Session/Séance 4h: MusCan Panel 2 Friday/vendredi 26 May 2017. 9:00AM-10:30AM, EJB 224.
Hammered (II): Piano, Modernist, Canadian
Chair: GLEN CARRUTHERS (Wilfrid Laurier University)
1. Mini-Concert: Selections from 15 for Piano (2012) by Howard Bashaw
Roger Admiral, University of Alberta
Wheels within wheels. Although stylistically diverse to a startling degree, the work’s fifteen movements nevertheless unfold in an overarching concert narrative, one both propelled and unified by a strategic ebb-and-flow of textural contrast and temporal momentum. Containing four, five and six movements respectively, the three sub-groups of movements (labelled ‘Parts’) are roughly parallel in design, and each unfolds the same basic narrative of contrasting movements as the combined, overall fifteen. Each Part begins with a flashy, toccata-like moto-perpetuo movement, and each ends with a developed, programmatic narrative inspired by ancient mythology. Six Gallery Short movements are distributed across the three groups and are based on brief, programmatic, snapshot-like images, either real or imagined. Other movements can be described according to the specific use of the keyboard (various combinations of black and white keys), or by the fixed number of associated voices (movements that use exclusively one, two, three or four voices throughout). In a manner similar to successive scenes in the playwright’s driving script, the three Parts generate broad, progressive stages of increasing intensity and drama that lead to an inevitable, final climax. 15 for Piano was co-commissioned through the Canada Council for the Arts by Roger Admiral, Winston Choi, Douglas Finch, Corey Hamm and Kyoko Hashimoto.
2. Electronic Technologies and Glenn Gould’s Virtuosity
Paul Sanden, University of Lethbridge
This paper examines Glenn Gould’s efforts, primarily through recordings and broadcasts, to frame his own musical identity and public persona – becoming, in effect, the first modern-day virtuoso to structure a career around the extensive (and exclusive) use of recording and broadcast technologies. After exploring Gould’s particular status as a virtuoso musician, and the methods he employed in the practice of that identity, I investigate Gould’s place within a broader context of musical virtuosity – first, by considering continuities between 19th-century concepts of virtuosity and Gould’s case; and second, by considering how Gould represents new formulations of musical virtuosity – particularly those dependent on his use of electronic technologies – that have continued to flourish in the 21st century. Musical virtuosity, in short, is a changing terrain, dependent for its definition upon the culture and time in which it is encountered (Bernstein 1998; Deaville 1997, 1998, 2003). My work builds on this concept by investigating how concepts of virtuosity formed in an age of ubiquitous electronic technologies are formed not only in response to a longstanding tradition of virtuosity, but also in response to the sound technologies that characterize current musical practices: recording, broadcasting, and other digital media. Particularly significant in Gould’s case are the extent to which his musical performances were “manufactured” in the recording studio, and the extent to which he employed mass media, especially CBC radio and television broadcasts, to shape his public image.
3. Examining Keith Hamel’s Touch for Piano and Interactive Electronics (2012) as a Performance by Megumi Masaki
Friedemann Sallis / Jeffrey Boyd / Martin Ritter, University of Calgary
This paper examines a performance by Megumi Masaki (Brandon U) of Touch for piano and interactive electronics (2012) by Keith Hamel (UBC). As with most live electronic music, numerous aspects of this composition escape conventional notation: for example the micro-tonal and spatial manipulation of sound, as well as the musical outcomes of motion capture tracking of the pianist’s hands during performance. Though they are useful for an analysis of the piano part, the score-based analytical methods of traditional music theory (pitch-class set analysis, neo-Riemannian theory, etc.) are insufficient for a study of the composition as a whole. In order to come to terms with this remarkably successful work that cannot be consigned to staff paper, we have undertaken a study of the creative processes of both the composer and the performer. This information will guide our interpretation of an ambisonic recording of the three-dimensional sound field generated by a performance of the work. Grounded in a thorough study of the composer’s working documents, this study hopes to shed light on the audio data of the performance through an analysis of the sound field. Our analytical method will use the techniques of computer vision to decompose the sound field according to the salient musical features of the work. The paper will present the multiple methodologies we are using in this study, as well as our preliminary findings.