This work is for flute, trombone, piano and marimba, 4-channel tape, and slides prepared by the Australian artist, Tim Brook. The pre-recorded sound was generated at the Canberra School of Music on a Fairlight CMI in the early 1980s and prepared for two kinds of presentation formats---1) where the acoustic instruments listed above could be performed live along with the electronic backing sounds and slides, or 2) an all electronic version with slides. The work, 21 minutes in duration, may also be performed without the slides as these require a special controller no longer in common use.
The backing sounds for this piece, in both 4-track and 2-track format, were primarily sampled from a 10-inch, monophonic recording of Max Reichart singing Yiddish Theatre tunes. While writing this work, as head of the Electronic and Computer Music Studios at the CSoM, I was deeply engrossed in and touched by the work of Isaac Singer, Chaim Potok and this recording found at a flea market in Canberra. At the time I was writing for an Australian new music ensemble who wanted a work from me for an upcoming Amercian tour. At the time, I deeply involved in writing software for a music composition program based on the raku ceramic process, called the Raku Composition Program (RCP), a clay-base artform I had worked with over the previous 10 years---my doctoral minor focused on this. But the methods I was using to emulate this highly unstable ceramic process was very experimental (it produced a visual and traditional score) using my own procedures. And so the work was rejected by the ensemble, albeit in a crude manner, but in some sense understandably as I refused stubbornly NOT to interfere with the program's output but to let it stand as systemmatic artifact. This went contrary to my studies with Salvatore Martirano who also believed in using rigid computer systems unless they failed to please him. He once told me "if the system is broke, erase it." The tape alone, or fixed variation of the work, mentioned above was performed often over the next 30 years but I am now considering fixing (repairing, not erasing) the notation while entering it into a notation program like Sibelius, this, almost 40 years later. DS, Prague, November 15, 2019
Press play to hear the score from 1982 (with synthesized acoustic instruments mixed with the backing sounds) and then scroll down through the music.