Archive for the 'composers' Category

22
Feb
11

highlights from autumn 2010

Playing TBA with guitar pedals

The collaboration with my colleague Terje Moe Hansen was really interesting. He has been researching how Paganini’s violin technique gave extended technical possibilities on the violin in his time. Terje  has also made a set of own violin techniques, and he uses his own and Paganini’s techniques together in a virtuoso way. Especially “the other way round hand position”, which means that the whole hand is placed of the left side of the finger-board, and you get access to the thumb as a fifth finger.

Terje has no problem making the violin sound like a seagull, and he used all his brilliant techniques in our improvisation. Based on Paganini’s caprice no. 24, we worked with hip-hop loops, free impro over a time-stretched Rachmaninov’s Variations over a theme of Paganini, and fiddling around with the theme itself.

Terje also played his own pieces in the concert, and a piece by Ivar Frounberg, joined by the fantastic trombone player Niels-Ole Bo Johansen. He just impressed me with his Sequenza by Berio.

November 8 I made an introduction about noise, which I held at the Levin hall at NMH. I also performed Jon Hegre’s piece TBA. The piece is improvised over certain instructions by the composer, and one of them is to make a wall of noise. Using two fuzz pedals and crush tones, I had expected the piece to be really loud, but I don’t think it was loud enough. Nobody even reacted to the piece after the concert.

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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.

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.

12
Oct
09

recording of Victoria Counts 2

September 29+29 I did a recording of Victoria Counts II by Henrik Hellstenius. The recording took place in my studio at the Academy. Mats Claesson kindly agreed to record the music and make a “nice” sound of my electric violin. We used his equipment from his studio and my speakers for listening back. Henrik Hellstenius was producing and Edvin Østvik did the live electronics. The result will appear as an installation in Lydgalleriet in Bergen opening at November 13.

On photo: Mats Claesson and Henrik Hellstenius

_MG_5862

10
Sep
09

punktfestival

September 5th I played Peter Torquists “Traces” at the Punktfestival in Kristiansand. A very interesting festival very various artist work with remix of each others concerts. We were remixing Arve Henriksen toghether with members of Kristiansand Symhony Orchestra. Later the same evening “Traces” were remixed by helge Sten and Jan Bang.

Every performance in the festival were had beautiful lightening and/ or use of video and visual elements. It was very natural incorporated into the festival.

More about the music and some more pics later.

_MG_5716

01
Sep
09

punkt festivalen

On Saturday September 5th I will perform Peter Tornquist new piece Traces on Punkt- festival in Kristiansand together with a symfonietta from the Kristiansand Symphony orchestra. “The piece is based on the collaboration with Arve Henriksen in the development of an interactive model for musical composition. In this collaboration, Improvisation and composition are understood as equivalent phenomena in distinct artistic domains and as complementary attitudes towards musical creativity.

The collaboration stretches from the use of improvised data in formalized compositional systems into broader issues of production and perception of art, challenging the boundaries between the creative and performative realms of music defined by the conventional roles of composer/performer.The concept of feedback is used for describing the cyclical exchange between composer and a performer in sucessive ImproSessions. The distinct stages of these cyclical interactions are described as translation, reaction and response.” (from program to http://www.punktfestivalen.no)

In the concert Peter will conduct the orchestra, I will interact with the orchestra and the electronics, and we will also play some of our duomaterial in between the 5 movements.

31
May
09

Satelite on the top of the opera

opera_snohetta

It has been a very busy but interesting process working and performing the two Satellite concerts. The first one taking place at the Roof of the Norwegian opera and Ballet April 28 and the second one in a beautiful big space at the Museum of contemporary Art. Being in charge of the planning of the operaroof I had to go into the topic of projection, choice of lenses, amount of ansilumens when the goal is to have the projection as clear and big as possible. The size of the wall we wanted to project on was 14.5x 32 meters, and sunset was around 9 pm. I decided to go for 10 pm and hoped for good weather. I also had a “bad weather plan” hiring party -tents, but fortunately I did not have to go for that. On the actual day it was some scary black cloud, but it never rained! A bit cold though about 10 degrees.

To rig up PA and projectors took more planning than I would have thought. It felt like having a concert on the top of a mountain except that we had access to electricity.  I got very good support and help from Knut Vik and lot of people from the Academy of Music helped to rig down after the concert. I had decided because of the wind not to use music but have it on a PDF on the computer. Ivar Frouberg had made me a beautiful little maxpatch that could turn pages. I worked very well and secure. I was practising with the patch for about a week, in order to be able to use the foot for turning the pages (Yamaha midi FC) as well as using other pedals (fuzz, octaver, delay) For Elektra I also had to follow the maxpatch (triggers and timing) on another computer. All this technical issues worked out very well, although I from time to time during Elektra was very busy!

ellen

To get the projection as big as we got it worked out well, surrounded by the city on the big marmoreal roof. The volcano in Elektra became huge, and I became very small, which I see as an interesting contrast. The fact that the size of the projection was so big made a better communication between the music and the video. At the most I think it was around 400 people at the roof, something I founded very good.

Thanks to Ellen Roed who took some photos!

I got a lot of press on the project, also at Østlandsendingen (TV)
For links (in Norwegian only see links)

hc

http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/distrikt/ostlandssendingen/verdi/98274
http://universitas.no/s0k/et%20samtidseventyr/
http://www.ballade.no/nmi.nsf/doc/art2009042413190695170061

On photo: The city of Oslo seen from the top of the opera photo Lena Nielsen Universitas

15_kult_victoriajohnson4_web_LN.jpg$C-1$W782$H400$pan1$Q




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