Workshop 1 – 22/09/2020 – The Mother Star:

Tadas explained his initial reactions and we discussed how to proceed with this character:

  • Sun as a the figure of a wise man – perhaps the measurer himself in a dream – going through a rocky landscape in a red cape. The quarry itself is a white quarry. Figure climbing up a cliff in a background of white rocks. (Later commented by Roxanne that this is reminiscent of Sisyphus).
  • Include a bock or number or books – as the measurer is a scientist. In order to create a dreamy feel. This helps to connect things not explicitly but through the dream of the scientist.
    • See Gallery 1 for suggested imagery.
  • Dani discussed the idea of how science doesn’t show directly the final idea. There is the process of experimentation that has to happen first. This linked well with the initial idea behind the Mother Star – being that it was written in 4 sections to represent a filtering down of information so that the audience aren’t actually presented with what the Mother Star is until the end of the chorus.
  • Tadas expresses that there needs to be a coherence between the three videos of the three celestial bodies. Then he suggested that this could be done with colours, e.g. that Pantele could be blue because of water. Dani also pointed out that the blue is related to things moving closer (blue shift).
  • Discussion about gender of characters came next. Roxanne explained her views on it being a mostly feminine piece, but also still non gendered. The Mother Star is both man and woman, Pantele could also be both man and women, and Xoe is a woman.
  • Tadas asked to know more about the structure of the Mother Star and Dani shared the music on his screen. Dani described how the Mother Star music is a constantly moving and changing texture which he has created through randomly assigning musical elements to different instruments and different points. It will feel ultimately like an infinite rolling texture. He then went on to say that he has been asked to change his approach by his supervisor. So there may be some element of choice by the performers and task giving.
  • Dani projected that the length of the section about the Star will be 6-7 minutes. However he also said that the timing of the section can be set by what Tadas has.
  • Tadas suggested he could film many differnt versions of the same thing so that the film can respond to the differing intesities of the music but in a responsive and flexible way.
  • Roxanne then described how the character had been initially also thought about as the centre of an ecosystem, so this idea could be used to bring about a different visual image. For example there could be moments when we see the star connected to the other characters, or multiple images of the character on the screen at once, to show that they are part of a larger whole.
  • Dani pointed out that what he had played us was just the instruments texture based on the graviational interactions between the star and the planets. There would also be the second element of the voice on top of this, showing the filtration of noise down to the information about the star itself. Dani discussed how he is composing with the music post the supervisory advice, but that he is also going to keep his own arrangement so that he has this extra element to use when responding to Tadas’s films.
  • Tadas asked for some more information about the libretto, e.g. what a vocal fry is and what the final segment will sound like. Roxanne explained the sounds and also that the final part of the chorus would be spoken – similar to the moment of “Mayakofsky” in Berio’s symphone for 8 voices.
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQrvB8PJ8CE (The moment I was referring to is in the 3rd movement that moment I was referring to. It happens at about 20:20 but if you listen from 19:20 you can get a build up. I have heard more dramatic performances of this particular line but this is just the first one on youtube. The text there is beckett.)
    • After posting this I also thought that “perhaps I should rewrite this section so there is far more text for the performers to recite. I could also give that a go before next time and see what it’s like working with lots of almost meaningless text like the Beckett stuff here.”
  • Tadas then suggested that this last spoken bit could be a computerised voice. Dani then suggested synthesising multiple voices for the segment.
  • Tadas was describing how he would decide where to go with his images when the music and the voice went to a climax. Should the visuals mimic the voice or maybe should they do the opposite of the voice? Tadas suggested that he could try a few versions so we can all make a choice seeing how they all work.
  • Dani suggested that the music would show the climax by suddenly cutting and then after a silence triggering the voice.
  • Tadas responded by suggesting that this moment of climax could be a close up of an object – perhaps something that the scientist would dream in that moment. Tadas suggested some imagery of a liquid – for example pomegranate seeds crushed on a white cloth. To show the moment when we discover something and see it clearly.
    • See gallery 2 for example imagery.
  • Roxanne the commented that Tadas could use the films made with the microscope as he had sent out at the beginning. This links with the idea of a scientist, and also a scientist that uses magnification.
  • I decided towards the end of the session to do some experimenting with the text and recitation. Dani suggested I experiment with quaver 90. Dani suggested that I can suggest the rhythm that I actually want. He also suggested thinking about the stage directions and how the whole thing will be set in the planetarium.
  • When discussing final steps and where to go from here Tadas was thinking about what colours the other characters might be e.g. Pantele as blue, the Star as Orange/Red and Xoe as Brown.

The work generated and ideas shared directly in response to this workshop are below:

  • Links to videos from Tadas: ” If you have time, check out these trailers, they might help to understand the feel I am aiming at for the visuals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtsgH_KkW1M&ab_channel=HDRetroTrailers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmR0vi0ifzE&t=1s&ab_channel=ABKCORecords%26Films ”
  • See Gallery 3 for images by artist Dora Marr that Roxanne had been looking at in reference to dream imagery.
  • See documents below for new text created by Roxanne and a recording of the way Roxanne imagined this text being represented, alongside the final recitation.
Experimental vocal work on the Mother Star

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