Articles indéfinis (CD) Track listing detail

Pair / Impair

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 1978
  • Duration: 11:48
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD509611630

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

Pair (even): the balance between opposites (left/right, high/low, dry/resonant); equilibrium; the concept of stasis.

Impair (odd): the contradiction of pair; the element of imbalance which carries us out of stasis; the dynamic concept.

Pair / Impair: an extension of the relationship between dynamic and static musics (and their confusion) — a relationship which in itself can fluctuate between the dynamic and the static.


Pair / Impair was composed in 1978 in the Recording and Electronic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia (UK) and first performed in Norwich in 1978. It received a Mention in the Analogue Category of the 1980 Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France).


Premiere

  • 1978, Concert, Music Centre — University of East Anglia, Norwich (England, UK)

Awards

… et ainsi de suite…

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 1992
  • Duration: 19:17
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD509611640

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

I had wanted for some time to compose a ‘French Suite,’ rather in the manner of the musique concrète tradition. Sounds from some rough-textured wine glasses, which had been transformed in the Studio numérique (digital studio) of the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM, Paris, France) using predominantly time-domain manipulation (etir), brassage (brage and bragge) and spatialization programs, provided a promising starting point. These individual sounds were onwardly transformed using a variety of digital signal processors in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of The University of Birmingham (UK), combined with a number of other sound sources, further transformed, recombined… and so on…

I ventured into this pool of material from time to time in order to compose short, essentially self-contained movements. The reassembling of new, specific musical utterances from the same source material led to the idea that, by analogy, complete movements (which would inevitably contain a plethora of cross-references) could be assembled in various ways to create pieces of different lengths and pacings for different occasions, spaces… and so on…

Over a dozen movements have been composed to date. Their different functions are characterized, to continue the link with the musique concrète suite, by French titles: à propos and résumé are, respectively, expository and recapitulatory statements of the basic array of sound-types found in the work, and the longest and most elaborate movements are designated commentaire; the first version of the work (Version Bourges 1990) contained only these movement categories. From 1991, with access to the digital audio editing environment Sound Tools, I was able to achieve the seamless continuity of material needed for the family of gentler, more reflective and static movements which offset them. These interspersed movements are grouped under the general heading of (parenthèse), though some carry additional, descriptive titles such as réflexion, résonance and souffle d’insectes.

The CD version — itself a revision of the Birmingham Version 1992 — has eleven movements, whose durations range from 40 seconds to nearly 4 minutes. A characteristic of this version is the overlapping of movements (movements 6 to 9 form a continuous whole, as do the final two movements), emphasizing the more dramatic potential of the material. Overall, however, the work is not a vehicle for a dynamic or dramatic musical argument; I am more concerned to create a network of connections within a sound-world more conducive to dalliance than discourse.


The Birmingham Version 1992 of … et ainsi de suite… was first performed on February 27, 1992 in a ‘live’ radiobroadcast of a BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) concert at the BBC Pebble Mill Studios (Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK) as part of the Sounds Like Birmingham — UK City of Music 1992 festival. … et ainsi de suite… was awarded a Distinction at the Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 1993) and First Prize in the Musica Nova 1994 International Competition of Electroacoustic Music (Prague, Czech Republic).


Premiere

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

Awards

Unsound Objects

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 1995
  • Duration: 12:59
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: ICMA

Stereo

ISRC CAD509611650

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

One of the main criteria in Pierre Schaeffer’s definition of the objet sonore (sound object) was that, through the process of écoute réduite (reduced listening), one should hear sound material purely as sound, divorced from any associations with its physical origins — in other words, what is significant about a recorded violin sound (for example) is that particular sound, its unique identity, and not its ‘violin-ness.’ Despite this ideal, a rich repertoire of music has been created since the 1950’s which plays precisely on the ambiguities evoked when recognition and contextualization of sound material rub shoulders with more abstracted (and abstract) musical structures. But as these structures should themselves be organically related to the peculiarities of individual sound objects within them, the ambiguity is compounded: interconnections and multiple levels of meaning proliferate. The known becomes strange and the unknown familiar in a continuum of reality, unreality and surreality, where boundaries shift and continually renewed definitions are the only constant…


Unsound Objects was composed at the composer’s studio and in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and was first performed at the 1995 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’95) in Banff (Alberta, Canada) on September 7, 1995. Unsound Objects was commissioned by the International Computer Music Association (ICMA).


