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Afterwards : for choir with radios, and percussionist

by Stephen Adams (2014)



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Afterwards : for choir with radios, and percussionist / words and music by Stephen Adams.

Library shelf no. 782.554/ADA 2 [Available for loan]



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Work Overview

I think of this piece, Afterwards, as a kind of post-apocalyptic oceanic fantasy - a dream that holds together a collection of contradictory feelings about the world as it is.

On the one hand there is the sense of release of the joyous cataclysm releasing us from the tensions and contradictions of the present. On the other hand, the sense of loss, and of the fragility of human lives and culture.

Holding all these feelings together is the community of musicians who sing, play and propel us forward, continuing to celebrate the richness of this life.The voices and tuned percussion create contrasting layers of free and pulse-driven music, with the textures of the voices further enriched and 'dirtied' by the sounds of the 11 radios.

This collection of analogue radios, a superseded domestic technology that to me perfectly symbolises the charming and fragile cacophony of our humanity. The sounds of radio transmissions still adrift on the airwaves provide random and improbable ghosts of our passing.

Work Details

Year: 2014

Instrumentation: SATB choir - 28 voices (Sx8, Ax8, Tx6, Bx6) with 11 transistor radios with dial for frequency adjustment, and 3 hand-held domestic playback devices (for MP3s or CD), percussion (1 player).

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Sydney Chamber Choir, Claire Edwardes with funds provided by Australia Council.. Commissioned for the Cloudburst program, 22 June 2014. The work was developed in consultation with conductor Liz Scott, Claire Edwardes, and the members of the choir.

First performance: by Sydney Chamber Choir, Claire Edwardes, Liz Scott — 22 Jun 14. The Great Hall, University of Sydney

The composer notes:
The work brings together elements of pulse-driven post-minimal music with immersive soundscape textures, song form, and the unreliable (fragile) and 'dirty' sounds of the radios in ways reminiscent of my improvisational and studio sound practice.


Resonate article: 2015 Art Music Awards finalists - comments by judging panels by Australian Music Centre

Performances of this work

22 Jun 14: The Great Hall, University of Sydney. Featuring Sydney Chamber Choir, Claire Edwardes, Liz Scott.

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