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|The Prix Palma Ars Acustica was founded be members
of the EBU’s Ars Acustica group to honor outstanding radio art
productions. In the Prix’ first year, 2013, the award goes to the
Lithuanian composer and media artist Arturas Bumšteinas for
“Epiloghi - Sei modi di dire Zangtumbtumb“ (produced by
Deutschlandradio Kultur, 2013), and one of two Honorary Mentions was
given to Jorge Boehringer and his piece “Wind Icon/River
Totem” (produced by Czech Radio, 2012).
1) „Wind Icon/River Totem”by Jorge Boehringer
“A river is not one thing, and the wind isn't either. In addition, neither sit still. Wind Icon/River Totem, is an intentionally acousmatic sound composition for radio broadcast made possible by generous invitation of Cesky Rozhlas.
In composing this music, I followed an extremely hybrid approach. This was done to retain the multiplicity of possible viewpoints and perceptions of the piece, in accordance with the nature of the site which inspired and provided the sonic 'ground' for much of the work. This site was a region above and below the surface of the Vltava, close to the Vyton-Smichov train bridge on the Smichov side, across the river from Vysehrad.
A great deal of the sounds used in the piece were recorded there, some during experiments with homemade hydrophones. These sounds where analyzed and some subsequently resynthesized using a granular process created with the dataflow programming language Pure Data. Wind-like behaviors where also modeled by filtering white noise with a dual-tiered system of moving, overlapping filters designed in Pure Data, and these sounds where then combined with the "natural" phonological (field-recorded) sounds. The third major group of sounds consist of a set of carefully recorded cymbal sounds, created using a bow and variety of lightweight metal beaters. The edgetone of the symbols was captured using a microphone array involving two different condenser microphones placed along side the edge of the cymbal, and in the space respectively. Two dynamic microphones placed perpendicular to the surface of the cymbal, and aligned to capture special harmonic qualities of the ringing metal. These cymbal sounds were recombined, analyzed (again using an FFT process) and partially or completely re-synthesized in the same manner mentioned above.
Bringing these sources together, in sometimes ambiguous ways both preserves and challenges identities, both of the sound vocabularies and of us, as listeners, and as people. Is the perception of a river a culturally mediated perception, or to what extent is its function transcendent of that in our shared environment, allowing the universal to enter. The idea, minimally, is that the perception of the listener creatively collaborates with the broadcast sounds. There are at least four rivers here, none the least of which is the river of radio, reflective of the pouring out of radiation following the big bang at the beginning of the universal expansion. The nature of background and foreground, of layers in moving textures are challenged and time looses its everyday association with expectation or intentionality in the pure, deep, and colourful vibrations of these ringing metal edgetones, and their sometimes unexpected behaviors brought about by interaction with our digital machines.
I am preceded in this work by many many composers, but in particular I found myself thinking often of Luc Ferrari's Presque Rien work, Horatio Radulescu's pacing and transitory timbral migrations, and the installation work of the often anonymous environmental sound designers whose compositions of field recordings augment indoor botanic gardens and arboretums here in Prague and worldwide. I want to specifically thank Michel Rataj and Cesky Rozhlas for inviting me to participate in this series.”
(Statement by the artist)
2) “Epiloghi - Sei modi di dire Zangtumbtumb“by Arturas Bumšteinas
Foto: Strefa Monotype, 2012
Six epilogues to Jacopo Peri's opera 'Dafne', in homage to René Descartes' 'The Passions of the Soul' and Luigi Russolo's manifesto 'The Art of Noises'.
In 1913 Luigi Russolo published the Futurist manifesto 'L'arte dei rumori' (The Art of Noises). In this he proclaimed the age of noise-sounds: The machine has created 'such a variety and such contention of noises that pure sound in its slightness and monotony no longer provokes emotion'.
100 years later, Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumšteinas goes looking for signs of Futurism. He finds what he is looking for in the Baroque era, where noise machines arrived in theatres, René Descartes described the human body as a machine, and equal temperament was not yet alone in determining the tonal system.
