Works If (and only if) I am among James O’Callaghan

If (and only if) I am among

  • James O’Callaghan
  • Year of composition: 2017
  • Duration: 9:01
  • Instrumentation: 4-channel fixed medium (with additional sound diffusion: distant, and above the public)

If (and only if) I am among is an acousmatic re-imagining of two of my pieces for instruments and electronics: If:Iff (2014) and Among Am A (2015). When developing such works, I create extensive electroacoustic materials that are sometimes never heard in a performance of the final work, and so transporting these artefacts of the compositional process into a new work can breathe new life into them. Besides these materials, I also took recordings of the premieres of the instrumental pieces — by the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble and Ensemble Paramirabo, respectively — as source material.

I chose to link these two works together because they examine related ideas that gain new meaning in an acousmatic context. If:Iff examines the idea of cause and effect through a severing of performance gesture and resultant sound, as well as a sonic image of glass shattering and ‘unshattering’, as if scrubbing backward in time. Among Am A examines the experience of concert listening and a breakdown of the division between ‘musical’ and ‘non-musical’ sounds, gestures, and spaces.

The acousmatic context natively severs gesture and sound, offering another vantage point for these ideas from which one’s imagination may become more active.

[ii-18]


Premiere

  • September 28, 2017, Électrochoc 2017-18: Électrochoc 1: James O’Callaghan, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

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