Ritual in Transfigured Time: touring programme 2016

By 23rd December 2015Concert, Festival

Next touring date: 30th September, OVADA gallery Oxford (promoted by Oxford Contemporary Music)

THE TEAM: Goldfield Ensemble  | Arlene Sierra (composer)  | Langham Research Centre (performers) | Kathy Hinde (composer) | Solveig Settemsdal (artist) | David Lefeber (film) | Rob Godman (sound artist)  | Kate Romano (producer)

 RITUAL IN TRANSFIGURED TIME is a 1946 film by Maya Deren, a surreal silent avant garde movie which inspired one of our two new commissions and the wider aesthetics of the whole programme.   RITUAL is an acoustic, electronic and cinematic concert of contemporary chamber music, iconic and lesser known works from the early 20th Century. The concert explores relationships between sound and image, between old and new and between conventional and self-made musical instruments. The programme includes works by Varese, Tristan Murail, Jonathan Harvey, Arlene Sierra, Kathy Hinde and Langham Research Centre.

Roam by Solveig Settemsdal

Roam by Solveig Settemsdal

What happens when technology becomes obsolete? In 1979, the avantgarde filmmaker Hollis Frampton wrote a talk for the Whitney Museum of American Art. He planned to speak of the importance of antiquated technologies and about how their very out-datedness opens them up to a multitude of new meanings. We’re exploring these ideas in RITUAL; we work directly with sounds and images from the 1940s, technologies established in the 1950s, and bespoke sonorities created from metal tynes salvaged from old toy pianos, exploring the ‘newness’ of the old in a modern setting. Central to the project is the belief that electronic music can and should be performed (like chamber music). We present Poème électronique as a piece of live music: re-imagining the old technology for the concert hall, maintaining its character not as a ‘cleansed’ version of dated technology but one which embraces the sound – as well as the artistic ideas – of an era and enables us to experience this groundbreaking work in a contemporary context. Langham Research Centre perform Muffled Cyphers using tapes, oscillators and amplified objects and our two new commissions (Hinde / Settemsdal and Arlene Sierra) directly explore different aspects of the relationship between sound and image.


NEWS: Jerwood Prize Shortlist for SINGULARITY: we are delighted to announce that the video created by Solveig Settemsdal for SINGULARITY has been selected for the prestigious Jerwood Drawing prize 2016 out of over 2500 entries. The video will be shown at Jerwood Space from 14 September 2016


‘astonishing….the blend of images and sound was really quite extraordinary’
‘a triumph – catch it on tour when you can’
‘..an experience of transfigured time indeed, as past and present danced with each other. I was totally transported, my own sense of time transfigured. A profoundly affecting experience’.
‘astonishing cinematography and music – I really enjoyed it’
Audience feedback | Milton Court Private Preview

For new music at the Cheltenham Music Festival, the key phrase yesterday was “transfigured time”. Time in the sense of history, as two of the concerts directly explored, confronted, embraced and challenged contemporary music’s relationship with instruments, images and idioms from the past. The afternoon event at Parabola Arts Centre featured the Goldfield Ensemble and Langham Research Centre in a concert that unfolded as a long-form electroacoustic audiovisual meditation on these ideas.
Tristan Murail‘s short duet for clarinet and violin Les Ruines Circulaire set up an environment where focus and a united sense of purpose only gradually materialise, the players initially taking turns to ignore each other, until eventually falling over themselves in a joint cascade of overlapping arpeggios, before collapsing into a wretched sequence of ruins yet always retaining a lyrical heart (brilliantly nuanced by Nicola Goldscheider and Kate Romano). Ricercare una Melodia by Jonathan Harvey, composed in 1985, above all reminded one how long it’s been that composers have been using electronics to respond to acoustic instruments, and how challenging it is to come up with genuinely successful results, as Harvey does. Here, Romano’s clarinet seemed to be releasing more and more tendrils of melody around her, communing a language of electroacoustic interaction that was complex in nature but simple in syntax.
Leaps and bounds beyond all of these, though, was the world première of Singularity by Kathy Hinde. The marriage of music and film here attained perfection in terms of both aesthetic continuity and elegance. Norwegian artist Solveig Settemsdal‘s visuals were utterly mesmerising and impossible to resolve, featuring a large globular agglomeration of some kind of matter–liquid or fabric or feathers or something–that pulsed, shivered, hovered, struggled, and evolved, like a glutinous, biological and altogether more placid version of Alex Rutterford’s Gantz Graf. Hinde’s music was similarly amorphous and behaviourally limited, forming a vaporous texture of shifting densities (including delightful intrusions from the bowed and tickled innards of toy pianos), ethereal, ephemeral, excruciatingly wonderful, like a cross between high ambient and a tantric orgasm. Those wanting a taste can experience it in various locations in the coming months.
5:4 review | Cheltenham Festival 9th July 2016

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