane and Richard Stenton
Two separate performances in different areas of the gallery exploring sounds from different ‘places’. The performance imparts a sonic imprint of two important places in each of our urban histories. The third ‘place’ is the Network – across which we will perform, linked by an artificial space with no size and shape. The performance expands on the sarcasm of recording ignored and overlooked places to the point where they become mysterious and influential. Intercalaris is influenced by cities and urban environments. Intercalaris began on the seventeenth floor of a tower-block, looking out across Birmingham.
‘Where is a place…?’
Taking the idea of memory being tied to location, I have written a piece that utilises the unique layout of Floors 1 and 2 at the gallery, with many references to music I associate with my childhood and hometown. The unusual ensemble I have chosen is out of sight for the duration of the piece, and I have made a particular feature of these spatial effects. ‘Where is a place…?’ proposes the familiar question of home as place, or home as a feeling.
I’m not the only one
This is a piece about familiarity. The video portrays areas of transition, construction sites which change the layout and appearance of an area although the area remains the same which, in our sub concious travel state, we may not recognise even though we’ve seen the area many times before. The music reflects this. It is a famous, instantly recognisable piece of music with large bands of frequency removed, so that the music becomes unrecognisable, and easily dismissed even though we have heard it before, just never removed from the context of the majority of it’s frequencies.
Nocturnal Lullabies made of pornographic sighs
A piece for a female and male vocal duo, accompanied by tape part. The idea of this piece was to create a seemingly innocent lullaby using material of an explicit nature. The tape part is audio from a pornographic film edited in logic, which then went on to inspire the melodic and rhythmic structure of the vocal part. The title is taken from the work of Barry Thompson in the ‘There is a place…’ exhibition. I related to the little post-it notes of ‘Confessions’ and ‘Pencil on paper’ in their subtle poetry as they evoked a great sense of nostalgia and took me back to my own ‘place’, so to speak. These feelings are reflected in the lyrical context of the piece.