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Prof. Rajmil Fischman
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- Free Software
Rajmil Fischman (b. Lima, Peru, 1956) is Professor of Composition at Keele University (UK), where he established the MA/MSc courses in Digital Music Technology and the Computer Music Laboratory. Attended musical studies at the National Conservatory of Lima (Peru), the Rubin Academy - Tel Aviv University (Israel) and York University (UK), where he obtained a DPhil in 1991. He studied composition with Abel Ehrlich, John Paynter and Richard Orton. He also obtained a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology, in 1980.
Fischman was artistic director and principal conductor of the Keele Philharmonic Society (1990-1995), Director of Music (1998-2000) and Music Technology Programme Director (2001-4). He joined the Composers’ Desktop Project (CDP), becoming a director in 1988, and is a member of the Latin-American Sonic Arts Network (RedASLA), the Peruvian Circle of Composers (Circomper) and Sound and Music. He is editorial adviser for Organised Sound (Cambridge University Press, UK).
His main activities focus on composition, sonic arts theory and music software development. Compositions include acoustic, electro-acoustic, interactive, audiovisual and multimedia, and the use of gestures to operate digital controllers in conjunction with multi-channel spatialisation. These are part of the long term aim to realise structured interactive immersive musical experiences, in which users advance at their own pace, choosing their own trajectory through a musical work but having to act within its structure, rules and constraints. His compositions have received numerous international performances and been broadcast worldwide.
Fischman R. (forthcoming, 2014). ‘The Tree of Knowledge Still Bears Fruit’. In M. Miller (ed.), Art Musics of Israel. London: Brepols Publishers.
Fischman R. (forthcoming, 2013). Mekorot Hamuzica Havisualit: Perspectiva Muzicalit’ (Hebrew) [The Origins of Visual Music: A Musical Perspective]. In Y. Kaduri, M. Zur (eds.), Ear Sees, Eye Hears: On the Interconnections among Sound and Picture in Art (in Hebrew).The Hebrew University Magnes Press: Jerusalem.
Fischman, R. (forthcoming, 2013). Zocher Bni? (¿Te Acuerdas Hijo?): Mishor Ishi, Consept Veestrategiot Audio-Vizualiot’ (Hebrew) [Do You Remember Son? (¿Te Acuerdas Hijo?): Personal Aspect, Artistic Concept andAudiovisual Strategies]. In Y. Kaduri, M. Zur (eds.), Ear Sees, Eye Hears: On the Interconnections among Sound and Picture in Art (in Hebrew).The Hebrew University Magnes Press: Jerusalem.
Battey B, Fischman R (forthcoming, 2012). ‘Convergence of Time and Space: The Practice of Visual Music from an Electroacoustic Music Perspective’ (working title). Oxford Handbook of Music, Sound, and Image in the Fine Arts . Yael Kaduri, Editor.
Fischman R. 2003. ‘Derivation of Organic Musical Structure and Materials from the Solution of Differential Equations’. In R. M. Kwami (ed.), Intercultural Music, Vol. 5. Point Richmond, CA: MRI Press, 117-43.
Fischman R. 2000. Multiband Processing with Time-varying Filters. In R. Boulanger (ed.), The Csound Book. . MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, CD Chapters.
Fischman R. 2000. A Tutorial Survey of "Classic" Synthesis Techniques. In R. Boulanger (ed.), The Csound Book. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 223-60.
Fischman R, 1991/2007. ‘Musical Applications of Digital Synthesis and Processing Techniques’ - Realisation using Csound and the Phase Vocoder. Published on request of CIRCOMPER – Peruvian Circle of Composers, http://www.geocities.ws/circomper2/Csound.pdf. Also available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/63956288/Fischman-Digital-Applications-of-Digital-Synthesis-and-Processing-Techniques: 316 pages (Accessed: 1/11/11).
Fischman R. 2013. A Manual Actions Expressive System (MAES). Organised Sound 18(3): 328-45.
Audiovisual examples to be included in the Organised Sound 18(3) DVD.
Fischman R. 2013. Expresión Musical Hecha a Mano [Handmade Musical Expression]. Arte & Ciencia. Revista para la divulgación artística y científica 1: 5-19. Available online including video examples: http://www.laboratorioklem.com/Publicaciones_files/revista_espacioklem_2012.pdf (Accessed: 12/4/13).
Fischman R. 2012. Otras Interacciones [Other Interactions]. Revista En el límite - Escritos Sobre Arte y Tecnología, CEPSA - Universidad Nacional de Lanús – Argentina 2(2): 16-27. Download at http://www.unla.edu.ar/index.php/en-el-limite-numeros-descargas (Accessed: 15/314).
Fischman R. 2011. Back to the Parlour . Sonic Ideas – Ideas Sónicas 3(2): 53-66.
