Animal : for SATB choir and ensemble (violin, cello, electronic keyboard, and percussion) with video
by Daniel Portelli (2015)
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The choir use a video scoring system, which is a sequence of word, phonetic, fricative, and plosive fragments scrolling across the screen. The sequences are laid out across the four voices (Soprano+Alto+Tenor+Bass) and the choir vocalise the letters as they scroll over a red line.
The choir are also asked to follow video sequences with the instruction to vocalise the sounds they imagine the video would be making, much like a foley artist. At the beginning of the accompanying video there is footage of a match stick being struck back and forth in a looped sequence. At the end, the match sparks a flame and burns in slow motion, showing a transformation of this visual motif. The vibraphone player complements this by brushing across sandpaper with a small piece of wood, back and forth repeatedly at varying speeds and pressure. This relationship to me represents ideas of resistance, tension and friction. Much like the friction of a bow on strings, it slips and sticks.
The structure of the ensemble part is laid out as 3 repeated sections much like the 3 by 3 grid of the ocean footage used in the accompanying video, as it crashing against the rocks in different temporal states.
A section in the score asks the choir to whisper short quotes from parents describing the mental state of their children living in Australian immigration detention centres such as: "Open and close, open and close", "The locks and the chains", "I am a bird in a cage", "I am an animal". These were taken from the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention: Mental Health of Children in Immigration Detention, 2004
Instrumentation: SATB choir, violin, cello, percussion (1 player), keyboard.
Duration: 10 min.
Commission note: Commissioned by Soundstream Collective with funds provided by Winston Music.. Commissioned by Soundstream Collective with funds provided by Winston Music. Commissioned through the Soundstream Emerging Composers Forum
First performance: by Warwick Stengards, Elizabeth Layton, Simon Cobcroft, Gabriella Smart, Andrew Penrose, Adelaide Philharmonic Choir — 16 Apr 15. Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum, University of South Australia
Performances of this work
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