Kraftfelt (DVD-Audio + CD Surround) Track listing detail

… fetters…

Natasha Barrett

  • Year of composition: 2002
  • Duration: 14:40
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK)

The laws of physics describing the activity of molecules within an enclosure explain how energy input will result in faster and more violent activity, until the enclosure breaks under the increased pressure. Both the dramatic and sonic content of … fetters… fi nd place within these laws, yet the idea of the enclosure breaking apart is paradoxically flawed: beyond one enclosure there is a second and a third.

… fetters… is the second of two compositions related to the music-theatre work AGORA, where the concept and reality of an enclosure infl uence the drama in the work. Extracts from The Poetic Edda in original Old Norse spoken by Magnus Rindhal, environmental recordings from Smithfi eld market in London’s East End; and the female voice of soprano Kristin Norderval provide the main sound material.

… fetters… (originally … the fetters of a dream…) was commissioned by Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) — the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation — in 2002. The work was awarded the Nordisk Råds Musikkpris (Nordic Council Music Prize) on June 3, 2006.

Prince Prospero’s Party

Natasha Barrett

  • Year of composition: 2002
  • Duration: 16:05
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Modlin Centre for the Arts

Prince Prospero’s Party could be regarded as a ‘sonifi cation’ of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Mask of the Red Death. The music follows closely the events and evocations found within Poe’s text, and is my most narrative work to date. The structure unfolds through the seven rooms of Prince Prospero’s chambers and the revellers they contain, and the listener is shaken by the increasingly terrible chimes of the great ebony clock. Although the story follows a path of inevitable doom and gloom, it has an overriding feature: the capacity to evoke an amazingly surreal, multi-faceted space within which the drama is placed. Prince Prospero and many of his “light-hearted” friends lock themselves inside the Prince’s castellated abbey in an attempt to avoid the ’Red Death’. After six months the Prince holds a masquerade ball, for which the setting is the seven, irregularly disposed rooms of his imperial suite. The Prince’s bizarre taste has each room decorated, from top to bottom, with a different colour, and stained-glass gothic windows whose colour varies in accordance with the interior. Opposite each window a heavy tripod bares a ‘blazier of fire that projects its rays through the tinted glass… and produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances’. The last room is decorated in black, but with scarlet glass windows — ‘ghastly in the extreme’, and in this room stands the great ebony clock. Every time the clock chimes, the revellers are filled with fear. As the party progresses, a previously unnoticed masked figure resembling a stiffened corpse is present. With the strike of midnight the Prince demands, «who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery?…». and the presence of the Red Death is clear.

Prince Prospero’s Party was commissioned by the Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival and the Modlin Centre for the Arts (Richmond, Virgina, USA) in 2002.


  • November 2, 2002, 3P02 Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival: Concert 7, Modlin Centre for the Arts, Richmond (Virginia, USA)

Exploratio Invisibilis

Natasha Barrett

  • Year of composition: 2003
  • Duration: 27:30
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Ultima Festival 2003

In ‘seeking’ we may travel far. At least we believe we have travelled. Sometimes the thing we seek is with us all along, in all its beauty, intrigue or ugliness. We just don’t know it. The great explorers travelled to the ‘unknown’, looking for treasures and new lands. Some of the greatest are rumoured to have described fictional adventures, travelling only in their imagination. Maybe what they sought was of a different nature to what they thought. Exploratio Invisibilis carries the listener on their own 30-minute voyage through a energy fi lled landscape of implication, sound, and silence. To the south. Confronted storms, traversed rivers, plunging into the ocean, submerged. Ice. Knocking creaking shards, bubbles heavy breath. Breaking through. The whole pack was in motion, as if impelled by some mysterious force. Pressing onward. The haze suddenly dispersed. Revealed. Treasured. Fleeting.

Exploratio Invisibilis was commissioned by the Ultima Festival 2003.

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