a thread of quiet words, city fragments and black steps
for amplified vocal quintet (SSATB)
commissioned by Mehrlicht!Musik
premiered on 26.11.22
The Present Vocal Ensemble:
Hanna Herfurtner, Sopran
Olivia Stahn, Sopran
Amélie Saadia, Alt
Will Frost, Tenor
Felix Schwandtke, Bass
The sound of what is seen.
The night air opens a channel through which words flow.
It brings its fragments, piece by piece.
Late-night radio hour: fictional radio theatre.
The theme: the flâneur and his view over the city at night.
The voices: They only speak to you.
For this piece I wanted to create a late night radio show. I've been always fascinated with these radio shows that occur late at night, because this period of time gives the chance to transmit strange programs that don't have airtime during the day. I wanted to contrast this with the idea of a single observer of the city. I mainly researched on
youtube (this is a small playlist i did for myself: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw7rX6_707wmzLxfoyBXuRalwejTFZVSM) and with the help of several books. For the texts I used the following bibliography:
-Valeria Luiselli: Sidewalks
-Elizabeth Hardwick: Sleepless Nights
-Walter Benjamin: The writer of Modern Life
With these texts I started working on ways of organizing it and creating sound material.
The amplification is key (and also the 5Ch spatialization, with the narrators voice on the roof) because helps creating a certain distance between the voices and the audience. They should be somehow encapsulated and just transmitting the sound through the speakers.
I also worked with some graphic elements in order to get a flexible sound result.
I also added a small excerpt of mine, focusing on sound perception
and used Artificial Intelligence to generate some pictures from the text(Slides):
Close your eyes,
The surface of the city in its layers.
First the soft, invisible, untouchable white noise,
that nobody knows where it’s coming from.
Then, distant events:
a motorbike far away, a siren, a party, loud sounds, but away from us,
violent strikes, that become just points in the darkness of the sounds.
wind is approaching, moving the leaves toward us,
some TVs are on, entertaining noise.
some people talk,
some people fight,
some people walk, alone or in pairs,
leaving a trail of sound.
My shoes sound,
my breathing as well,
maybe louder than everything,
covering all these layers,
and making waves of hearing,
of what I can perceive, and what I cannot.
some people linger on the streets,
the wind moves a metal thing,
that falls, with a brilliant sound,
breaking the glass,
and leaving me,
with my eyes open,
and my steps in black