Date of composition: 2007
Duration: 36 min
Format: fixed medium sound (8-channel, also 5.1)
Premiere: 25 October 2007, Belfast, Northern Ireland
SARC, Queen's University
Recording (5.1 and stereo): Andrew Lewis 'Miroirs obscurs', audio DVD, empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 0789, 2007
Programme note: (download as PDF)
The impetus behind Danses acousmatiques was the sense that while in theory space is a fundamental aspect of acousmatic music, in practice most acousmatic music uses spatialization in a relatively generalised way, in something of the manner of an ‘effect.’ Since acousmatic music is, above all, about exploring the inner nature of sound in a very detailed and intentional way, it seemed odd that spatial aspects have not always received the same level of careful attention. Even in music which claims to use space as part of its consciously composed fabric (Boulez’s Répons springs to mind) the question arises as to whether such complex and detailed spatial operations can actually be perceived by the listener. In response to this state of affairs, Danses acousmatiques represents a quest for the creative, musically significant and perceptible use of the spatial aspect of acousmatic music.
The work is cast in the form of a suite, with nine movements comprising three interlocking series each of which draws on a different model of spatial movement, on a scale stretching from the atomic to the cosmic:
Series 1 — movements Vacuum (la scène vide), Torquetum (pas de cinq), and Nebulum: the cosmos — stars, planets, the music of the spheres;
Series 2 — movements Shoal, Flock (pas d’action), and Swarm: the natural world, especially emergent flocking behaviours;
Series 3 — movements Danse des coups (solo), Danse atomique (pas de deux), and Danse des gestes (pas de trois): the human world — dance and choreographic movement.
The individual series may be performed as discrete three-movement studies. Alternatively, individual movements might be performed as part of a larger program.
Danses acousmatiques was realized in the spring and summer 2007 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of Bangor University (Wales, UK) and premiered on October 25, 2007 at SARC in Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK). Thanks to dobroide for the pigeon and bee samples.