Songs of Psyche
For: -solo voice and 4 part chorus
string sextet (Vln x 2, Vla x 2, cello and double bass) sax, piano and percussion x 2.
Interlude from Songs of Psyche
Michele Morgan -vocals; Michelle Kelly -violin, Rudolf Crivici -viola; Romano Crivici -keyboards; Alex Henery bass; Philip South -perc & vibes.
This performance was made possible with funding from the NSW Ministry for the Arts, and performed at the Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium Music, 29th May, 2004.
The movements of the work are as follow:
Split Point -allegro thrash/groove and chorale
In the Beginning - quasi-recitative and groove
Wind and Sky - three part motet (solo voice and loop) and song
Mental Murmurs - paranoia, lament and groove
Post Modernity - recitative and allegro
N.B. Legal Obligations - disclaimer and tempo de sleaze
Dreams and Visions - three-part vocal motet (solo voice and loop) and song
You know I know - adagio and song (poco allegro)
Giving (postscript) - adagio, and molto adagio
Songs of [a fractured] Psyche: a psycho-cantata in 9 movements.
Rather than attempting to re-animate the historical Christian Cantata form, and notwithstanding that tradition's profound grappling with questions as to the relationship of the conditional human realm to the absolute, etc, Songs approaches these issues, in Cantata form, from a different position..........
But I do ramble on; this work is, whatever else I have said, just another piece of (rather extended) music, which is about to undergo another round of deconstruction in its own right, as I rewrite and redevelop it once again.............
13th May, 2019 Goonengerry, NSW
Historical and Reflections:
"Making use of cutting edge new technologies, the performers record music ‘in-flight’ creating vast and rich multi-layered tapestries of sound, three and four-part vocal ‘motets’ for the solo singer, and symphonies of ambient groove, in which they give voice to their own individual energy through improvisation".
And so said our promotional material for the concert!
Call it ‘the law of cause and effect’ (if you are a Buddhist), or maybe the domino effect (if you like to play dominoes): the sound engineer was running late (they couldn’t find the key to get the equipment out of storage), then the officious officialdom at the venue wouldn’t let him park the truck at the unloading bay when he did arrive, consequently the set-up took hours longer than estimated, so the tech-run didn’t eventuate, therefore the sound (and on-stage fold-back) wasn’t mixed right, so we, as performers weren’t as relaxed and confident as we could have been,
........and then, when Michelle’s microphone and looping device didn’t work … ‘one thing lead to another’, (some of which were moments of on-stage, frozen horror, others were amazing experiences, dream-like flows of totally inspired abandon as we just let go and improvised to cover the disaster zones … and here I am now, with tales of “what could have been”
Songs is one of my large, long-term works, which I have developed over many years, and came about in an almost organic fashion. Having been working for quite a while with "The Inner Voices" -the esoteric, or low budget version of Elektra (comprised of Rudi and myself with loops and various guest artists) I had developed a scattering of repertoire for various combinations.
Musing upon the thread that seemed to move through a lot of it (works such as "split Point" "Mental Murmurs" ....... I reworked them all into the overarching theme of "Songs of [a fractured] Psyche".... and it seemed to work.
The initial form was for a small group, using a looping device for the voice, and a separate loop for the violin.... how commendable, and how 'new media, extending performance practice, etc etc" as was the vogue in the day... the logistics and amount of rehearsal, and potential for fuck-ups, particularly in 'through' composed scores was almost limitless.
I now develop it using a more conventional format/instrumentation (why limit oneself to the relatively short phrases one can loop, and then be bound to that in all subsequent layerings, when one can simply write freely, for the various voices and instruments at one's disposal.....
for solo voice, chorus, sax, strings, electric Vla, keyboard, bass and percussion x2
Psycho-Stasia is a preliminary sketch of a work, based on an idea by my Bro, Rudi following on Elektra's success/debacle with Songs of Psyche. Rudi worked on visual elements and texts, based on his interest in Egyptology, whilst I perservered with the music.
.....as with many good ideas, it went nowhere as the reality of where Elektra was really at sunk in, and it all crumbled... and people say that I am bitter and unduly negative.... ha ha ha!
(Archiving -28th June, 2022 -Byron Bay)
The Goddess Returns 15.00
Sop, string quartet, percussion
The Goddess Returns was the centerpiece of a large multi-media work I composed, of the same name, for an Elektra String Quartet performance project in 1999 at the Sydney Opera House.
Performed by: Antigone Foster, vocals
Elektra String Quartet - Mirka Rozmus and Romano Crivici, violins; Rudi Crivici, viola; Markus Hartstein, cello
Interview with Andrew Ford -ABC Radio National
Two Short Songs 2.00 + 2:15
Delusions and Rain for solo alto & loop, (or 3 altos)
Antigone Foster -solo voice w. Looping device
First (and only) performance -1999, Sydney Opera House
These two short works featured in The Goddess Returns, a large multi-media work I composed for an Elektra String Quartet performance project
I set about creating some a-cappella sections for solo voice and looping device, to contrast and punctuate the larger tutti sections for voice, string quartet, didjeridu and percussion.
Using this technology allowed the singer to build up layers, live in performance, in real-time, of essentially contrapunctal vocal textures.
The astute musicologist will notice immediately that these two works later became my Motets No 2 & 3, when I finally realised the folly of such technologies, and limiting one's creative flow to such constraints...but hey, useful to develop my thinking in vocal polyphony on the cheap, as it were!
28th June, 2022 -Byron Bay
Lad From Marrickville
Punk Rock work for solo baritone and band
Ahh.....this is from the very ancient and dim past, my very early post-adoloescent days, when my girlfriend Eliz. Titmarsh (a talented flute player) got into punk, and was in my (very classical) face about it. I set about challenging her preconceptions of me as "the classical musician".
This recording was done on my Sony 1/4 inch reel sound-on-sound tape recorder, the day I 'composed' the work... you can hear the 'clack' each time I started recording, first putting down a piano track, then cello, voice, then a second distorted piano solo track. The sound quality and 'aesthetic' was execrable! So authentically late 1970's-80?
Recorded: ..........110 Beauchamp St, Marrickville