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Final Projects of MUCO 542

MUCO 542's class concert (2009) was held March 15th in Tanna Schulich hall at 8pm.

"Phonessence" - Nina Young                                   
 Stephen Davidson, bass clarinet

Phonessence follows the path of the emotional and physical consequences of an individual who
gradually loses the ability to express his inner ideas in an articulate manner.  The form, 
musical gestures, and affect of the piece are inspired from an analysis of various recordings
and videos of people (from children to the elderly) who suffer from speech disorders which impair
them from expressing the thoughts they can so accurately feel and even "hear" within their own
    The piece begins with a "gathering of thoughts" as the performer takes his breath and spatializes
it through the hall, exercising control of mind and performance.  This is followed by a melodically
driven section where the mind (electronics) and performer (bass clarinet) coexist in a harmonious
manner, with only a few, occasional disparities in communication.  As the piece develops the
performer's gestures become more terse, aggressive, and even angry as he becomes aware of his
inability to fully express his intentions.  The electronics and performer separate until the
electronics are suspended around the performer in a world that he can no longer control.


"After Klimt" - Jessica Mays                                   
 Amie Watson , percussion 

After Klimt was written in homage to the artwork of Gustav Klimt, and more specifically his
painting titled Judith 1. In the Old Testament, Judith saves the city of Bethulia from siege by the
Assyrians by venturing into the enemy camp, seducing the Assyrian general, Holofernes, and decapitating
him. She then returns to Bethulia with his head in a sack. Klimt's signature artwork utilized gold leaf,
capturing otherwise ordinary details such as, fabrics, flowers, and sometime entire backgrounds, in a
gold metallic light. In his painting, Judith holds the head of Holofrenes to her side and wears an 
expression of cruel triumph. This otherwise troubling scene is offset by the magnificent Assyrian landscape,
and large choker around her neck, all brilliant gold. Throughout the duration of my piece, the gong 
is struck three times, each symbolizing Judith's deadly blow


"Tilt" - Matthew Ricketts                                   
 David Ertel, cello 

Tilt is comprised of a number of short, inter-connected and continuous movements for cello and
live electronics; the latter makes use of both real-time processing of the cello's live sound, 
as well as the cuing of sound-files constructed from pre-recorded sound fragments. The different
movements each make use of particular effects, parameters or ideas, but are together all essentially
'tilted' towards the lowest string on the cello, here de-tuned from c to low g. Thus the note g, as
the letter itself, represents gravitational pull, from which the cello - with varying degrees of
success - attempts to break free from. The piece was written for the fun and fearless David Ertel,
to whom it is warmly dedicated. I also wish to thank Marlon Schumacher for all of his help in
realizing the electronics: danke schöen!


"Nocturne" - Charles-Antoine Frechette                              
 Amy Horvey , trumpet 

(nature morte pour chouettes effraie et hulotte, vents, souffles et bateaux-moteur)

(still life for tawny and barn owls, breaths, wind and boats)

    This piece initiates my doctoral research where the main axis is on developing a 
musical language inherited from concrete environmental sounds. This approach could be seen as
a bio-mimicrical perspective towards composition. Therefore,  all the material of this piece
comes from real environmental sounds. However, the first constraint was to incarnate those
real sounds by the use of trumpet solely. And the second one, not just to evoke environmental
sounds, but try to recreate them as closely as possible, as a painter would fix a precise
landscape or a glance on a figure. Besides bringing Nature into the concert hall, the piece
content is calm, melancholical and eerie.


"Poem(é)" - August Murphy-King, Text: Nicole Brossard         
 Mary Kavalauskas , Soprano 

  poem to understand
  how people bend
  before an idea
  their hair barely brushing the depth of silence

  encore certains jours encore je
  fais des ajouts à la substance
  des visages.  Collier de memoire
  et d'animal arraché à l'abîme.
  Vu de dos, collier: verbe être.

This text is taken from the opening lines of Brossard's collection entitled 'Notebook of Roses &
Civilization.'  The translation is done by Erin Moure and Robert Majzels.  I'd like to thank both
Nicole, and her publisher Coach House Books, for so generously allowing me to set this text to music.


"Chercher Noise" - Jimmie LeBlanc                                   
 Ida Toninato , baritone saxophone 

Ma pensée musicale semble encline à se concentrer sur les aspects qui soutiennent l'acte même
de jouer d'un instrument, ou de  'performer' . Alors que l'on tente habituellement de nous faire 
oublier la mécanique pour que l'on puisse mieux se concentrer sur la représentation musicale,
je cherche plutôt à trouver une approche de la composition qui permette de mettre en lumière
l'intentionet l'intensité de l'interprète, au risque de frôler quelque situation fragile ou
angereuse.Dans le cas de cette pièce, j'ai voulu me focaliser sur le souffle en opposant la fragilité
de la respiration quasi suspendue (sons harmoniques ppp) et la générosité du soufflele plus ouvert
(tremolandi ff). La partie électronique supporte ces idées en ajoutant soit uneextension/distorsion
résonante (première partie) soit une matière sonore oppressante qui entre
en lutte avec l'interprète (deuxième partie).