Popular Archeology: Shellac

Thanks to Marij van Gorkom spent more time than she needed to working through the minutiae of my short piece, Popular Archeology: Shellac, for bass clarinet and monophonic audio, in preparing for the concert she gave last night as part of her Sonic Spaces project.  Needless to say, such attention to detail is greatly appreciated and, what’s more, essential in a piece such as this which reduces the huge expressive range of the bass clarinet down to a scale appropriate to the sound reproduction capabilities of a small loudspeaker placed in the bell of the instrument.

The piece itself is very much concerned with the relics found by an amateur audio media archeologist – an Op.37 by someone no doubt once well known, a song with the title “Cherry Ripe” (precious little left to hear of it) – and will expand as other artefacts are committed to digital media. Marij is keen to help with the ongoing excavations.

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Nowdrifts in NZ

Richard Haynes did a superlative job giving Nowdrifts its NZ premiere, not to mention Michael Norris’ musically beguiling but performatively torturous De Corporis Fabrica, in back to back concerts on Sat 19 and Sun 20 May (meaning two concerts per evening).

Richard Haynes

This is the first time, hopefully not the last, I’ve heard a work of mine performed four times in 48 hours. Richard didn’t flag, despite playing with a heavy cold, and both his performance and the music itself was appreciatively received (listen to Phil Brownlee’s review on Upbeat). The Page Blackie gallery made for an intimate venue, and though I liked the contribution the traffic noise made to my piece, it wasn’t always well paired with the other works on the programme. Yet, the seamless morph from a high clarinet note to an impromptu soprano performance somewhere outside on Victoria St (downtown Wellington) was a delicious moment that Cage would no doubt have savoured…