Premiere

  • September 7, 1995, ICMC 1995: Concert, Margaret Greenham Theatre — The Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff (Alberta, Canada)

Awards

Aria

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 1988
  • Duration: 10:54
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: GMEB

Stereo

ISRC CAD509611660

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
To my wife Ali

Aria was conceived as an elaboration of the gestural properties of a gust of air, characterized by a tendency from generally higher to generally lower register (and at least part of the way back), coupled with a similarly-paced crescendo/diminuendo shape, and containing a great deal of internal spatial detail. This gesture also predominates at the ‘local’ level, among the individual sound types and individual musical gestures in the work. Occasionally the forward momentum is halted by entering a ‘garden’ of relative stasis; these become increasingly evocative of real garden environments as the work progresses.

As a counterpoint to this are elements recalling the more vocal and cultural connotations of the word aria. To emphasise this aspect of the human voice within the work, many of the sounds in Aria were produced using the EMS Vocoder in the Studio Charybde of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB, France).


Aria was composed in the studios of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB, France) during two visits in 1987, and in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) — which also provided support in travelling to Bourges — and some small revisions were made in December 1988. Aria was commissioned by the GMEB. I am indebted to Adrian Hunter for his invaluable help as Studio Assistant during the final stages of assembling the piece in early April 1988. Aria is dedicated to my wife Ali for her help, support and forbearance.


Premiere

  • May 17, 1988, Upbeat to the Tate: Concert 1, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (England, UK)

Hot Air

Jonty Harrison

  • Year of composition: 1995
  • Duration: 22:12
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: Ina-GRM

Stereo

ISRC CAD509611670

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits

One of the principal source sounds for this work — balloons from children’s parties — gave rise to a train of thought which, after linking ‘toy’ balloons to ‘hot air’ balloons, went on to draw in numerous other concepts of air (breath, utterance, natural phenomena) and heat (energy, action, danger).

As work on the sound material progressed, other notions of air became important: motion through space; a certain fleeting quality; and air as the principal medium for the transmission of sound itself. The manner in which this happens (each air molecule vibrating about its current position and passing its energy on to its neighbor in alternating patterns of compression and rarefaction) became a model for the structure of the piece itself — a free association of sounds and references, each linking with and influencing its neighbor. Gradually, the referential, mimetic and environmental aspects of the piece revealed another, altogether more worrying image: that of the inflated balloon as a metaphor of the fragility of that very environment, of the Earth itself — capable of being manipulated, but not infinitely so.

But beware! Danger! I run the risk of becoming too pompous, too ‘inflated’ with the importance of my theme. We should not forget that, in colloquial English, if what someone says is “hot air,” it means it lacks real substance, is rubbish, meaningless, bluff, all talk and no action, empty words…


Hot Air was composed using the Groupe de recherches musicales’ (GRM) SYTER and GRM Tools systems for the development of sound materials and the later stages in the compositional process took place at the composer’s studio and in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK). The work was first performed as part of the Son Mu concert series in the Salle Olivier Messiaen of the Maison de Radio France (Paris, France) on May 22, 1995. Hot Air was commissioned by the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM). Thanks to Daniel Teruggi of the Ina-GRM for his help and patience.


Premiere

  • May 22, 1995, Jonty Harrison, diffusion • Son-Mu 95: Concert, Salle Olivier Messiaen — Maison de la radio, Paris (France)

Awards

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