Fischman R. 2008. Divine diversification or grey goo?’ Sonic Ideas – Ideas Sónicas1(1): 46-54.
Fischman R. 2008. Mimetic Space – Unravelled. Organised Sound 13(2): 111-22.
Audio examples appear in Organised Sound 13(3) CD.
Fischman R. 2007. Mimetic Space: a conceptual framework for the discussion, analysis and creation of mimetic discourse and structure. Proceedings of the EMS07 Conference, De Montfort University.Leicester: Electroacoustic Music Studies Network.http://www.ems-network.org/spip.php?article266
Fischman R. 2005. Tslilim Umetsaltselim – Hirhurim al Musica VeCalcala (Hebrew: ?? ?????? ?????? ?,????????'.) [Sounds and Pennies – Thoughts on Music and Economics]. TAV+ 5: 9-18.
Fischman R. 2003. Clouds, Pyramids and Diamonds: Applying Schrödinger’s Equation to Granular Synthesis and Compositional Structure. Computer Music Journal 27 (2): 47-69.
Audio examples in Computer Music Journal 27(4) DVD.
Fischman R. 2002. Application of Mathematical Models to the Generation of Organic Musical Structure and Discourse in Composition: Research Summary. Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference. Göteborg/San Francisco: ICMA Press, 516-21. Also available online: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/i/icmc/bbp2372.2002?rgn=full+text (Accessed: 15/3/14).
Fischman R. 2000. Graphic Score and Hierarchical Structure of Point Virgule, a work by Jean-François Denis. Canadian Electroacoustic Music Community. http://cec.sonus.ca/econtact/SAN/Fischman.htm (Accessed: 6/2/11).
Fischman R. 1999. Global Village - Local Universe. Leonardo Music Journal 9: 53-62.
Fischman R. 1997. Analysis of Crosstalk, a work by Michael Vaughan. Organised Sound 2(3): 225-51.
Fischman R. 1997. The Phase Vocoder: Theory and Practice. Organised Sound 2(2): 127-45.
Audio examples in Organised Sound 2(3) CD.
Fischman R. 1995. A Systematic Approach to the Analysis of Music for Tape. In Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference Banff/San Francisco: ICMA Press, 467-74. Also available online here
Fischman R. 1994. Music for the Masses. Journal of New Music Research23: 245-64.
Fischman R. 1994. Sound Processing in Los Dados Eternos. Contemporary Music Review10(2): 181-90.
Audio examples from Los Dados Eternos included in accompanying cassette.
Fischman R. 1989. CDPDEMO - An Example Program Using the CDP Soundfile Graphics Library, The CDP Yearbook, 89: 45-52.
Organised Sound 3(1), 1998. Cambridge University Press.
Published Music Scores
Fischman R. 2009. No Me Quedo...(plantado en este verso) (ensemble and digital audio, 2000, bars 395-407). In T. Sauer (ed.) Notations 21. New York: Mark Batty Publisher, 70.
Fischman R. 2000. Magister Ludi (chamber orchestra, 1988). ). Israel Music Institute (IMI 7130), 43 pp.
Fischman R. 1988. Flauta y Guitarra (Flute and Guitar, 1987). Andressier Editions, London, 19 pp.
Fischman R, 2013. ¡A Que No Me Quemas! On eMBODYments, Music for Bass Clarinet and Electronics, Centaur, CRC 3265. Duration: 12:30.
Fischman R, 2007. Solo CD … a Wonderful World, including the following works: And I Think to Myself… (2001-2, 21:26), No Me Quedo ... (plantado en este verso) (2000, 17:46), Erwin’s Playground (2001, 9:12), Targilim Be'ivrit Shimushit (2003, 23:40), Suite à 'et ainsi de suite' v2 (2002, 1:03), EMF CD 063. Also available on request: email@example.com.
Fischman R, 1999. Kol HaTorr (1998), in CD for the 25th Euromicro Conference, Milan. Duration: 13:30.
Fischman R, 1999. Alma Latina (1996-7), excerpt, in Computer Music Journal CD, Sound Anthology, Vol. 23. Duration: 3:00.
Fischman R, 1998. Cold Fire (1994), in 1o Concorso Internazionale de Composizione Elettronica “PIERRE SCHAEFER”, Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Italy, MV001 - 1998 - SIAE. Nicky Haire, Rachel Eaton, Clare Catchpole, Peter Nicholson, Cond. Hector Macandrew, diffusion Rajmil Fischman. Duration: 7:24.
Fischman R. 2007. ¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? Visual Music Collection. NorthEastern University Libraries. Duration: 16’38. http://www.worldcat.org/title/te-acuerdas-hijo/oclc/233700020
Fischman R, 2012. Ruraq Maki. Clásicos Peruanos YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb2FMNiL0-4&list=UUaIgNUZofIze64sAVqDPmwQ (Accessed: 15/3/14).
