Neuevocalsolisten and Gareth Davis

11 October 2012 - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale
bass clarinet
Elliott Sharp (1951) Turing Test  for 6 voices and bass clarinet - texts by Elliott Sharp (2012, 12’) world premiere
Johannes Schöllhorn (1962) C - Vier Etüden für vier Stimmen (soprano, mezzo soprano, contralto, controtenore) und Bassklarinette - from Geschichtklitterung by Johann Fischart (2012, 10’) world premiere
Oscar Bianchi (1975) Ante Litteram for 6 solo voices and bass clarinet - text by Nietzsche, Foster Wallace and others (2012, 16’)
Yannis Kyriakides (1969) The World Feels Pressure per 3 voices (soprano, contralto, bass), bass clarinet and live electronics (2012, 15’) world premiere
Bernhard Gander (1969) Deathtongue per 6 voices and contrabbass clarinet - text from Death Metal / Black Metal bands and Requiem (2012, 12’) world premiere
Neue Vocalsolisten: Sarah Maria Sun soprano acuto, Susanne Leitz-Lorey soprano lirico, Truike van der Poel mezzo soprano, Daniel Gloger countertenor, Martin Nagy tenor, Guillermo Anzorena baritone, Andreas Fischer bass
Gareth Davis bass clarinet
commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte
production la Biennale di Venezia and Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart as part of  ENPARTS – European Network of Performing Arts
with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

Five compositions for vocal ensemble and bass clarinet: a singular scoring, thought explicitly for the Neuevocalsolisten and Gareth Davis.

In Turing Test Elliott Sharp conceives a sort of miniature opera- or perhaps it would be better to say a representative madrigal - about the story of someone who does not know whether inside a computer there’s artificial intelligence or a real person.

As the title indicates, in C-Vier Etuden fur vier Stimmen und Bassklarinette by Johannes Schöllhorn the number 4 is decisive: these are four etudes for four voices, based on the four words listed under the letter “C” in the Rückläufiges Wörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache (1965) by Erich Mater, a backwards dictionary listing words according to their last letter. The 4 words are, in order, “ABC” “Morse- ABC” “chic” and “tic.”

Using disparate materials that nevertheless have to do with alphabets and lists, especially those contained in Geschichtklitterung (1575) by Johann Fischart, the piece also pursues from the musical point of view the idea of the assembly of heterogeneous elements grouped only under conventional criteria. Using fragments of Nietzsche, Foster Wallace and other authors, Oscar Bianchi poses questions about the shadowy area that comes before speech and language, “through an ante litteram handling of sound one makes progress in the awareness involved in listening to compose a sonic verb that escapes meaning to re-educate ourselves about the unknown, to regain possession of the unfamiliar. A verbalization of sound to accept and understand everything that precedes us.”

The World Feels Pressure by Yannis Kyriakides is built around pressure, understood as pervasive force, and the forms of resistance it encounters. For the intonation of the text by Dick Raaijmaker, a system has been created in which the singers’ notes are treated with Auto-Tune software that alters the voices, the bass clarinet adapts itself by distorting the harmony and a sound heard throughout the piece is modified according to the notes and texture of the vocals, so that “the musician’s sound is always coming under pressure from the sound mediated by the computer.”

As the title indicates, Deathtongue by Bernhard Gander is a piece about death, and speaks of it in an obscure language; the text uses aggressive and disturbing phrases from songs by death metal and black metal bands to combine them with the sculpted lines of the Requiem.
Cesare Fertonani