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Sounds of the World

August 6, 2011

There was a time when almost everything that I wrote and/or directed was inspired by the sounds of the natural world.

The last time I did a solo show – ‘The River Project’ in Melbourne in  2001 – the underlying soundtrack and inspiration was a beautiful recording of the Hudson River as it traveled from its source (bubbling up through the ground) to its merging with the sea off New York. From first droplets to a merging with the infinite….

I rewrote ‘The Tempest’ to set it in the Australian Outback for a big student cast, (a big cast, not big students…) where the time of day was evoked by different sorts of bird song.

I wrote and performed ‘Time & Tide’ which used the sound of the sea, in its different moods, to underpin the strange and surreal world of two timeless outsiders talking to the world only through a radio station that they ran.

I wrote ‘Standards’ – four radio pieces for voice, jazz improvisor and the sound of the wind and sea (though they never got any further than the page and a home-grown recording….)

Then, probably because I felt I was stuck, I stopped working with natural sound. It had become too familiar and too much of a ‘default’ setting in my imagination.

And yet nothing, nothing, stimulates me more than the sound and experience of this extraordinary world. The lashing of rain on a window. A blizzard. Thunder. Birdsong. The sound of a gum tree cracking in 40 degree heat. The sea raging or caressing at the edge of land. Breath.

Indeed, as I sit here and type, the British summer has become a damp day, which is made magnificent by the occasional rumble of thunder….

So I find myself back in that world, that place of imagining, where my music starts from the sounds of the natural world, the world of the human trying to stand tall in the face of the magnficent but indifferent energy of nature.

And it excites me.

Here is a piece of music I am developing for ‘Echo Chamber’ – it’s a simple piece intended to evoke ideas of a child, of a lost child, of awareness of the uncrossable distance between the person who is remembering and what it is that is being remembered. It is a respite from some of the more chaotic elements of the score.

Feel free to comment. Be nice.

Click on this link to listen…..

child’s theme

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