Fischman R, 2012. No Me Quedo … (plantado en este verso). Clásicos Peruanos YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sh54WHCHdQ&list=UUaIgNUZofIze64sAVqDPmwQ (Accessed: 15/3/14)..
Fischman R, 2012. El Picaflor y el Huaco. Clásicos Peruanos YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpK4sQA8nUk&list=UUaIgNUZofIze64sAVqDPmwQ (Accessed: 15/3/14).
Fischman R, 2010. ¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/55093631 (Accessed: 1/11/11).
Fischman R. 2007. ¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? Excerpt (3’) featured online at Animation World Network Television – AWNtv, http://www.awntv.com/videos/te-acuerdas-hijo-do-you-remember-son (Accessed: 6/12/12).
Fischman R. 2007. ¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? Excerpt (3’) featured online at Animation World Magazine.
Fischman R. Various compositions: SONUS (Canadian Electroacoustic Community website).
Fischman R. 2002. AL - Algorithmic Composition Graphics Environment - and ERWIN - COM plug-in for granular synthesis using the statistical distributions obtained from Schrödinger’s quantum mechanics equation for a potential with spherical symmetry (C++/Windows/DirectX).
Produced with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), UK.
Distributed under the GNU general public license: click here to download.
Also distributed by the Composers’ Desktop Project.
Reviewed in Electronic Musician, November 2003 (see review online). Listed in ALGORITHMIC.NET.
Fischman R, Hansell D, Kudumakis P, Jongman A, 1992. KEELEDESK - a compositional environment for the manipulation and processing of soundfiles in conjunction with other CDP software. This project includes and integrates the research and development carried out by Digital Music Technology MSc students. 1991. Distributed by the Composers' Desktop Project Ltd (C/68000 Assembler/GEM).
Fischman R, 1987-95. Miscellaneous programs for musical signal processing. Distributed by the Composers' Desktop Project (C/C++).
Fischman R, 1988. MAESTRO1 - SoundMaestro for CD production. Version 1. Distributed by Audio Design (C/68000 Assembler/GEM).
Fischman R, 1987. GRAPHLIB - CDP Graphics Library and manual. Distributed by the Composers' Desktop Project (C/68000 Assembler/GEM).
Fischman R, 1987. CDPDESK1 - CDP Desktop program. 1987. Distributed by the Composers' Desktop Project (C/68000 Assembler/GEM).
Costa pays homage to the Music and sounds of the Peruvian coast. Its rhythms, sonorities and musical interjections are incorporated into the electroacoustic idiom through the development of their timbral qualities; from the instrumental insinuations of the marinera and landó to the festejo and, ultimately, the waltz (vals) that materialises melodically and harmonically to conclude this work. However, the coastal environment could never be complete without the sonorities of its beaches: in Costa, the waves are always present…
1. Samples from www.freesound.org (Creative Commons license):
Author: Kyles (http://www.freesound.org/people/kyles/sounds/177699/).
Author: Audiactiva (http://www.freesound.org/people/Audiactiva/sounds/47494/).
Author: Kayvy (http://www.freesound.org/people/Kayyy/sounds/61013/).
2. Samples from De Wolfe XV Series Effects Collection (licensed to Keele University).
3. My own recordings, including the recorded musical passages.
Ruraq Maki, which means ‘handmade’ in the Quechua language spoken in the central Andes of South America, is a composition performed by means of natural hand actions (e.g. hitting virtual objects, shaking them, etc.). This is enabled by means of a self-contained ‘Manual Actions Expressive System’ (MAES) consisting of a digital glove controlled by specialised software for the creation of musical gestures. While these gestures result from tracking and analysing hand motion and finger bend, the technology allows performers to concentrate on natural actions from our daily use of the hands (e.g. the physical movement associated with hitting, shaking, dragging, etc.). Therefore, the performer generates and ‘manipulates’ sounds, shaping the latter, engaging with virtual sound sources and interacting with MAES in a manner similar to that of videogame play, in which the technology is driven by the user according to rules that vary depending on the current state of the ‘game’; i.e. the musical work. Future plans for MAES include the realisation of a ‘videogame score’ which will enable individuals who do not have formal musical training to perform works such as Ruraq Maki, engaging actively in music making. At the same time, it will still allow performers to achieve virtuosity by providing gestures that can be adapted to individual requirements.
I am grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UK for its support by means of a Research Fellowship Award, which made possible the realisation of MAES and Ruraq Maki.
