‘Other Voices’ is a performance, recording and education project that explores new electroacoustic works for flute by Australian composers.
It has been a wonderful journey working collaboratively with all the composers included on this album and the result is a recording of engaging and beautiful works that reflect contemporary Australian themes, both musical and societal. My hope is that this album and its accompanying resources lead to a deeper appreciation of the music of our time.
It was important to me that the technology connected to these pieces was accessible and approachable for all flute players, and for this reason, I believe these pieces will become significant works in the repertoire of Australian flute players - students and professionals alike. Sheet music and electronics components for all the pieces will be available soon through the Australian Music Centre.
The Other Voices album forms part of a larger project that includes an Education Kit which introduces young musicians and students to the world of electroacoustic music and contemporary classical composition. Digital resources and lesson plans for secondary school music students expand upon the musical ideas of the works through composition, musicology, performance and aural activities. More info about this soon.
1. Her Pockets full of Inertia (2015) Cat Hope
Her Pockets full of Inertia is written for solo flute and flute choir. The flute choir is separated into into three groups, with some performers using a handheld a.m. radio. A fourth part is for sub contra flute (which can be substituted with a very low keyboard).
The piece is named after a poem by Melbourne poet Claire Gaskin, and some of the words from it feature in the score to share a little of the poem with the players whilst they play. The work treats the poem as an inspiration for a sonic world, creating an eerie atmosphere of stasis and clouded sounds. The solo part provides a more literal use of the poem with some words even spoken through the flute, and draws thematic material from the choir parts.
The original flute choir version of the work was commissioned by Lamorna Nightingale for the NOW Flute ensemble and premiered at the Australian Flute Festival, Canberra, 4 October 2015. The solo flute version on this recording was created in 2017 and premiered at the Tilde Festival in 2019.
Associate Artist - Cat Hope - additional flutes and AM Radio
2. Daybreak (2018) Tristan Coelho
Australia has rich and diverse birdlife including a wide variety of songbirds which commonly have the skill of mimicking the tunes of other birds. A great deal of research has been done in this particular area, often centred on the master mimic that is the superb lyrebird but there are numerous other examples too such as the satin bowerbird, magpie and pied butcherbird. In addition to singing their own song, such birds have the ability to learn and perform highly sophisticated and seemingly organised fragments of other species’ songs, often on a loop with successive repetitions involving subtle variation.
This notion of mimicry forms the point of departure for my new work for flute and electronics. I have collated and transcribed numerous birdsong recordings and this material will be worked into the musical composition through a process of looping and gradual transformation – these original mimics will be imitated once again by the flute soloist in a playful, dance like manner. The electronics component will consist of amplification, delay effects and recorded fragments of the flute part. These samples will unravel in real time during performance with the aid of a foot pedal trigger. Here, there is yet another perceived degree of imitation, this time between performer and live electronics. By the end of the work the various songs will have developed to such an extent that they bear little resemblance to the original.
I intend the work to be accessible for high school and undergraduate-level flautists but also suitable for professional performers. Through this work, I hope to create an interest in our natural world, encouraging young students to listen deeply to the sounds around them and continue developing a respect for our precious wildlife.
Daybreak was created with the support of APRA AMCOS Art Music Award
3. Imago (2018) Fiona Hill
Imago is based on the historical practice of Forced Adoption in Australia which reached its peak from 1950-1980, and the subsequent apology to the victims of Forced Adoption by the Gillard government on 21st March 2013. The text for the work is drawn from transcripts on the History of Adoption Project by Monash University, the government apology by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the book ‘Coming home to truth’ by Judith Hendrikson. The structure is based loosely on a palindrome with quotes from Judith Hendrikson's text bookending the piece. Psychologically it explores the process of healing from trauma and the strength of the human spirit. The flute and soprano are heavily processed through various effects so as to enmesh them with the sound world of the electronics track, whilst the electronics track is entirely generated from flute, voice and a domestic soundscape. It can be performed in both stereo and quadrophonic array.
Imago was created with the support of APRA AMCOS Art Music Award
Associate Artist - Jane Sheldon Soprano
4. Tystnad ~ silence (2015) Rosalind Page
for alto flute and soundtrack is an ecology of water, a sonic response to the interactions of species within sea environments, evoking poetic echoes of time and water.
Ambient sound fields in oceans include not only those of living marine species and other natural oceanographic sources but also sounds from anthropogenic sources, commercial shipping and deep sea exploration for oil and gas. Increasingly, submarine noise pollution threatens essential communication between family groups of whales, especially during epic migratory journeys.
Tystnad (Swedish: silence) may be perceived as a utopian dream state in comparison to that of our planet’s noise congested oceans. The work references my experience in a chance encounter with a majestic mysticeti Blue Whale near Húsavík, Iceland, close to the Arctic Circle and alludes to Swedish poet Ebba Lindqvist’s 1957 poem Vi som är födda vid havet, (We who are born of the sea).
Tystnad ~ silence was generously supported by an Australia Council for the Arts Music Fellowship and was composed at Konstepidemin, Göteborg, Sweden for flautist Anna Svensdotter. I am grateful to marine mammal acoustician Dr Brian Miller of the Australian Antarctic Division for so kindly sharing his unique 2015 research recordings of Antarctic Blue Whales in the Southern Ocean, included on the soundtrack.
5. Little Secret (2018) Peggy Polias
Little Secret is for concert flute, backing track, and gate effect. The gate is applied to the backing track, rendering it silent until the flutist plays, triggering the gate to "open" and allow the backing track to sound. The backing track is assembled from unreleased recordings by the composer, specifically a collection of 33 songs called Miniatures. These recordings were made in the years 1999-2003 using voice, piano, guitar, general MIDI patches and sequencing, and a Minidisc recorder. The flutist's every gesture excavates and surfaces a fragment, but even when exposed the song fragments are obscured, with numerous songs layered to sound simultaneously.
These songs are my "little secret," a significant body of work that I have concealed for the most part from public consumption, that served a very personal, almost journalistic purpose. By revisiting these teenage-diary-like recordings I'm going against every instinct of artistic self-curation to publicise sounds that aren't necessarily the highest quality of production or execution, ones that revisit quite vulnerable artistic impulses with a new layer of motivation. This piece is part of doctoral research into the nature of secrecy and safety in sound, currently undertaken at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the supervision of Prof. Liza Lim as part of the Composing Women 2018-19 program.
Little Secret was composed especially for Lamorna Nightingale for this recording project. It is a simplified version of Secret, composed for NY flutist Claire Chase, for May 2018 workshops at the Sydney Conservatorium. A further, extended version for Claire Chase is in progress in 2019.
6. House of Shards and Shadows 2013 Kate Moore
The music is about drifting shadows, movements of shadows, light and dark, a kind of flicker between each other. It is engaged with what lies beneath a surface. By unearthing elaborate, intricate, underlying structural possibilities and buried architecture, I built complexity, it is embedded below the immediate aural impression. In a similar mode I am interested in the tectonic forces act upon a surface where the subtle collision of energies push and pull against each other results in rippling, swirling and vibrating vivid soundscapes that are always changing.
Originally written for nine bass recorders House of Shards and Shadows was commissioned by Fonds Podiumkunsten for Susanna Borsch.This version created in 2018 is for nine alto flutes.
This recording was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the APRA-AMCOS Art Fund.
Production Ollie Miller (2-6)
Mix and Mastering Bob Scott (2-6) Stuart James (1)
2-6 Recorded at University of Western Sydney 22-24 January 2019, 1 Recorded at Monash University 1 August 2018
Cover Artwork Gwyneth Miller CD Design Oliver Miller