The grey ghost : for piano and electronics (Music for Tiny Speakers No. 2)
by Miriama Young (2017)
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The Grey Ghost is a meditation in piano and electronics drawing on the ancient song of the once prolific North Island Kōkako. The bird's distinctive call closely resembles that of its possibly extinct South Island cousin, known as 'The Grey Ghost', last officially recorded at Mount Aspiring National Park, 1967. Renewed efforts are currently in place to confirm the presence or extinction of this species (see SouthIslandKokako.org for more information).
Using your smartphone, the electronic part for this piece can be streamed by the audience during the concert performance. The App with its embedded audio is available for free download from the iOS Appstore or Google Play, by searching for SyncSound. Once downloaded, follow the downbeat of the Pianist to press 'play'. Download of this App, and playback during the concert, is entirely voluntary.
Recordings of North Island Kōkako were supplied by the New Zealand Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. Other bird sounds recorded by the Composer. Thank you to Chamber Music New Zealand, and VCA & MCM at The University of Melbourne for supporting this project. Also, delighted thanks to Jessie Eastwood for recorded vocals.
"We all had Apps on our phones, and [the pianist] gave us an upbeat to play. Because people were scattered through the audience and there were slight differences in the timing, when you pressed play, all of a sudden.... You were in the Cathedral of the bush, with these dreamlike bird sounds.... It made you really, really listen. It was so clever.... I really loved it." - Fiona McCabe for Radio New Zealand, reviewing Xenia Pestova's Wellington performance (2017).
Instrumentation: Piano (optional vocal part in piano). Audience use SyncSound App (iOS and Android) to perform electronic soundtrack (manipulated New Zealand birdsong).
Duration: 10 min.
Difficulty: Medium — Piano part is of medium-difficulty level, suitable for advanced students.
Commission note: Commissioned by Xenia Pestova.
First performance: by Xenia Pestova — 16 Jul 17. Chamber Music NZ tour, James Cumming Wing
The composer has noted the following styles, genres, influences, etc. associated this work:
Minimalist, electronics, new technologies, app. Influences: Radiohead, Moroccan vocal music, Tristan Perich, Ligeti Piano Etudes, Liszt.
- Influenced by: Minimalism
Performances of this work
6 Aug 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, Warkworth Town Hall, Warkworth, New Zealand. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
4 Aug 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, Concert Chamber, Rotorua. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
30 Jul 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, St Andrew's, The Terrace, Wellington. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
23 Jul 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, Graham Young Youth Theatre, Tauranga NZ. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
22 Jul 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, St George & St John, Whakatane. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
16 Jul 17: Chamber Music NZ tour, James Cumming Wing. Featuring Xenia Pestova.
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