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NZSM Hosts Nicholas Isherwood - The Electric Voice


Thu 22 Aug 2013, 7:30pm–9:30pm

Where: Adam Concert Room, NZSM Kelburn Campus, Victoria University, Gate 7, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Michael Norris: 'Deep Field I'
Jean-Claude Risset: 'Otro'
Lissa Meridan: 'shafts of shadow'
Isaac Shankler: 'Mouthfeel'
Karlheinz Stockhausen: 'Capricorn'

The Electric Voice is an on-going project in which studios from around the world work together to solicit new works for bass baritone Nicholas Isherwood and electronics. This year is the fourth edition of The Electric Voice and the cities involved are Wellington, Auckland, Los Angeles, Buffalo, Lisbon and Marseille. Each studio organizes a concert with all of the works of the participants. [Miguel Azguime and David Felder have not completed their pieces, so they will be absent from the programs in New Zealand and Los Angeles.]

NZSM composition lecturer Michael Norris has composed a piece using live electronics inspired by the 'Hubble Deep Field' images from outer space and using texts about the stars from ancient Babylon, Copernicus and a 16th century French poet. His piece is a perfect partner for Stockhausen’s Capricorn from Sirius which will fill the second half of the programme.

Former NZSM Lecturer Lissa Meridan’s piece also involves a mirror image, this time the imitations of victims of 'echolalia.' Neurologist Oliver Sachs investigates this phenomenon extensively in his book Musicophilia. Meridan’s musical rendition of this involves an improvisation guided by a recording that only the performer hears, enriched by live electronics.

Celebrated French electroacoustic composer Jean-Claude Risset has done a new version of his piece OTRO for 8 channel tape and bass voice for this tour. The first version was premiered at Stanford Lively Arts on the last Electric Voice tour. Risset’s inspiration comes from Jorge Luis Borges’ magical realistic 'Doppelgänger' encounter with his younger self.

Isaac Shankler from Los Angeles offers us an acoustical Tex Mex apology/condemnation of Doritos Locos Tacos using 'real time' electronics.

The reference piece of the evening is Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Capricorn. This adaptation of the winter segment of Sirius was written for Nicholas Isherwood, who worked with the composer from 1983-2007. A being from the dog star (“the man, earth, winter, the seed”) presents the music of the sphere Sirius to the earthlings, ending with Christian mystic Jakob Lorber’s 'annunciation'. The work is based on simple melodies from Stockhausen’s piece Zodiac, which are sometimes slowed down so much that the melody is no longer recognizable or sped up until they become a timbre on one pitch. At the end of the piece, the spaceships leave the hall.

Te Koki, New Zealand School of Music is a joint enterprise of Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington.

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