Composer’s Voice - a convivial gathering of composers, musicians, and music lovers - congregates every other Sunday in the gracious space of Jan Hus Church to celebrate new music from living composers. Today’s performance featured David Morneau as the guest curator and electronics performer. He assembled a diverse assortment of works composed for mezzo-soprano and both live and recorded electronics.
Morneau, a bespectacled composer sporting a pumpkin-colored tie, displays a rumpled, affable demeanor. Taking on the role of educator, he elaborates on his purpose in each of the program’s ten pieces. Sometimes Morneau’s responsibility only extends to pushing the play button, while other compositions require him to execute an array of complex machination. It’s very cool.
Morneau is ably complemented by mezzo-soprano Katherine Crawford. Crawford, a Kansas City based artist, charms with her brunette curls and exuberant smile. Her voice, congenial and engaging, is technically astute, but never arrogantly showy. She uses her considerable gifts to fill the space like a big, warm embrace.
A number of the compositions finish in a minute or less.
Swedish composer Thommy Wahlström offers 2012 invention for mezzosoprano and ea nr. 16, which highlights two distinct lines of text. Crawford nimbly ricochets between the pair, using her own volition and spontaneity to produce a delightfully zany sixty seconds.
Within an Ocean of Anemones, a contribution from Greg Dixon, features Morneau electronically processing Crawford’s live voice, then rendering a distorted interpretation. The result is a creepily awesome echo, intermingling with the cordial intonations of a human voice.
Scott Blasco furnishes the longest, and most contemplative composition. Four Songs From “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” acts as an exquisite quartet of narratively basedpieces. Lyrics like “your father is a robber, and your mother is a whore” make your ears prick, but Blasco’s success lies in his intermixing of understated electronic harmonies, whichaugment Crawford’s heartfelt performance. These harmonies run the gamut from obsessive stapler gun sounds to arrays of rich tones supported by the repetitive tapping of a solitary note. The composition dribbles away at the end, leaving the audience in pensive spirits.
Morneau, self-described as a composer of an entirely undecided genre, supplies two compositions demonstrating his manifold interests. The first, entitled Box Shy, spotlights Morneau constructing shivery heartbeats of sound, which then are pierced by crystalline tones. It’s an aural snowstorm, with the icy notes acting as perfectly fabricated snowflakes captured on the tip of your tongue.
His second piece, Two Etched Marks, stands as an elegantly rendered love song. The insistent, insidious electronics underscore Crawford’s voice to fashion a deeply romantic composition. You wish you could press the replay button.
The concert closes with the crowd-pleasing Cassandra’s Rant, composed by George Brunner. Brunner manufactures a whimsical melody in triple meter, featuring a no-holds-barred feed from the mind ofa bitter Cassandra. Cassandra, cursed by Apollo, had the gift of prophecy but was damned never to be believed. Humorous moments highlighting the greats from Greek mythology elicit giggles from the audience. Try to restrain your snickers when Crawford pointedly intones lines like,“Oedipus’ date is old enough to be his mother”.
Morneau accomplishes something really exciting with this Composer’s Voice concert. By combining live and recorded electronics with the talents of Crawford, he demonstrates the intoxicating possibilities of mixing these two mediums. The human voice warms up the intrinsic coldness of electronic music, while the use of technology expands the possibilities of the human instrument, which in the past was limited by its natural capacity. Stirring and stimulating, Morneau coaxes you to consider a prospective future when man and machine combine to create an unearthly musical world that is still distinctively human.
Intriguing works by Kala Pierson, Rodrigo Baggio, Jay Batzner, and Elliot Hughes also appear on the program.
Composers really should attend their concerts. No really. Composers should make best efforts to attend their concert whether they are 60 second miniatures or 4 hour operas. If you can't make it (this doesn't mean because it is raining outside) you should promote it more than you normally would. If you don't care about hearing your work, no one else will. (Especially the producer)
November 20, 2012 - 5:00 pm
EDAU – Electronic & Digital Art Unit
University of Central Lancashire
St Peter’s Street, Preston
Free Admission and Refreshments
The 60x60 Presenter’s Mix 2012 comprises of 60 one-minute compositions by 60 artists and composers which are heard over the course of one hour. The 60x60 project has had more than 250 performances in cities throughout the world. The venues have varied from concert halls, theater spaces, festivals, museums, art galleries, street window spaces, a renovated 1930’s Art Deco police station, churches, colleges, Universities, high schools, as well as bars and night clubs.
This event coordinated by Patricia Walsh
60x60 (2012) Presenters Mix
Liana Alexandra, Ricardo Arias, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, Rich Bitting, Benjamin Boone, Scott Brickman, George Brunner, Paul Clouvel, Zlatko Cosic, Douglas DaSilva, Brad Decker, Paul Dibley, Erin Dougherty, Leonardo Duerto, Chris Flores, Douglas Geers, Josh Goldman, Melissa Grey, David Gunn, Bruce Hamilton, Dorothy Hindman, Yoko Honda, Lynn Job, Aaron Krister Johnson, Tova Kardonne, Juraj Kojis, Patrick Liddell, Elainie Lillios, Moises Linares, John Link, Blake Martin, Charles Norman Mason, Mike McFerron, Jeff Morris, Serban Nichifor, Rich O'Donnel, Michael James Olson, David R Peoples, Kala Pierson, Christopher Preissing, William Price, Gene Pritsker, Robert Ratcliffe, Robert Sazdov, Jacky Schreiber, Nivedita ShivRaj, Alan Shockley, Juan Maria Solare, Adam Sovkoplas, Adam Stansbie, Allan Strange, Eldad Tsabary, Katerina Tzedaki, Jeremy Van Buskirk, Robert Voisey, Patricia Walsh, Andrew Walters, Rodney Waschka, Aaron Word, and Sabrina Pena Young