Date: Wed 29th April, 2020 Venue: University Hall, University of Nottingham NG1 4FQ
Following our appearance in October, the Riot Ensemble returns to the University of Nottingham with a concert that explores themes of virtuosity and aspects of performance and communication.
In Beat Furrer’sLotófagos I, a soprano and double bass appear to be trapped in an echo chamber. In Jagoda Szmytka’ssky-me, type-me, four performers resort to walkie talkies and megaphones to try to make themselves understood. Rebecca Saunders’Fury is a virtuoso exploration of the extremes of musical gesture. In between these works are examples of a different kind of challenge. The music of the late avant-garde pioneer Pauline Oliveros – in the form of texts written for rocks and other unconventional ways of making sound – seems to leave lots to chance, but requires a unique level of spiritual commitment instead.
Date: Thursday 14th June, 2018
Time: 8-9pm with drinks in New Cross House to follow! Venue: Great Hall, Goldsmiths (SE14 6NW)
In our second 2018 performance at Goldsmiths we perform music with electronics by Ann Cleare (On Magnetic Fields, World Premiere), Patricia Alessandrini (De profundis clamavi [hommage à Alban Berg]) and Pauline Oliveros (Wheel of Time, London Premiere) along with the UK Premiere of Clara Iannotta’sLimun for Violin and Viola (and two harmonica-playing page-turners…)
As part of hcmf//’s 40th Anniversary Festival, we’re bringing two Pauline Oliveros pieces to their closing weekend ‘mix-tape’. We continue our ongoing interpretations of Pauline’s text scores, with Sarah Dacey’s performance of The autobiography of Lady Steinway (which we gave the UK premiere of earlier this year) alongside one of Pauline’s most rarely performed pieces: The Wheel of Time, for string quartet and tape. We tracked down the tape part via the Kronos Quartet, and we’re really grateful to them for sharing the performance material with us for this performance!
This concert is produced as part of the Arts Council England International Showcase.
It’s been quite a year at Riot HQ. Aaron had to buy a new sofa in order to squeeze in all our new members of the artistic board. (Maybe I’ll pop a picture of the sofa up on instagram.) Our final ‘unveiling’ of the year is the astonishing clarinetist Ausiàs Garrigós Morant. Ausiàs will be joining us at Cardiff University for our second performance of wonderful text scores by the late Pauline Oliveros on Tuesday April 4th at 7.30pm. You have to think quickly on your feet for those, and the same goes for these interview questions below (although don’t ask Ausiàs how long it took to answer them …).
Welcome Ausiàs! Tell the ways in which you have Rioted so far …
Every day. Every morning. Against my alarm.
Teenage tearaway, or nerdy note-learner?
Tearaway. 100% impulsive.
Paquito d’Rivera has always been my musical (and clarinetist) hero and I would say one of the reasons why I play clarinet, too.
Favourite performance venue?
A half-improvised stage lost in the mountains of Sierra de Segura (Spain), a beautiful natural reserve that hosts a beautiful music festival – Musica en Segura.
People have said this about me …
‘Being as clumsy as you are, how is it possible that you have not dropped or broken your clarinets a thousand times?’ (By my mum – I still don’t know how!)
Strictly or X Factor?
Sorry, but this year, La Voz, the Spanish edition of The Voice, only because one of my best friends was in the final.
Salad cream or mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise (and french fries, and a touch of mustard, please).
I would most like to Riot about …
Climate change, and common sense – should they both not come together?
Music entails listening. This may be a truism, but it is one that Pauline Oliveros’s music considers from every angle. What is listening? How is it different from hearing? Can we activate it, and then shape it at will? Can we compose music with it?
Listening needs stillness. As does reading. ‘First imagine silence’ begins the score of One Sound Once. Oliveros’s scores are written as texts, rather than musical notation. Some are just a few lines long, some several pages. Klickitat Ride is a list of 108 instructions that are to be read out loud. David Tudor is a two-line epigram. Although often poetic, they are not poems. Oliveros has called them ‘attentional strategies’ – ways of listening and ways of responding. They don’t attempt to express anything as such, but invite the reader/listener to find out for herself what might happen if they pay attention in a particular way. They rarely require specialist musical knowledge: they can be read, and performed, by anyone. But to perform them properly requires discipline, attention and concentration.
Stillness entails breathing. Even at our stillest and most attentive, we are breathing. There is a meditative aspect to Oliveros’s work that applies to both performers and listeners. She calls this aspect ‘Deep Listening’, a form of listening practice cultivated through the sort of concentration and discipline her scores require, and intended to expand consciousness into ‘the whole space/time continuum of sound/silences’.
Breathing means movement. As we inhale and exhale our chest rises and falls. If we are practising Deep Listening, our mind similarly expands and contracts. Inner becomes outer; outer becomes inner. The sounds we are listening to exist in spatial relation to us and to each other. Quintessential and Pebble Music present catalogues of sounds, arranged by the performers like objects in a museum. In Rock Piece movement is even more explicit, with performers moving into, out of and around the space.
Movement means making. As the performers in Rock Piece move, they click pairs of stones together in their hands, ‘sounding out the environment in all directions’, attending to its different resonances and the relationship between their clicks and those of their colleagues. In Word Sound the movements are more abstract – ‘Say a word as a sound. / Say a sound as a word.’ read two lines of the score. Moving from words to sounds, turning one into the other makes a particular type of sound production, and a particular type of listening. When does a sound become a word?
Making entails music. As words and sounds transform into one another, or as clicking rocks echo around the performing space, we start to make music. Like John Cage, Oliveros blurs the boundaries between life and music: Deep Listening is inclusive listening, in which everything one might possibly hear is attended to. The pieces themselves are ways to reach that state. Deep Listening can only be intellectualized so far; in the end you have to do it. You have to listen.
Sonic Imperfections is a monthly experimental music night at the Montague Arms in Peckham. We’re heading down with a complete evening of Pauline Oliveros‘ Text Scores, like the one below. The evening will take place in three short sets, with time for drinks and conversation in-between!