In this concert I am presenting works by two Australians with whom I have had long collaborative relationships, John Rodgers (b. 1963) and Anthony Pateras (b. 1979), both who are known equally as composers and improvisers working across a plethora of musical contexts. These works are nestled amongst short solo pieces by composers who have in some ways influenced them, as well as an improvisation with Dr Anthony Burr and a recent work of my own for an improviser and electronics.
John Rodgers' Duet for violin and bass clarinet is informed by the harmonic and rhythmic language of Elliott Carter, as well as his study of the rhythmic structures of South Indian Carnatic music. The two instrumental parts, which can also be performed as separate solo pieces, are written in different tempi; the violin's speed relates to that of the bass clarinet in the ratio of 5:7, creating two independent pulse streams that only meet when the violin plays septuplets to the bass clarinet's quintuplets. Dr Anthony Burr and John Rodgers were close colleagues whilst they were both living in Brisbane, Australia, and this work was originally written for and performed by the two of them. Dr Burr and I have both also worked extensively with Rodgers as improvisers, adapting many of the same musical principles to spontaneously composed music, and it thus seems fitting for us to follow this work with an improvised segment.
I also share a varied and enduring musical dialogue with the Melbourne-born composer and pianist Anthony Pateras, through performances in each other's and other colleagues' projects and most recently in an improvising duo. Pateras has, like Rodgers, been influenced by a diverse group of musicians, artists and thinkers, with Feldman and Xenakis foremost among them. Rules of Extraction, ** his new work for violin and electronics, creates a web of psychoacoustic phenomena through slowly evolving layers of oscillators, also recalling Alvin Lucier's works for solo instruments with sine waves.
Turing Test was inspired by Lydia Goehr's book 'Imaginary Museum of Musical Works', which questions the concept and locus of a 'musical work'; is it contained in ideal form in a notated score, or does it exist only through a concrete performance, or is it the sum total of its performances? And how does a work of music maintain its identity across different performances? Whilst Goehr mainly dicusses examples from the notated classical canon, the basic questions can be naturally extended to improvisation, especially as it is typical in this practice for iterations of the same 'work' to sound extremely different, to the point where recognition of any common, sustained identity across these iterations becomes almost impossible. In response to this book, I became interested in constructing a piece that combines a freely improvised part with a completely automated and structurally predetermined electronic part that processes (and thus requires) this live input, creating an interdependent dialogue between an abstract structure and spontaneous live performance.