Archive for August, 2010

16
Aug
10

workshop August 5-6 & 10

I have decided to make a new version of Victoria Counts by Henrik Hellstenius without video and with a new version of the staging. Henrik has decided to do the main work with the new staging himself, being the person who knows the piece the best (together with me :-D).

A visual idea, using pictures from my life on the floor, almost invading me on stage. Another idea is to cut up the music in small pieces and let me search for them. Using long music stands, too long for actually looking, or very small, so that I have to sit on the floor or on a stool, almost kneeling in a kind of meditation pose. Henrik also wanted to try out using mirrors, mirroring myself, but also the audience, so that they can mirror themselves in the chaos that sometimes emerges on stage.

The music is cut into pieces, and I am kneeling in front of the small music stand.

Henrik also wanted to let me speak about my relation to the piece and how I related to the main topic, distraction vs. focus, stress versus peace, all directed and held together by the counting exercise by Gurdjieff. He wanted me to record my reflections, and also asking myself questions about the main topic. Henrik has made a mix of the sound files, and we are going to try using it in the piece to strengthen the audience’s understanding of the main topic. Each time I work with this piece and have to be confronted with my life, it always makes me emotional. It’s very difficult to keep a distance when the whole thing is actually about your own stuff.

Henrik and Victoria trying out putting photos of Victoria's life on the floor

Sunniva Bodvin, who is going to be the scenographer in my project, was a great help, seeing all the new props from the outside. We will be able to evaluate the new staging and the new props, and how it influences the piece, on the concert on Sep 3. Strangely enough, after working with Victoria counts for almost 4 years, we still do not completely know how to express the core of the piece. The music is very abstract, but of course, it also has various dramatical levels. It moves from almost total silence to cacophonies of domestic sounds; my voice, almost screaming, counting, sound processing and loud violin playing.

Not only a composer.

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13
Aug
10

Workshop August 3-4. Motion capture

I’ve not been able to update this blog since March, due to troubles with my arm. I’m now back in business, planning a solo concert on September 3.

Due to the arm problems I’ve had to postpone my final performance, but I will still have a “work in progress” performance on Sep 3. For the first time in 3 years I had the possibility to practice over a long period in the concert hall in the Academy of Music. I had access to the hall for 5 whole working days, and did not have to rig down every evening. I have realized, during this project, that rigging and solving technical problems take – worst case – up to 80-90% of my time. Usually there is too little time for working musically with the right set-up in the right room. The fact that I seldom have access to a big space for more than one day, means that I always feel that I haven’ practised and experimented enough musically.

Alexander Jensenius stabilizes the camera before climbing to the ceiling

Alexander Jensenius stabilizes the camera before climbing to the ceiling

This was also the case the first day of the workshop; Alexander Refsum Jensenius and I used 5 hours to rig up the 8 speakers and the motion capture system (with video analysis) in the hall. On the first day we had only one hour of musical activities, and our brain capacity was rather poor (after removing two Steinways, repairing the door to get the pianos out, fighting with our mixer, placing the video camera 15 m up in the ceiling.) 😀  We decided to let the 4 inner speakers define the soundspace, forming a square. The size of the square was decided by the video camera that was mounted in the ceiling.  We tested some new pre-sets in CataRT and found that the pre-set silent segmentation made the sound stay for a long time and made it difficult to interact with the electronics, which is the goal for the whole project. We also experimented with an amount of reverb, because the concert hall in itself has a lot of it. To level equally the sound of the violin and the electronics was also an issue we worked on that day.

On August 4, with fresh brains, we started to work musically with our set-up. We used Alexander’s video analysis transition, so that video analysis could be used as a controller for CataRT. In earlier workshops we have gone through all the pre-sets in CataRT, testing various loudspeaker set-ups, and now we could concentrate on deciding what kind of violin sounds we wanted to use.

Strangely enough, some sounds that worked in an non-acoustical room, did not work in the concert hall. The most brutal sounds, like crush tones and strong pizzicati, sounded much too brutal in the hall. After an hour or two Sidsel Endresen (my superviser in improvisation) turned up to listen to our music. Her feedback was that I should think of the electronics as a musician, a person you play with and against. And to let this interaction guide my movements, and not vice versa. And the music which happens when I don’t play, only move, (ghost playing) is not a goal in itself, but rather a result of a musical process. And the curiosity and eagerness to explore the soundscape which emerges must be what drives you.

I’m so glad that we could go more into the musical issues!! Thanks to Sidsel for coming.




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August 2010
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