On Sunday May 29th, we had a further rehearsal, without sculptures, of the music that Julia had composed for the 9 nature sculptures and it was sounded really good. On Wednesday June 1st we had our first performance of “Sound Scape” with the 9 sculptures representing Rock, Log, Water, Feathers, Tree, Parasitic Plant, Pebbles, Coal and Earth – placed in a grid 3 x 3 which I have been making over the last few weeks, which all had to fit in my car and were moved with a lightweight wheelbarrow. The car was very full! This performance was in the church that we rehearse KEMS Concert Band each week. The musicians arrived and for the first play through we had arranged music stands at each sculpture – subsequently, for the second play through it was deemed easier for each musician to carry the stand from sculpture to sculpture.
The sound was so beautiful – all the seven parts of music harmonising and because of the vaulted church roof, the sound soared up and round the church creating wonderful effects– so different to the rehearsals in my house. The musicians moved gently from sculpture to sculpture – three objects played at a time and finishing in the middle with Tree when they stopped, and decided which next three to play. The performance took around 35 minutes, with the musicians moving between the sculptures like dancers. It was a truly wonderful experience and both Julia and I were delighted with how it sounded and worked.
The next performance will be with the sound engineer, Paul Maddocks, who will record it using several speakers and also video it. I did take a video but because I was only in one position, it does not give a true sound. Following that, each musician will record their parts separately and Paul will work out how it can work if the musicians aren’t there. This is still to be explored – but we are getting here.
Last night (June 1st 2016), was the first time we had a complete trial run of Sound Scape with all the sculptures in a space that enabled the musicians to walk around. This helped us to see some of the logistical problems that might arise during a performance and enabled us to see how long a performance might take. After the first trial, we all decided that it was easier for each performer to take his or her own stand around to each sculpture and we found out that a complete performance would take about 30 to 35 minutes. Every one of us seems to have developed a slightly different way of devising a route and organising the sheet music too!
There are still a few tweaks to be made to the music and the performance instructions but they are only minor things now – I’m looking forward to working with our sound engineer in the next stage of the work’s development.
I’d like to thank the members of our band and the minimalists group for giving up their time to explore and work on the piece with Lorna and me – last night there were some very moving moments in the performance.