An evening of deep listening, featuring five works by composers in or around the Wandelweiser collective, performed by the 40-strong ensemble murmuration. All of the pieces in the programme leave the choice of sounds to the musicians, who will be dispersed throughout the Cafe, with no physical separation between players and audience.
The evening’s concert celebrates the release of a 6-CD box set ‘Wandelweiser und so weiter’ (Wandelweiser and so on) on the Another Timbre label, as well as retrospective launches of other discs by James Saunders, Michael Pisaro and the No Islands quartet. All these CDs will be on sale at ridiculously low prices for one night only. It should be an extraordinary evening, full of wonderful and unusual sounds.
Members of murmuration include Angharad Davies, Dominic Lash, Jennifer Allum, Mark Wastell, John Lely, Daniel Jones, Phil Julian, Ute Kanngiesser, Ross Lambert, Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga and Paul Whitty.
MICHAEL PISARO – fields have ears 4 (40+ players, 28 mins)
California-based Michael Pisaro is one of the leading composers in the Wandelweiser collective. ‘Fields have ears 4’ is a masterpiece of minimalism, alternating silent and sounding sections, with the latter offering only ‘slight indentations into the surrounding silences’.
JOHN CAGE – four6 (4 players, 30 mins)
John Cage’s ‘Four6’ is perhaps the best-known of his late number pieces. The score is simply a list of timings arranged into loose brackets, giving the musicians a rough indication of when they should play, but saying nothing about what sounds they should use. It is performed here by the ‘No Islands’ quartet – Stephen Cornford, Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes & Kostis Kilymis.
A Youtube extract from the realisation of John Cage’s ‘Four6’ by the No Islands quartet.
JAMES SAUNDERS – things whole and not whole (40+ players, 15 mins)
James Saunders is one of the UK’s foremost experimental composers. His ‘things whole and not whole’ is an unconducted piece for 40+ players, based on flocking behaviour in birds, with musicians taking cues from each other as to when to start playing. It was premiered last year by the Basel Sinfonietta in Switzerland and then at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival as part of the ‘Scratch and After’ event.
The Swiss composer Manfred Werder’s monumental ‘9 ausfűhrende’ is another classic Wandelweiser composition, with isolated sounds amidst pools of silence. Tonight’s performance is a 10-minute extract from a piece that would last over 533 hours if played in its entirety.
SAM SFIRRI – for the choice of directions (12 players, 8 mins)
The young American composer Sam Sfirri’s ‘for the choice of directions’ is one of his ‘Beckett pieces’, and offers a simple textual instruction to the performers – to move in the course of the piece from one way of playing their instrument to another.