Impacts intérieurs (CD) Track listing detail

Valley Flow

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1991-92
  • Duration: 16:50
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: BEAST with support from West Midlands Arts

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418180

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The formal shaping and sounding content of Valley Flow were influenced by the dramatic vistas of the Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies. The work is founded on a basic flowing gesture. This motion is stretched to create airy, floating and flying contours or broad panoramic sweeps, and contracted to create stronger physical motions, for example the flinging out of textural materials. Spatial perspectives are important in an environmentally inspired work. The listener, gazing through the stereo window, can adopt changing vantage points; at one moment looking out to the distant horizon, at another looking down from a height, at another dwarfed by the bulk of land masses, and at yet another swamped by the magnified details of organic activity. Landscape qualities are pervasive: water, fire and wood; the gritty, granular fracturing of stoney noise-textures; and the wintery, glacial thinness of sustained lines. The force and volatility of nature are reflected in abrupt changes and turbulent textures.

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Valley Flow was composed at The Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada) in 1991 and was completed at the composer’s studio in Norwich (UK) in 1992. It incorporates sounds created at IRCAM in Paris (France) during a previous research period (1989) and further materials subsequently developed at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver (Canada) in 1991. Valley Flow was premiered on February 27, 1992 in a concert broadcast live from BBC Pebble Mill Studios. This piece was commissioned by the Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST) with funds provided by West Midlands Arts.


Premiere

  • February 27, 1992, Music in our Time, Pebble Mill Studios — British Broadcasting Corporation, Birmingham (England, UK)

Awards


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This version was mastered in 2004 by the composer.

Piano Nets

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1990, 91
  • Duration: 17:52
  • Instrumentation: piano and stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: SAN with support from the Arts Council of Great Britain

Piano Nets is in three movements which have common piano material but are different in style, mainly due to the influence of the changing electroacoustic environment. The piano writing revolves around a variety of chord-flavors and sonorities which can be heard across all movements — for example: chords of thirds, of fourths and whole-tone chords. Certain harmonies provide home bases which are constantly returned to, and the ‘nets’ in the title express the idea of these networks of chords and a certain feeling of confinement created by them. Also net-like is the fact that the piano is trapped almost entirely in a chordal style. Such a restriction enables a concentrated exploration of subtle blendings of piano and electroacoustic sounds. The relations between piano and electroacoustic sounds vary — they can be mutually decorating or supporting; they can act in a cause and effect manner; they collaborate in attacking events and resonance colorings; the electroacoustic sounds can sound as if emanating from inside the piano’s sound, or conversely (towards the end) they can surround the piano whose chords swing around in a clangorous interior.

[xii-92]


Piano Nets was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK). The electroacoustic material was mostly created during a research period at IRCAM in Paris (France) in 1989 — a stay funded by a bursary from the Arts Council of Great Britain; other material was borrowed from previous pieces. Piano Nets was premiered by pianist Philip Mead at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival (UK) on October 13, 1990. Its third movement was subsequently revised. Piano Nets was commissioned by the Sonic Arts Network (SAN) with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.


Premiere

  • October 13, 1990, Philip Mead, piano • Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Music Centre — University of East Anglia, Norwich (England, UK)

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This version was recorded at the Music Faculty Hall of the University of Cambridge (UK) on August 7th, 1992 (engineer: Trygg Tryggvason) and mixed at the composer’s studio in August, 1992. This version was mastered in 2004 by the composer.

Piano Nets, 2: 2nd movement

Denis Smalley

  • Duration: 4:20

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418200

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Piano Nets, 3: 3rd movement

Denis Smalley

  • Duration: 6:33

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418210

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Wind Chimes

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1987
  • Duration: 15:10
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: South Bank Centre

