Bridging ​​the Gap

Artistic Research Concert (avslutningskonsert)

Compositions of Hilmar Thordarson

Rockheim 3. November kl. 19:00

Program

Hljóðs bið ek – For silence I ask

For voices and live interactive electronics

Choir of Kjartan – Conductor Hilmar Thordarson

Sononymus for Flute – Lullaby for Ingibjörg

Flute and electronics

Trine Knutsen – Flute

Kuuki no Sukima – Between the Air

For nine instruments, live interactive electronics and interactive Conductor

Trondheim Sinfonietta – Conductor Halldis Rønning

Programnotes

Hljóðs bið ek for Voices and interactive electronics.

Written in 2013 for the voices of Choir of Kjartan and premiered same year at the Rockheim museum in Trondheim.

The text is taken from the first words of the Poetic Edda, Vøluspa that tells the story of the creation and doom of the world.

The mysterious atmosphere of Vøluspa crystallizes in this work by the use of live electronics that respond to the words and volume of the voices. As the singers sing, talks, whispers, etc.… the computer responds with digitally generated effects.

Hilmar Thordarson

Using a custom-made amplitude envelope follower for analyzing the vocal loudness and controlling the electronics their voices are then transformed via computer to a surround loudspeaker arrangement. 

The singers form a circle around the audience in a group of two with a conductor located mid in the audience. 

As I Stood there conducting on a podium in the middle of the audience the necessity to conduct and control the electronic sound became evident.  What if I could with my conducting gesture mix the sonic balance, bring the electronic volume up and down, change its sonority, and move it around the hall all with my conducting gestures? Creating a conducting tool such as ConDiS became urgent.

Tonight’s performance is a world premiere of the reversed version where I seek to find solutions to these questions using the “ConGlove” conducting glove.

Background

Attending a lecture given by the American composer and electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick[1]talking about his visions of the future of music and music technology, affected instantly my vision of the future development of contemporary classical music. How it would fuse and extend its limitless limits with digital technology. How one could see and hear a French Horn player play his Horn and then how that sound would gradually transfer into totally different sonority that would travel through sonic and physical space. This was in 1988 and somehow seemed to be lightyears away, but still, a vision that had a tremendous impact on me as then a young composer.

A few years later I witnessed Theremin performer Natasha Theremin[2]and computer pioneer Max Mathews[3]performing Sergei Rachmaninov´s Vocalise on the original Theremin and Radio Baton instruments. This historic concert was held outdoor at Stanford’s University Frost Amphitheatre on September 27 and inaugurated Stanford’s Centennial Celebration.

I remember Natasha gracefully moving her arms creating such an expressive and wonderful sounds on the legendary Theremin instrument, while Max Mathews played his Radio Baton instrument drawing various gestures on a relatively small rectangular table.

These unforgettable events marked a turning point in my professional carrier as a composer, my first thoughts about the interactive performance was born, later developing into multimedia performance including dance and video[4].  The real-time interactive live musical performance was in its birth-right, hence to faster computers, introduction of Max object-oriented programming and MIDI.

[1]Well known electronic music composer who wrote the first electronic work commissioned by a record company, Silver Apples of the Moon.

[2]Daughter of the legendary inventor Léon Theremin. His instrument Theremin was one of the first electronic musical instruments and the first to be mass produced.

[3]Pioneer and “grandfather” of Computer Music, known for his GROOVE program, first fully developed music synthesis system for interactive composition and real-time performance. He later developed the conductor´s baton, Radio Baton for controlling computer orchestra.

[4]My first full-scale multimedia “Goblins from the land of Ice” composed in 1992. Including live interactive Japanese Butoh dance and video projection.