With these two links, you can follow two events at the Huddersfield festival live, wherever you are, today (Saturday November 19th). If I were home in Boston I’d call it tomorrow, but I’m here in Huddersfield and couldn’t be happier that two such promising (and different) events are available to be shared across so many geographical divides.
For 24 hours, in a near-silent space, sound components are produced from actions on the surfaces of ecologically sourced materials. A live webcam permits access across global timezones.
Watch it here.
CONSTRUCTION is a two-hour composition involving twenty-two musicians and a sixteen-channel sound installation. Its principal “theme” is the relationship between idealised “utopian” cities and real ones, between pristine visions abstracted from history and the violent disruptions, even total destructions, which mark the evolution of human conurbations. This basic tension, drawing from literary, philosophical, and political tracts, forms a discourse explored in this multifaceted composition.
It is a “construction” in twenty components, formed from four five-part “cycles” which interlock and reflect upon one another in many ways.
Cycles 1 and 2 consist respectively of five mostly instrumental and five electro-acoustic pieces relating in diverse ways to “utopian” ideas – including Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis; Plato’s Republic; William Morris’ News from Nowhere; Tommaso Campanella’s City of the Sun; the surreal cities of Giorgio de Chirico, the “invisible” ones of Italo Calvino and the dream-architecture of Francesco Colonna; the ideal societies of Aldous Huxley’s Island and Farid ud-Din Attar’s Conference of the Birds; and finally “Germania”, Hitler’s vision for a new capital city, before the final part of the music undergoes a transformation into free improvisation – the only possible “hopeful” conclusion being for the musicians as a collective to find a way out, or a way forward.
Cycle 3 is a highly-compressed setting of fragments from Euripides’ The Trojan Women, almost like a series of fragments from an “opera”, the rest of which remains unheard, or lost: the action takes place before a city laid waste by the Greeks between women about to be shipped out into slavery and forced marriages, their husbands killed in the war and their children murdered.
Cycle 4 is a five-movement composition for solo violin and ensemble, wound, taking the form of a sequence of “laments” with the violin as protagonist.
The sound-installation or “sound-house” derives from an idea in Francis Bacon’s The New Atlantis (1605), where an inhabitant of the New Atlantis is describing technological wonders to the visitor from Jacobean England, including microtones as well as reverberation and diverse other kinds of “sound-processing” – a kind of sonic utopia which can be brought into being now.
Here is a short video about CONSTRUCTION, produced by Sound and Music: