Date of composition: 2022
Format: fixed medium sound (8ch)
Programme note: (download as PDF)
At the turn of the 17th century, composers in Venice were perfecting many years of experiments in spatial music. Their sonic laboratory was St Mark’s Basilica, and the most famous and accomplished of them was Giovanni Gabrieli. Cori Spezzati is one of a series of works inspired by Gabrieli’s spatial music, the first being Canzon in Double Echo (2020).
The title (literally ‘broken choirs’), refers not only to the distribution of musical material across multiple spaces, but also to the ‘brokenness’ of some of the sound materials, whose contorted glitches and twisted, explosive discontinuities are the result of the failure of digital software. Since the piece was composed as the war in Ukraine was taking hold, these broken and shattered sounds became associated in my mind and with the daily news reports of broken bodies, broken lives, a broken international order. A question began to suggest itself: is it possible for broken choirs to sing together?
Cori Spezzati was composed in 2022 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of Bangor University (Wales, UK) and premiered on July 1 2022 in the Elgar Concert Hall, Birmingham, as part of BEAST FEaST.