Tempo Volume 71 / Issue 280, April 2017
TEMPO exists to document the international new music scene while contributing to, and stimulating, current debates therein. Its emphasis is on musical developments in our own century, as well as on music that came to prominence in the later twentieth century that has not yet received the attention it deserves. The articles and reviews cover the new music scene in all its complexity, featuring discussions of compositional trends, performance practices, listening practices, new music contexts and reception histories.
TEMPO is sympathetic both to writing about new forms of creative practice (electronic, interdisciplinary, performance-based) and to writing that employs innovative methods of enquiry that differ from the aims of traditional musicology.
EDITORIAL: WHAT’S THE POINT OF PRIZES?
The winner of the 2016 Turner Prize, the UK’s most widely publicised prize for visual artists, is Helen Martens; earlier in the year she also won the Hepworth Prize. On both occasions she announced that she would share her prize money with her fellow nominees, a generous yet provocative gesture. It’s good to share, of course, but isn’t the point of prizes that someone should win? And if the prizewinner is selected from a group of possible prizewinners who are themselves selected from the much larger pool of all those eligible why not share the prize with everyone?
ARTWORK: ANTON LUKOSZEVIEZE
ELECTROACOUSTIC VOICES: SOUNDS QUEER, AND WHY IT MATTERS
Queer processes abound in fixed media electroacoustic music with voice, in both the composition and listening processes. ‘Queer’ means transgressive, unstable, and disruptive, and queer processes break down restrictive traditional binaries. In this article, I name the queer where some may have thought it does not or could not exist, in well-known works by Berio, Stockhausen and Lucier, as well as lesser-known works by Truax, Normandeau and Westerkamp. Any claim to the queer in these electroacoustic works is inherently political because the core of the term’s meaning is to disrupt and perturb the status quo, which is maintained by existing power structures. I outline how composers unsettle the gendered voice and exploit its mediating role between the body and language. Studio manipulation is further enhanced by the acousmatic listening context, which is intimate and unsettling (‘queer’), and can depict the ‘third space’ between the bodies of the voice and listener.
Georg Friedrich Haas and Rebecca Saunders premieres, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2016
‘MY GARDEN IS NOT PRISTINE’: AN INTERVIEW WITH LINDA CATLIN SMITH
Linda Catlin Smith was born in 1957 and grew up in New York. She studied composition in New York and at the University of Victoria, before settling in Toronto in 1981. Linda has received Canada’s prestigious Jules Léger prize for her work Garland (2005). She was the Artistic Director of Toronto’s contemporary ensemble Arraymusic (1988–93), and a founding member of the interdisciplinary collective Urge (1992–2006). She currently teaches composition at Wilfrid Laurier University. I sat down with Linda in the summer of 2016 at her home in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood of Toronto to ask her about her life and work.
THOMAS ADÈS’S THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL
Thomas Adès’s third opera, The Exterminating Angel, is based closely upon Luis Buñuel’s 1962 film El ángel exterminador, in which the hosts and guests at a high-society dinner party find themselves inexplicably unable to leave the dining room. Initial critical response to the opera too often focused on superficial similarities and discrepancies between the two works at the expense of attending to the specifically musical ways in which Adès presented the drama. This article explores the role that repetition plays in the opera, and in particular how repetitions serve both as a means of critiquing bourgeois sensibilities and as a representation of (loss of) will. I conclude by drawing on the work of Deleuze in order to situate the climax of the opera against the notion of the eternal return, highlighting how the music articulates the dramatic failure of the characters to escape.
Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Utrecht
EarTaxi Festival, Chicago
I so wanted to write something about how extraordinary, how diverse, how friendly, the New Music community in Chicago and environs is. About how righteous [Augusta Read Thomas’s] decision was to focus on this remarkably expansive midwestern meta-alt-community. About how good the music is, and will be, and the performers and their performances. About the unique pleasure of unanticipated audition. But it is now mid-July, and the old Brecht line about ‘these times’ coils my mind like a childish superstition: ‘A conversation about trees is almost a crime’.
Seth Brodsky, EarTaxi Programme Book This review of the EarTaxi Festival, a beautiful, vibrant, kaleidoscope of events that celebrated New Music from every corner of Chicago in six days in October 2016, was written on 10 November 2016. There were 32 events featuring more than 350 Chicago musicians performing music by 88 Chicago composers. The festival gave 54 World Premieres, and included five sound installations, a colloquium from George Lewis, numerous panel discussions and countless drinks and meals with friends old and new throughout the week. But at the moment of writing, as I was casting my mind back over the concerts, many of the same musicians and composers were outside Trump Tower in Chicago, protesting the election of a man elected on a platform that demonised, belittled and threatened the very idea of a community and festival built on diversity, the global-nature of music-making and inclusion.
Donaueschinger Musiktage 2016
BEING(S): MARK ANDRE’S COMPOSITIONAL RESPONSE TO A SYNTHETIC EXISTENCE
During the 2014 International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Berlin-based composer Mark Andre (b. 1964, Paris) lectured specifically on how his own compositional practice is concerned with ‘interstices that occur between compositional polarities – the affect, the appearance, the families of time and sound, the families of impulse responses – before they unfold themselves fragile, shadowy, breathlessly and fade away’. Drawing upon Andre’s teachings at Darmstadt, as well as certain theories on existence put forward by Michel Foucault, Jean-Luc Nancy, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and Pierre Boulez, this article will work to prise open and unfold a broad, contextual backdrop for theorising the composer’s own compositional practice. In particular, this article will argue that Andre, like the authors named above, uses the position of interstices to contest the working of ‘synthetic’ structure in (Western) civilisation, and so relieve, even if momentarily – by allowing ‘being’ to freely resonate, even speak – any notion of synthetic impingement.
MICHAEL FINNISSY AND WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: THE COMPOSER AS ANTHROPOLOGIST
Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers, Volume 3: Concert Music, 1960–2000, edited by Laurel Parsons and Brenda Ravenscroft . Oxford University Press, 2016. £41.99.
BBC Proms 2016: Julian Anderson and Thomas Larcher
Tape Leaders: A Compendium of Early British Electronic Music Composers by Ian Helliwell . Sound On Sound, 2016. £29.00
ARTWORK: ANTON LUKOSZEVIEZE
Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel, Haus für Mozart, Salzburg
Experimental Music since 1970, by Jennie Gottschalk . Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. £96
James Wishart: Mad Songs and English Wo/men. Sixtieth Birthday Concerts, Liverpool, 5 October and 16 November 2016
CDs AND DVDs
Live the Opposite Daring: Gerhard Stäbler, Music, Graphic, Concept, Event, edited by Paul Attinello . PFAU Verlag, 2015. €30
Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2016, Huddersfield