electrocd

Track listing detail

Spectral Lands

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 2010-11
  • Duration: 15:45
  • Instrumentation: 6-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: HCMF, CeReNeM
  • ISWC: T9116694123

Stereo

ISRC CAD502110011

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

To George

“Spectral” refers to the spirit-like auras of voices, birdsong, and natural phenomena inhabiting imagined lands, and to the concept of “spectral spatiality” — the impression of spaces and spaciousness created by sounds’ behaviours and motion within the audio spectrum. “Lands” emerge from the relations among spectral spatiality, the physical cohabitation of sounds and listeners in space, and the environments evoked by the real or imagined sources of sounds.

As I composed the piece I was recalling a recent visit to Golden Bay, in the north-west corner of the South Island of New Zealand — the long coastal sweep, the sounds in the native bush, and the blurring of differentiation, in certain lights, among skies, sea, and land. Particularly striking was the expansive beach at Wharariki, where winds travelling over undulating sand drifts soon cover up traces of human passage; mountainous, weathered rocky outcrops loom out of sand and sea, and confined resonant caves carved from centuries of sea swells, recede from the open sands. I was equally taken by landscape experiences in the Corbières in the south of France, where most of the piece was mixed. Amidst the sunny days, there can be dramatic skies, swift-moving cloud strata, noisy gusts and flows of wind, and if the rain suddenly descends, vibrant textural energies. However, Spectral Lands should not be considered a literal landscape portrait. The ambiguity of the sonic spectres is such that listeners are invited to construct their own images or narrative, while some may prefer to respond to the musical discourse in a more abstract way.

[xi-19]


Spectral Lands was realized between 2010 and ’11 in the composer’s studios in Fabrezan (France) and London (England, UK), and premiered on November 23, 2011, in Phipps Concert Hall of the Creative Arts Building (now Phipps Hall of the Richard Steinitz Building) of the University of Huddersfield, during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (HCMF). It was commissioned by the HCMF and the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) of the University of Huddersfield. Spectral Lands is dedicated to George, who lived alongside the sounds on a daily basis over many months, and who probably knows more than he might like to about where everything comes from and how it was all put together.

Premiere

  • November 23, 2011, hcmf// 2011: 20. Notam, Phipps Hall — Creative Arts Building — University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield (England, UK)

Composition

About this recording

The present stereophonic Ambisonic recording was produced by Jonty Harrison in April 2018 in his studio in Birmingham (England, UK).

Mastering

Ringing Down the Sun

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 2001-02
  • Duration: 14:39
  • Instrumentation: 6-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: DIEM
  • ISWC: T0100892792

Stereo

ISRC CAD502110012

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

It was while working on materials for the piece in the studio of the Dansk Institut for Elektronisk Musik (DIEM) in Aarhus (Denmark) that I heard about the tradition of “ringing down the sun” (ringer solen ned in Danish) — the tolling of church bells, signalling the end of the working day and the descent of the sun through dusk and on into night. The tolling signal and all it represents remain part of Danish culture, even if it no longer has a practical function in daily life. This idea seemed metaphorically to coincide with my attitudes towards the sounds, contours and spaces I was immersed in, and it steered the direction of the piece.

There are resonant sounds which, although they may be set off with striking attacks, draw us inwards in contemplation, and there are circling, pulsed garlands which travel and radiate energy. Descending contours prevail — drifting, floating, falling. But the sun also has to be “rung up,” and so the form of the piece is governed by the progress of cyclical contours. Lastly, there is the spatial dimension itself, designed to evoke the open spaces of the outdoors — sky, landscape, coastline — as well as the more intimate, surround feeling embodied in resonances.

[iv-20]


Ringing Down the Sun was realized between 2001 and ’02 in the studio of the Dansk Institut for Elektronisk Musik (DIEM) in Aarhus (Denmark) and the composer’s studio in London (England, UK), and premiered on June 13, 2002, during the MIX.02 Festival at Auktionsscenen (Aarhus, Denmark). It was commissioned by DIEM. Thanks to Wayne Siegel who initiated the commission.

Premiere

  • June 13, 2002, MIX.02 Festival, Auktionsscenen, Aarhus (Denmark)

Composition

About this recording

The present stereophonic Ambisonic recording was produced by Jonty Harrison in April 2018 in his studio in Birmingham (England, UK).

Mastering

Resounding

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 2003-04
  • Duration: 13:55
  • Instrumentation: 6-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Sonorities Festival with support from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Stereo

ISRC CAD502110013

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Resounding expands outwards from the closing tolls of Ringing Down the Sun (2001-02). The title refers to the ringing of resonant sounds, the filling of space with sound, and to the notion of re-sounding, as heard in the cyclic rhythms of resonances, prolonged, decaying, or sent travelling through the listening space. Spatially, two ideas prevail — resonance heard as if from the interior of objects of varying dimensions, and the external resonance of spaces as experienced, for instance, in a large church. The idea of sounding again is also reflected in the formal progress of the piece, which focuses on the return of materials in changed surroundings.

[xi-19]


Resounding was realized between 2003 and ’04 at the composer’s studio in London (England, UK), and premiered on April 28, 2004, during the Sonorities Festival at Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) — Queen’s University in Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK); the festival was then celebrating the opening of the SARC. It was commissioned by the Sonorities Festival, with funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Premiere

  • April 28, 2004, Sonorities 2004: Denis Smalley, Sonic Arts Research Centre — Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK)

Composition

About this recording

The present stereophonic Ambisonic recording was produced by Jonty Harrison in April 2018 in his studio in Birmingham (England, UK).

Mastering

Vortex

Denis Smalley

  • Year of composition: 1981-82
  • Duration: 15:49
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Tim Souster with support from the Arts Council of Great Britain

Stereo

ISRC CAD502110014

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

In memory of Tim Souster (1943-1994)

The title, Vortex, reflects a concern with motion, not necessarily literal spatial movement, but sound objects, textures, contours, and particles whose shapes and behaviour suggest analogies with motion both real and imaginary. Such relationships can be striking in acousmatic music, where the listener may often perceive sounds as physical entities moving in space. One almost sees the points and textures, the broad sweeps and curves, the dimensions and shapes of the sound structures. Large, rich, resonant attacking sound events provide the structural pillars of Vortex. Their impact and radiating energy signal climaxes, initiate changes of direction, and propel the music forwards.

[xi-19]


Vortex was realized between 1981 and ’82 in the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK), incorporating materials created using the Structured Sound Synthesis Project (SSSP) system of the Computer Systems Research Institute of the University of Toronto (Canada); and a few materials created in the YLE Experimental Studio, the Finnish Radio experimental studio. It premiered on February 27, 1983, at The Round House in London (England, UK), in the first concert of a tour of thirteen concerts undertaken by Electronic Music Now. The work was commissioned by Tim Souster with funding from the Arts Council of Great Britain. Vortex was awarded 1st prize ex æquo in the Analogue Music Category of the 11th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition 1983 (Bourges, France), and on the same occasion, the Special Prize of the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (ICEM). Vortex is now dedicated to the memory of Tim Souster who died in 1994 at the age of 51.

Premiere

  • February 27, 1983, Concert, The Round House, London (England, UK)

Awards

Preparation

Composition

Scores