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.
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 of the for the Arts, and performed at the Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium Music, 29th May, 2004.
Interlude from Songs of Psyche
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.
As it seems to me, the end result of that tradition's struggles seems to confirm, even reify, an unbridgeable separation in its conception of Deity/Divine as external, self-existing in aeternal separation (with profound exceptions of course of such voices as Meister Eckhart, et al) which seems to be the wont of the traditional Cantata form.
As such, Songs is simply my attempt at expressing something of the revelation/s that have revealed themselves in, and through the fractures of the/my psyche.
As such, my ramblings in this work have no intent to 'enlighten', nor take any particular position...they are purely an expression of my own journey. Nor are they an attempt to 'challenge' or 'critique', let alone 'deconstruct' the various forms and cultural expressions of "that which (ultimately) can not be named".
Notwithstanding the importance of doing so, let the de-constructor beware throwing the deconstructive stones, else the glass-house of their position (situated in the self-reflective and endless maze of subjective mirrors) shatters, revealing them to be equally 'constructed', equally a product of their 'time'
Rather let that process lead one to glimpse, in whatever 'constructed historical forms' it is expressed, something of the inconceivable mystery of being and apparent unfolding........ the "Nameless One"
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 yearscame 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" the logistics and degree of rehearsal, etc and potential for fouck-ups, particularly in through composed scores is 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.....