The culmination of Open Bridges is the world premiere of a new acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by Hull based BAFTA award winning composer John Stead. Electro Acoustic Ensemble director, John will diffuse the live music – featuring found sounds recorded from Hull bridge opening mechanisms – in octophonic sound at TheStage@TheDock
The programme includes rare performances of musique concrète works by pioneers of electroacoustic and acousmatic music – Jean-Claude Risset’s “Elementa” and Francis Dhomont’s “Cycle du Son”.
Tickets for the music premiere and event on Friday 22nd September at Hull Stage@The Dock, Queen Street, Hull. HU1 1UU, doors 7.30 pm, £10 + booking fee available from Hull Box Office: https://www.hullboxoffice.com/events/open-bridges-music-premiere
“Moments in Time invites us in with familiar sounds of everyday life and unfamiliar sounds of the bridge mechanisms and shapes them into a piece that has momentum, a point of repose and reflection before taking us to a world of musical freedom where the sounds are transformed into a dream like musical landscape before returning us to the familiar, as the composer says ‘in a moment.’ The music takes the listener on an evocative journey building dynamically to the ‘revelation’ of the working sounds of the bridges and beyond.”
John Stead is a multi-award winning and internationally respected composer who has lived in Hull for most of his working life. Best known for light and sound installations, John’s work throughout the UK includes son et lumieres to celebrate the opening of Hull Tidal Barrier and Princes Quay, sacred space installations Day of Light at Lastingham and Another Mighty Angel at York’s NCEM.
Open Bridges: For the first time in Hull’s history the city will be split in two when all Hull’s 13 bridges will be simultaneously raised or barriered, momentarily denying the freedom of movement east or west across the River Hull. On September 22nd Open Bridges will signify the vital role bridges play in our everyday lives with a river journey, the mustering of historic vessels representing three centuries and a new musique concrète commission by BAFTA winning Hull based composer John Stead.
Electro Acoustic Ensemble cellist Nigel Bartram:
“My friend and colleague John Stead has been developing his unique style of ‘musique concrete’ compositions for many years – a music featuring sounds from the natural and human world (combined with synthetic textures) which become uncoupled from their normal associations and allow us to hear them in new ways i.e as the essential elements of a piece of music just as melody is, in a more traditional piece. John’s journey in this world has been fascinating and first captured my interest with a piece called ‘The Persistence of Memory’ in 1991. Projections of paintings from the Ferens Art gallery permanent collection were seen alongside a piece featuring birds, horses on cobbled streets and many other sounds over a synthetic texture. The result was a piece drawing us in to a world which seems familiar but also new as sounds are juxtaposed in surprising ways. We find ourselves making new associations or simply listening to the beauty of the sounds themselves.
John’s work (‘Moments in Time’) for the Open Bridges 2017 event is the latest development of this body of work by the composer. He invites us in with familiar sounds, allowing us to hear the unfamiliar (e.g the sounds of the bridge mechanisms) and then shaping this into a piece that has momentum, a point of repose and reflection before taking us to a world of musical freedom where the sounds are transformed into a dream like musical landscape before returning us to the familiar, as the composer says ‘in a moment.’
When you hear the work for the first time you will hear sounds which are obviously chosen by the composer from his locale and which are perhaps familiar to us. You will be surprised however by the speed of the journey through these sounds, how they are shaped and how intricate rhythms are created between them building dynamically to the ‘revelation’ of the working sounds of the bridges and beyond.
Over many years John has developed a language to create structure within a piece; he has favourite devices and referential sounds from earlier works which he contextualises in the work at hand. This creates seamless momentum and depth.
The final part plays with our collective imaginations, there are things we recognise but are we sure? ‘Play’ is an important tool for the musique concrete composer. The section explores sonic depths which will undoubtedly be spectacular given the large 8 speaker system John will be using. Finally this brings us to the movement of the sounds, sometimes gradually, at other times very rapidly between the speakers. This movement of sound is another carefully wrought aspect of the composition and it will be worth thinking about where you want to stand to get the most out of this highly imaginative and striking work.” Nigel Bartram August 2017
Open Bridges is an independent Hull based project by Duffy-Howard Music taking place during the Hull City of Culture Freedom Season. It is supported by Arts Council England and Hull City Arts Fund with partnership support from Hull City Council Streetscene and project partners Malcolm Scott, John Stead, Streetscene’s Andy Burton, Pete Curry, Graham Lownsborough and Bridge Operations staff, Helen Thackeray: Hull Events, John Medland, Phil Withers, Mal Nicholson and Historic Motor and Sail, Paul Escreet: SMS Towage, Simon Lee: Svitzer (Maersk), The Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society, The Beverley Barge Preservation Society, Freedom Festival’s Jenny Coombes, Hugh Jones of HPSS , C4Di, creative writers Christina Lewis and Russ Litten, photographers Piotr Korczynski and Graeme Oxby, Humber Film Creative Community and Octovision Media.
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