Bumšteinas combines recordings of old theatre machines with sounds from the harpsichord and prepared harpsichord: Emotive Baroque music meets futuristic effect noises. The starting point of his work is the Baroque opera 'Dafne':
'Dafne' is a musical/scenic work which is considered to be the first opera in music history. It was written in 1598 by Italian composer Jacopo Peri and librettist Ottavio Rinuccini. The libretto was published and has survived until the present day, but the music was lost in spite of its popularity in the time it was created and performed. The libretto of 'Dafne' is divided into a prologue and six scenes. Here is a synopsis:
Prologue: A Greek landscape at the foot of Mount Olympus. The poet Ovid speaks in his prologue of the god Apollo who mourns the metamorphosis of his beloved. Scene One: Nymphs and shepherds pray to the gods to save them from the terrible monster which destroys their flocks and poisons their fields and meadows. Apollo appears and slays the dragon with his invincible bow. Scene Two: Apollo meets Venus and her blind son Love or Cupid. The latter decides that his next victim will be Apollo who provokes him. He does not intend to rest until he pierces Apollo's heart with his arrow. Scene Three: Daphne, out hunting, learns from the shepherds how Apollo slew the dragon. Apollo appears and tries in vain to win the lovely nymph. While Daphne escapes into the wood, vindictive Cupid triumphs over Apollo, his victim. Scene Four: Cupid, exulting in his victory, decides to make his next victim the fugitive nymph, haughty Daphne who rejects the idea of love. Venus appears and learns from her son that at last Apollo has been wounded by his arrow. Scene Five: The messenger Thyrsis tells the nymphs and shepherds how the fugitive Daphne, to avoid being caught by Apollo, has transformed herself before his eyes into a laurel tree. They all mourn the fate of the lovely nymph. Scene Six: Apollo appears to the mourning shepherds and nymphs and laments the metamorphosis of his beloved Daphne. The nymphs and shepherds beg Cupid to preserve them from a similar fate.
Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumšteinas composed six versions of the imaginary epilogues for Peri's 'Dafne', each based on one of the basic human emotions – desire, hate, sadness, joy, love and wonder. Each epilogue features a short story which reveals the real and fictional fates of the opera's characters.
Epilogue One. Desire.
The laurel tree is waving its branches as if it is trying to say or reach out for something, or perhaps it is so restless because it is trying to break out of its once so desired shape. The tree is destined to wave its branches forever on its father's river bank and to groan in solitude.
Epilogue Two. Sadness.
Nymphs lament the loss of their dear friend Daphne and beg Cupid to preserve them from a similar fate. Their lamenting turns into a competition. The forest animals hear them and come closer to listen to the choir of weeping and tearful sighs.
Epilogue Three. Joy.
As in the original prologue, in this version of the epilogue we hear the poet Ovid speaking again. He speaks of the ride of the Roman Legionaries who, after their glorious victories, are hurrying back home with joy and anticipation eager to reach their city walls and enter the gates adorned with leaves of oak and laurel.
'When Roman captains home from victory
Ride with the Legions of Capitoline,
Their heads will shine with laurels and wherever
The Augustus sets his gates, plain or frontier,
Or Roman city wall, the bronze oak leaf
And the green-pointed laurel shall guard the portal
And grace the Roman crown <...>'
Epilogue Four. Hate.
Dafne's father Peneus grows angry at Apollo for chasing his daughter and arrives at the foot of Mount Olympus to speak to him. He finds nobody home, but cannot stop knocking desperately, again and again until one of the Twelve Olympians opens the door for him. Peneus becomes furious and threatens to destroy Mount Olympus.
Epilogue Five. Love.
In the next version of the epilogue we see Apollo falling in love again, this time with the young Spartan prince named Hyacinth. Apollo teaches the young Hyacinth the art of playing the lyre.
Epilogue Six. Wonder.
Cupid is victorious, there's no equal to his bow and arrows. We see Cupid wondering at his power to affect and change the lives and destinies of his targets. He flies, dizzied by his pride and shoots his sharp and blunt arrows that strike random hearts with terrible power. The sharp arrow that hits the heart makes no sound, the blunt arrows sound like a thunderstorm. Suddenly Cupid stops, because he anticipates the arrival of somebody who is going to challenge him.
(Statement by the artist)
Christine Kessler, harpsichord, fortepiano, voice
Per Simon Edström, historical theatre machines
Sofia Borg, historical theatre machines
Christer Nilsson, historical theatre machines
John Kapenekas, historical theatre machines
Kati Schmidt, historical theatre machines
Eimantas Liudavicius, historical theatre machines
“Epiloghi - Sei modi di dire Zangtumbtumb”
Epilogue One. Desire 002.10 min.
Epilogue Two. Sadness 006.47 min.
Epilogue Three. Joy 011.24 min.
Epilogue Four. Hate 006.02 min.
Epilogue Five. Love 003.06 min.
Epilogue Six. Wonder 008.53 min.
Music recordings: Andreas Stoffels
Harpsichord maker: Markus Fischinger
Theatre history advisor: Viktoria Tkaczyk
Assistant: Neele Hülcker
Composition and realization: Arturas Bumšteinas
Production: Deutschlandradio Kultur 2013
With many thanks to the Drottningholm Palace Theatre, the Stockholm Music and Theatre Museum, the Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm and the Foundation of the Friedenstein Palace in Gotha