Sonorities Part Two
The second half of this year’s Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music produced a number of stimulating premieres and performances. The contribution of Irish composers to the festival was extremely diverse in its use of new and old media, installation and cross discipline collaboration.
Ricardo Climent and Gordon Delap provided two site-specific pieces in the Tropical Ravine of Belfast's Botanic Gardens. Ricardo Climent, in collaboration with the University's chemistry department, produced Oxidising the Spectrum. The piece consists of sounds ‘performed’ by the live element of a group of microbes (!), the energy expended by their growth and movement used to control the parameters of the music. The source material for Gordon Delap's Interior was partly recorded in the rainforests of Borneo; monkeys, elephants and rare birds combine in a mix that was diffused around Belfast's own home for exotica. Both pieces were realised in the new research centre.
Down the road at the Crescent Arts Centre, Paul Wilson joined forces with the visual artist Barbara Freeman for the installation Time Frames. This mixed media piece centred around the stripped frame and strings of a piano, works on paper by Freeman and an interactive soundscape by the composer. As visitors entered and explored the gallery a digital camera detected movement and triggered the various layers of this complex electronic composition.
Alone in its traditional forces and acoustic presentation was Deirdre Gribbin's Decorated Skin, included in a piano recital entitled ‘Ways of Tuning’, by Dominic Saunders in the Harty Room in the University's Music Department.
This year's Sonorities Festival also gave the Arts Council of Northern Ireland the perfect opportunity to launch its new initiative. Music from Northern Ireland is the first of a series of CD recordings featuring first-rate performances of chamber music. This first issue was recorded in London last year by the new music ensemble Lontano under its conductor Odaline de la Martinez. Recent pieces by six composers from the North are featured: Stephen Gardner's Mutable Sea, Ed Bennett's Lost and Found, Kevin O'Connell's Piano Trio, Simon Mawhinney's Barcode 2, Elaine Agnew's Statues and Michael Alcorn's Off the Wall. The CD is issued by LORELT (Lontano Records Ltd).