LECTURE SUMMARIES

Wednesday 13th February

Afternoon Lectures

David Bremner

The services will form a multi-sensory process of meditation, a way of experiencing time passing, born from a desire to engage with the changing of light within a day as a metaphor or microcosm of larger time-periods, for example the Church year. Music as a time-based medium can help mediate between these levels.

 

Musical material is pared back to the essential: a minimal style is used that can encompass many references, allowing us to make connections between the simple, four-square nature of so much of the church's musical repertoire (hymns, responses and psalms) while making connections with Irish traditional music.

 

Antiphonal call-and-response will be used as the basic musical unit: this call-and-response will take place across the space of the cathedral, immediately drawing our attention to the space the service is happening in, and responding to the changing light of the time of day.

 

The desire is to take a modernist approach, by re-juxtaposing, mixing and matching, (like Joyce's transfiguration of the quotidian) so that elements of the liturgy that we are familiar with are seen afresh.

 

The spoken elements of the liturgy (prayers and reflections) are fully incorporated into the music, and will be experienced as a form of music.

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Friday 15th February

Closing Service

Inspired by the spatial compositions of Charles Ives and Henry Brant.

The liturgy will be devised by the participants, through a rehearsal on the day before, using a prepared structure.

 

The main aspect of devising by the delegates will be to discuss where the material should be placed within the journey, and the incorporation of text (which is more easily handled than musical material). A short excerpt of music or text will be submitted by any participants who wish to. If musical, it must be material that can sustain repetition (this is a common factor intrinsically of most church musics though), as our musical idea is a musical slow changing of layers built up from the repetition of multiple individual contributions.

(A key will be chosen into which the material given will fit). The placing of each item will be very dependent on the duration of the repeating unit.

 

A straightforward structure (perhaps based on Gray codes, or a John Cage time-bracket) will be devised ready for the event (repeating musical mobiles, cued to start and stop in such a way that we continually hear new combinations of the material which the delegates bring).

 

Groups of participants will be given stop-watches to indicate when to initiate and stop their contributions.

 

Each group of delegates will need to practice their own portion so that it can be delivered confidently (whatever it is) and can be stopped and started on cue so as to play their part well in the overall structure.

 

A sonic and textual journey will be devised based on the types of material brought (a rule of the game is that no new material can be added by us), delegates will be placed around the Cathedral and remain in position ready to deliver their own material, and will be cued to do so in a way that creates a meaningful and engaging structure. The origin of sound moves around the Cathedral. It is like a procession except it is the sound that is moving, a Mexican wave concept.

 

Into this structure we will place whatever the delegates bring with them.

It would be good if those participating had a moment to step out of their participation and experience that of the others (the experience will differ as one walks around the space). The structure will be designed so that each participant is inactive for most of the time so is able to take in what is happening around them.

 

Organ improvisations will incorporate any musical material which cannot be included due to excess.

 

John Cage is the guide here: the experience will certainly be random but to work well it should be a randomness that is structured, so that the multiplicity is meaningful and inspiring rather than overwhelming.

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