Friday, 13 February 2015

Encounters in the Republic of Heaven

Encounters in the Republic of Heaven

Trevor Wishart

Music: Trevor Wishart
Words: verbatim
Encounters in the Republic of Heaven takes everyday stories recounted by fishermen, farmers and city-dwellers in the North East of England, and, using new technology, transforms them into an enveloping musical experience: speech that waltzes, speech that harmonises, clouds of speech that circle the audience, culminating with speech that transforms into song.
The speaking voices: Douggie Douglas, Edna Gallagher, Alan Sambrook, Joyce Dent, Kathleen Teward, Claire Morgan, Sylvia Hanratty, James Bell, and Keith Armstrong, and the children of Ryton Comprehensive, Allendale Middle School, Bellingham Middle School, Haydon Bridge Community High School, Greenfield School Newton Aycliffe, Peases West Primary, Wearhead Primary and Newcastle Preparatory School, and students from the University of Durham Music Department.
Brass: George Cook, Gillian Enzor, Ray Farr, Paul Fothergill.

The human language is an inexhaustible reservoir of musical material in which we are immersed every day. To make music out of speech, however, we have to be able to extract musical characteristics from the flow of language. In this respect, ENCOUNTERS IN THE REPUBLIC OF HEAVEN revisits the original journey of Peri and Caccini, who tried to retrieve the clarity of speech from the complexity of Renaissance polyphony and in so doing created the earliest experiments in opera.
From 2006, as Composer‐in-Residence in the North East, based at the University of Durham, I collected recordings of natural speech from across the region and developed software to extract the rhythm, melody (and implied harmony) and sonority of individual voices. The sounds have been assembled into an eight-channel, sonic panorama where individual stories, extended in a variety of musical ways, are embedded in the “orchestrated” community of speaking voices, encircling the listener.

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