Daniel Zea (composer Colombia / Geneva):
Las Ciudades Invisibles
This piece is originally written for Voix Nouvelles 2008, Fontation Royaumont. The piece was originally written for mixed voices and cello. Song Circus is developing a new version of the piece together with the composer. Duration: 8-10 minutes. Read more: here
Jasmijn Visser (visual artist, Netherlands),
Stine Janvin Motland (vocalist / composer, Norway)
and Song Circus:
In 1961 the USA activated SOSUS, an oceanic Sound Surveillance System of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It´s main objective was the detection of Russian Submarines. After the cold war the operation was reduced, as its immediate need had decreased. During the nineties it picked up a collection of sounds that could not be explained. The sounds could have originated from man made vehicles, such as submarines, but also be caused by natural phenomena, such as whales or icebergs. And in this way the vessels, named Bio Duck, Julia, Upsweep, Whistle and Bloop, seem allegorical of the way the machine and the digital, not only has integrated in our daily lives, but will further integrate with the natural environment; possible ending up as particles in our bloodstreams.
Using the ambiguous nature of the sounds, Jasmijn Visser created a visual ecosystem in the form of a monumental drawing, which functions as a vessel on it’s own. In it, the balance between the machinelike, structural intervals and the organic movements are always at play; sometimes merging, collaborating, only to then to destruct again.
First premiére in October 2015. Duration: about 30-40 minutes. Read more: here
Song Circus collaborated with Jaap Blonk in 2009, and developed a verson of one of his signature pieces Frictional.
Metal & Breath
Written for metal percussion, voice, and/or wind instruments.
Alongside John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Earle Brown, composer Christian Wolff emerged in the 1950s on the New York experimental music scene and became a prominent champion of the aesthetics of musical indeterminism. His works, which became increasingly explicit in their political content as his career progressed, stress choice, artistic cooperation and interdependence, and an accommodating attitude toward the potential relationships between music, sound, and silence.
“Burdocks is for one or more groupings of players. It’s a collection of different distinctive, compositional ideas in ten parts. The ten parts include specific notations on staves, notations indicating only durations, often depending on the other sounds a player hears; and various verbal directions both explicit and suggestive. Various numbers of performers (no upward limit) can play, using any means of making sounds. Any number ot the ten parts can be played simultaneously or overlapped. I had been affected by hearing a recording of Ba-Benzele Pygmy music, quasi-improvised, polyphonically, by a whole community.” – Christian Wolff. Wolff was also inspired by Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra while creating this composition.
The Great Learning
Cornelius Cardew’s 1970 masterpiece “The Great Learning” is a work in seven parts or “Paragraphs” based on translations of Confucius by Ezra Pound and is composed for trained and untrained musicians. The piece instigated the formation of the experimental musical ensemble The Scratch Orchestra, who also gave “The Great Learning” its premiere. Now, four decades after its completion, Cardew’s obsessively constructed 5+ hour composition has become an often recalled and imitated masterpiece of counter-culture avant-garde. The influential piece, one of the earliest pieces to be called “minimalist” by composer/critic Michael Nyman, conjures at once Ligeti’s clouds of sound, Webern’s pointillism, Reich’s phasing cycles, and Cage’s conceptual provocations.
“Each of the Schooltime Compositions in the opera book is a matrix to draw out an interpreters feelings about certain topics or materials. These pieces plus their interpreters are the characters in the opera. They undergo no dramatic developments in the book; in performance they may. The pieces plus their interpreters will be the same in both Dayshcool and Nightschool. The different matrices grew around such things as words, melody, vocal sounds, triangles, pleasure, noise, working-to-rule, will and desire, keyboard. My plan is based on the translation of the word ‘opera’ into ‘many people working’” – Cornelius Cardew
Song Circus has been performing open form music since the ensemble was established in winter / spring 2009. Runesdatter`s (artistic director) fascination for open form music began when she performed in an open form festival in Oslo, in March 2007. The festival was organized by the Norwegian Open Form spezialist Else Olsen Storesund. The American Open Form composer and artist Christian Wolff was among the other guests in the project ensemble. In spring 2010 Runesdatter established the musical conferance and triennale Sound of a Cage, focusing on the heritage from John Cage and his fellows. Next Sound of a Cage conferance will take place in spring 2016.