Weather a Rare Blue (sextets: flute, clarinet, piano, violin, viola, cello with pre-recorded sound)
by Lisa Illean (2018)
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Installed in the gardens of Serralves Park, Porto, Dan Graham's pavilion Double Exposure is a triangular prism: two sides of mirrored glass conjoining a colour transparency-an image of the location "photographed at dusk on a spring day." Weather a Rare Blue I doesn't attempt to translate Dan Graham's Double Exposure, but is influenced by its manner of overlaying images; taking the central four words from a line in an Anne Stevenson poem for its title: "Rain's rained weather a rare blue, so you can see the thinness in it." The first section overlays music performed live by an ensemble and pre-recorded sound. I was especially interested in creating concordance and continuity between equal temperament (the piano and its resonance) and non-tempered sonorities (mostly pre-recorded). Superimposed are also two acoustic spaces: the performance venue and recording studio.
Movements III-XI of Weather a Rare Blue have a cyclical, incantatory quality. This section has its origins in terrain vague, an earlier work for viola and piano bearing as its title a term introduced by Catalan architect Ignasi de Solà-Morales Rubió to describe "spaces as internal to the city yet external to its everyday use...apparently forgotten places [where] the memory of the past seems to predominate over the present..." As such, this movement also plays with the multidimensional nature of sound space. Just as exposure to ultraviolet light causes photos to fade, and materials exposed to the atmosphere exhibit wear, weathering alters the presence of a thing. This altered presence evokes the passing of time and the fragility of all that is susceptible to it. This section is haunted by the attrition of the pre-recorded sonorities heard in the first movement and the elusive character of the montaged melodies scored for ensemble.
Instrumentation: Flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet in Bb (doubling bass clarinet), piano, violin, viola, cello, pre-recorded sound (performed live).
Duration: 14 min.
Contents note: I. Double – exposure -- II. Interlude -- III-XI.Terrain Vague.
Commission note: Commissioned by Explore Ensemble.
First performance: by Explore Ensemble — 30 Sep 18. Kings Place, London UK
Performances of this work
20 Jun 19: Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, School of Music, University of Leeds, England. Featuring Explore Ensemble.
19 Jun 19: Jaqueline du Pré Music Building, Oxford University, England. Featuring Explore Ensemble.
30 Sep 18: Kings Place, London UK. Featuring Explore Ensemble.
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