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418220

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The main sound source for Wind Chimes is a set of ceramic chimes found in a pottery during a visit to New Zealand in 1984. It was not so much the ringing pitches which were attractive but rather the bright, gritty, rich, almost metallic qualities of a single struck pipe or a pair of scraped pipes. These qualities proved a very fruitful basis for many transformations which prised apart and reconstituted their interior spectral design. Taking a single sound source and getting as much out of it as possible has always been one of my key methods for developing sonic coherence in a piece. Not that the listener is supposed to or can always recognize the source, but in this case the source is audible in its natural state near the beginning of the piece, and that ceramic quality is never far away throughout. Eventually, complementary materials were gathered in as the piece’s sound-families began to expand, among them a bass drum, very high metallic Japanese wind chimes, resonant metal bars, interior piano sounds, and some digital synthesis. The piece is centered on strong attacking gestures, types of real and imaginary physical motion (spinning, rotating objects, resonances which sound as if scraped or bowed, for example), contrasted with layered, more spacious, sustained textures whose poignant dips hint at a certain melancholy.

[xii-92]


Wind Chimes was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia (UK) in 1987, with computer sound transformations carried out on the digital system of Studio 123 of the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM) in Paris (France) in 1986. It was premiered during the Electric Weekend at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on September 11, 1987. This piece was first released in 1990 on the Computer Music Current #5 compact disc on the Wergo label (WER 2025-2). Wind Chimes was commissioned by the South Bank Centre, London (UK).


Premiere

  • September 11, 1987, Electric Weekend, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (England, UK)

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This version was mastered in 2004 by the composer.

Clarinet Threads

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1985
  • Duration: 13:23
  • Instrumentation: clarinet and stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Roger Heaton with support from Eastern Arts (UK)

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418230

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The title Clarinet Threads reflects the relationship between the clarinet and the electroacoustic sounds. The clarinet can produce a variety of sound types — key noises, air sounds, less definite pitches, very high notes produced by biting the reed, multiphonics… The clarinet is threaded through the electroacoustic fabric, sometimes merged with it, sometimes surfacing in a more soloistic role. Besides passages which use the clarinet in a traditional manner there are stylized environments drawn from outside music — the calls and cries of nature, the movement of wind and water, and textural motion suggesting floating and drifting.

[xii-92]


Clarinet Threads was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK) with many of the electroacoustic sounds created during visits to a variety of studios — the system SSSP of the Computer Systems Research Institute at the University of Toronto (Canada), the Finnish Radio Experimental Studio in Helsinki, Studio 123 of the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM) in Paris (France), and the University of Birmingham Electroacoustic Music Studio (UK). It was premiered by the clarinettist Roger Heaton at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival (UK) on October 15, 1985. It was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica of the Austrian radio ORF in 1988. Clarinet Threads was first released in 1990 on the Computer Music Current #6 compact disc on the Wergo label (WER 2026-2). Clarinet Threads was commissioned by Roger Heaton with funds provided by Eastern Arts (UK).


Premiere

  • October 15, 1985, Roger Heaton, clarinet • Norfolk & Norwich Festival, St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (England, UK)

Awards


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This version was recorded at the Music Centre of the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK) on August 2nd, 1992 (engineer: Denis Smalley) and mixed in the composer’s studio in August, 1992. This version was mastered in 2004 by the composer.

Darkness After Time’s Colours

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1976
  • Duration: 13:59
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD500418240

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

The sound material of Darkness After Time’s Colours grew out of the live electroacoustic work Pneuma whose five vocalists elaborate a language of air sounds, unvoiced consonants and vocal harmonics, and play talking drums from India and Ghana, tuning forks, Chinese gongs and tam-tam. Many of these sounds formed a starting point for this piece — gong strokes, vocal air sounds, air blown on the skins of drums, rotations around drum skins, unvoiced consonants, and tuning fork pulsations — but have often been altered in shape and substance by electroacoustic transformation. New sounds extend, imitate, and penetrate the source sounds elaborating an ambiguous sound symbolism. The piece can be looked on as a vocal journey which passes through various ‘ordeals’ and encounters, hence the title’s allusion to the journey down into Classical underworld.

[xii-92]


Darkness After Time’s Colours was composed in the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia (England) in 1975-76. It was premiered in 1976. It was awarded the 2nd Prize of the 5th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1977), and an Euphonie d’or Prize of the 20th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1992).


Premiere

  • 1976, Concert, Music Centre — University of East Anglia, Norwich (England, UK)

Awards


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This version was mastered in 2004 by the composer.

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