Pierre Mariétan

Produced by
Electronic Music Foundation

Ear to the Earth 2006
Ports of Call 2

Monday, October 11, 2006 at 8pm
Judson Church
55 Washington Square South

The title of the concert was meant to suggest the relationship between a place and the sounds that identify it. The idea of relating sounds to a place is also expressed in the title of a book by Pierre Mariétan - La Musique du Lieu (The Music of the Place) - that in part describes his trip to Hanoi. In this concert, Pierre Marietan discussed the 'music of Hanoi' and its function in navigating through the city in daily life. Steven Feld's music was based on bells that play roles in the culural life of European cities. Hildegard Westerkamp talked about the sounds of the raincoast of western Canada. Steven M. Miller presented a sound documentation of the Pecos River.

PROGRAM


Le Son de Hanoï, Cité Musique...............................................................................................Pierre Mariétan
A Copenhagen Carillon..............................................................................................................Steven Feld
Talking Rain..............................................................................................................Hildegard Westerkamp
Along the Pecos..................................................................................................................Steven M. Miller

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Le Son de Hanoï, Cité

Pierre Marietan writes: "It's difficult to hear voices without understanding the meaning of what's being said, but listening first to the confusion of voices is enough. I'm busy listening without understanding to an ensemble that shifts at the mercy of the movements within it like a rising tide from which shouts emerge. The voices go with the gestures in the market, and the gestures are heard as picking up and putting down and working the produce and the objects. These noises speak precisely of the space in which they occur and the space acts as a model of a gigantic throat to let us hear the voice of urban everyday life, like other models for city spaces like the church, the theater, the stadium, the train station, the department store, the street ... "

A Copenhagen Carillon

Steven Feld writes:

"Vor Frelsers Kirke (Church of Our Savior), is a distinctive Copenhagen landmark, well known for its 400-step twisted staircase tower and gilded globe spire. Equally a distinctive soundmark, it houses the first large concert carillon constructed in Scandanavia, built in 1928, and, after rust damage, rebuilt in 1981. The instrument consists of forty-eight bells with a range of four octaves.

"I recorded the carillon in the rain from immediately across the street, as bikes, prams, buses, trucks, and walkers passed left to right and right to left in waves, splashing through puddles along the road. It was late October 2004; in the wet and cold atmosphere, the skies gray, alternately opening and closing, the carillon sounds particularly reverberant.

"Carilloner Ulla Laage's program includes Etude by Gary White, the Prelude to Cello Suite number one in G by J. S. Bach, arranged by Albert Gerken, and a hymn from 1653, Dybt haelder aret i sin gang, by Johann Crüger. A strike of hours and computer controlled automatic bell chime follow. John Cage once asked if a truck going past a music school was more musical than a truck going past a factory. This piece asks a similar question. Do we hear a carillon become more musical or less - by its interaction with environmental sounds?"

Talking Rain

Hildegard Westerkamp writes:

"Rainsounds from the westcoast of British Columbia, Canada are the basic compositional materials for Talking Rain. Through them I speak to you about this place. The raincoast. A lush and green place. Made that way by rain. Nourished by rain, life-giving rain. In Talking Rain the ear travels into the sonic formations of rain, into the insides of that place of nourishment as well as outside to the watery, liquid language of animals, forests and human habitations, all of which are nourished by the rain.

"Talking Rain was commissioned by CBC Radio for Westcoast Performance. It was realized in my own studio, Inside the Soundscape, and was premiered on April 20, 1997. Most rain recordings for this piece were made by myself in and around Vancouver. Thanks to Norbert Ruebsaat for providing his recordings of ravens, eagles and frogs from Haida Gwaii and also for finding the right title for the piece, magically. Thanks to Bruce Davis and Peter Huse for their highÐquality recordings made in the early seventies for the World Soundscape ProjectÕs environmental tape collection at Simon Fraser University; to Robert MacNevin for his equally highÐquality recordings made 20 years later (1991 to 95) for the same collection; to David Grierson for his light footsteps and receptive ears during the recording of our rainy forest soundwalk in Lighthouse Park near Vancouver. Special thanks go to John Siddall, producer of Westcoast Performance for giving me this opportunity and for challenging me to create a radio piece with sounds that must be the most difficult sounds to broadcast!

"Talking Rain is dedicated to my companion Peter Grant."

Along the Pecos

The composer writes: "Along its course, the Pecos River links a multitude of geographies, joining a diversity of personal and cultural relationships to its histories, myths, and possible futures. The river traverses public and private lands, designated wilderness and urban space, and agriculture and industry as it winds its way through eastern New Mexico and ultimately across western Texas to the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. In my sound recordings, I gather aural impressions of place along the Pecos River from near the headwaters in north central New Mexico down through the southeast corner of the state. Arranged in a multilayered and multi-channel surround-sound composition, my intent is for the sounds to investigate the complex sonic environment and the varied textures, timbres, and rhythms to be found along the river as it negotiates passage among diverse cultures and geographies. Birds, planes, automobiles, wind, insects, and the ever-present and ever-changing water channel itself provide only some of the more common among the seemingly endless array of sonic impressions."