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"Sensitive Feelings"

MUCO 342's class concert (2009) was held March 14th in Tanna Schulich hall at 8pm.

"Projection, Retrojection" - Beavan Flanagan                                                       
 Laura Dickens ,  clarinet 

It has long been the musician's goal to produce a tiny pocket of time over which he has 
absolute control.  Aware of this pocket's beginning and end, as well as the various events that
take place during its unfolding, the composer can cut up, paste and move around little slivers
of his creation to different spots on the timeline, resulting in a constant pushing and pulling
action between the past, the future and the present. I would invite the audience, however, to
take pleasure in each event as it unfolds, as the mind's tendency to throw itself backwards 
and forwards simultaneously is a tiring activity; predicting the future is impossible, memories
can sometimes throw us off our path.


"The Descent" - Conor O'Neil                                  
 Tori Ames , baritone saxophone 

The Descent, composed in 2009, is an electro-acoustic work for baritone saxophone and 'tape' 
(processed audio material), written for saxophonist Tori Ames and to fulfill requirements for 
the MUCO 342 course in Digital Studio Composition. All of the processed material comes from 
recordings of baritone saxophone (played by Tori). The work is in 6 short sections: after a 
brief introduction, marked by a descending melodic line in the bari saw part, the subsequent 
five (5) sections represent the emotional hellride of a person stricken with a terminal illness.
The 2nd through 6th sections are each named for the 5 stages of grief, according to the 
Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Each of the first 
four of these sections contains contrasting musical material; the final section takes on bits
of each of the previous sections in the tape part while Tori recalls the theme from the 
introductory music. Symbolically, this "bringing-it-all-back-home" moment represents the 
acceptance both of the fate of the dying subject and of the feelings they had to deal with 
in their struggle against their own inevitable mortality.


"Flatline" - Kolya Kowalchuk                                   
 Fjola Evans , cello 

A flatline is an electrical time sequence measurement showing no activity, and therefore
representing a flat line.  In most cases, a flatline refers to an electrocardiogram, where 
the heart shows no electrical activity, or to a flat electroencephalogram, where the brain 
shows no electrical activity.  Both of these instances are used to define clinical death.  
In the instance of a total cardiac flatline, the choice of treatment is an injection coupled
with heart compressions.  The rate of successful resuscitation is low.


"To Know Terror"(prelude for electronic media) - Haralabos Stafylakis

"Scorched Earth" - Haralabos Stafylakis Adam Pietrykowski , electric guitar Rebecca Molinari , recorder

    The concept of a post-apocalyptic Earth has been the source of countless stories in humanity's
history, appearing in various guises: as novels, films, scriptural/mythological passages, songs,
comedies, etc. The idea that our species may meet with catastrophic extinction - whether through
our own devices, through foreign (alien?) intervention, or through natural disaster - has often
been associated with fear of technology and an obsession with certain moral conditions. After
all, the thought of becoming nothing but a stain in some god's underpants both fascinates and
terrifies us.
    Inspired by the particular apocalyptic landscapes presented in David Lynch's Eraserhead and Pixar's
Wall-E, this composition attempts to recreate the projected experience of witnessing - and surviving
- just such a disaster.Scorched Earth begins with a series of violent events. As the proverbial smoke
clears, two characters seem to emerge from the rubble, each represented by one of the live instruments
(one might attribute gender characteristics to each). After a fragmentary introduction, the instruments
combine to present a haunting melody, an expression of the nostalgia one might feel for the world as
it once was. This memory is abruptly interrupted by the guitar in angry denial, and there ensues a 
passage of hypnotic dementia, in which the recorder loops an arpeggio ostinato over which the guitar
solos in the manner of a raving lunatic. The instruments eventually combine in an out-of-phase dance
as the world seems to reel in aftershocks from the apocalyptic events with which we began. In the 
calm aftermath, the two characters wander aimlessly through a radioactive wasteland until the nostalgia
theme returns at the end in a more fatalistic form. The piece ends with the 'tape' and guitar suddenly 
cutting out while the recorder is left hanging on its penultimate word/note for a brief moment - and
the rest, as they say, is silence. 


~spin~ is a new project of James Harley (electroacoustics, processing  
and sound diffusion) and Ellen Waterman (flutes/voice). Improvisation  
and electroacoustic composition are spun together in multi-channel  
performance environments. The program includes Harley's composition 
Wild Fruits 2: like a ragged flock, like pulverized jade (2006) and three contrasting

Wild Fruits 2 is a hybrid, both composition and improvisation, both  
pre-recorded and live, both fixed and mutable. It is a collaboration  
in which both partners have complete autonomy over their  
contributions, necessitating a high degree of trust. Amplified flute  
sounds are put under a sonic microscope, spun reverberating around a  
multi-speaker scenario, but in other ways are left untouched. The  
flute/voice acoustically mimics recorded and digitally manipulated  
signals. Real time spatialization blurs the line between acoustically  
and electronically rendered sounds (which is which?) in a cyborg piece  
that spins a utopic myth of pristine nature in the full realization of  
its absence. Recordings made in both 'urban' and 'natural'  
environments are transformed through digital manipulation into a raw  
and wild presence.

Harley's compositional sub-text provides inspiration for my  
improvisation; it is a series of excerpts from Annie Dillard's hymn to  
nature: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

'In September the birds were quiet...In October the great restlessness  
came ...the restlessness of birds before migration... The birds were  
excited, stammering new songs all day long. ...I watched at the creek.  
A new wind lifted the hair on my arms. The cold light was coming and  
going between oversized, careening clouds; patches of blue, like a  
ragged flock of protean birds, shifted and stretched, flapping and  
racing from one end of the sky to the other"

Like most works for live, acoustic musician and digital manipulation,  
the performance of Wild Fruits 2 is deceptive. The eye is drawn to the  
embodied performer, wired flute, animated flutist, but the sound is  
equally controlled by the unassuming figure hidden behind a laptop.  
Speakers are the real mouths of the piece, which is a chorus not a duo.