Commissioned by Meitar Ensemble
The Tree of Knowledge provides a contemporary interpretation of the biblical tale relating the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden; in the context of the Middle East conflict. ‘Knowledge’ is not only acquisition of information (e.g. acknowledgement of ‘nakedness’), but also comprehension (e.g. understanding the significance and implications of nakedness). Comprehension can trigger ethical mechanisms that demand action (e.g. covering nakedness with garments). Finally, once knowledge has affected humans in this way, it changes their conception of life and the world, which will never be the same (e.g. they are expelled from paradise). This process has repeated itself throughout history in all areas of human activity.
In the case of historical conflicts, deepening our knowledge may question the common consensus of who is right or wrong. As is often the case in a chain of actions and reactions, it is not possible to pinpoint a cause of the conflict which is attributable to a single party, rendering any attempt to find culprits as irrelevant. In the case of prolonged struggles, the original agents may not be alive and a legacy is left to generations of human beings who were born into the conflict but did not cause it: in the end, all that remains is the suffering caused to all parties involved and, often, current reality bears little resemblance to the conditions in which the conflict originally developed. In such cases, knowledge may actually become a source for fresh and viable solutions.
Ets HaDa’at was awinner of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition 2011.
Hebrew Text English translation
Composed for Marco Antonio Mazzini
¡A Que No Me Quemas!, for bass clarinet and digital audio, is a tribute to Afro-Peruvian music. It takes its inspiration from the famous song El Alcatraz, a dance in which performers hold a candle and attempt to burn a handkerchief fastened to the backside of their partners. Indeed, the piece takes its title from the chorus of this song: ‘Bet you cannot burn my alcatraz’.
The bass clarinet material is based on phrases and gestures from the song. However, these are not repeated literally; instead, they are combined with other musical material and constructed into a collage, akin to the way a DJ reassembles asymmetrically tracks from a turntable. The digital audio part interacts with the bass clarinet both through rhythmic counterpoint and common timbral attributes.
After an introduction evoking the chorus, the piece presents the main musical material through a fast collage section, which is initially interjected by a preview of a slower section to be presented later. The fast material is then developed until it reaches the actual slow section, which concludes with an extended solo passage for the clarinet. The return of the audio leads to the reintroduction of fast material, which develops into a climax. The latter resolves into a final section evoking a chorus and response improvisation, underpinned by percussion. The coda, a development of the introduction, follows a short cadenza and concludes the piece.
¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? is dedicated to the memory of my father, Alberto Fischman (1920-1983).
The text appearing in the video is taken from the beginning of the Medieval Spanish poem Coplas on the Death of My Father, by Jorge Manrique (1440-1479), translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
O let the soul her slumbers break, / Let thought be quickened, and awake; / Awake to see / How soon this life is past and gone, / And death comes softly stealing on, / How silently!
The words spoken at ca. 9:00 translate as follows: Do you remember son? Here I also see you …
¿Te Acuerdas Hijo? was a finalist in the multimedia category of the 34th Bourges International competition, 2007.
Commissioned by Etty Ben-Zaken
Targilim Be’ivrit Shimushit is the setting of a text by the Israeli poet Dan Pagis. Following the vein of this ironic text, which focuses on expressions and linguistic tokens of Modern Hebrew, the music explores the phonetic aspects of the latter: in addition to semantic meaning, the words acquire further significance as timbral material within a purely musical context, providing points of contact between the live performer and the more abstract sonic dimension embodied in the electronic part. The latter was created using digital techniques to process a reading of Pagis by the singer Eti Ben-Zaken, for whom this work was composed.
In spite of having been written over thirty years ago, Pagis’ poem remains remarkably fresh in its subtle approach to the problematic of his country’s reality, as reflected in its final words:
And now, a final little drill.
It has two words. Find
the difference between the words:
(Shalom means peace and is used as a greeting: ‘may peace be with you’)
This piece is intended for a children audience as well as for adults who are young in spirit. As its title implies, it tells a short story using sonic material. However, the actual plot of this tale is left to each individual listener.
My own version is roughly as follows:
A strange thing happened to me the other day.
I was walking on my own. Layers of fog were swirling around me.
Suddenly, I heard a distant howl. There were also cries, roars and other sounds.
I thought I was imagining things but then, the fog cleared and I found myself in the midst of a wood, or was it a jungle?
There were birds, frogs and also animals I had never seen before. They were getting closer and closer and closer … the ground began to shake and rumble.
When the rumble stopped, a cloud of colourful bubbles started to rise. They slowly became birds and then, I heard them talking like people.
Everything began to spin. It turned faster and faster: the people, the birds, the animals.
A sudden roar was cut by a cockerel’s song and then … all my friends appeared.
It was day. I was so glad it was all a dream! … or was it?
Samples used: De Wolfe XV Series Effects Collection (royalty free) and my own recordings.
This is a revised version of a miniature that was composed as a response to a call for works to celebrate Jonty Harrison’s 50th Birthday. It uses two sounds from the beginning of Harrison’s work … et ainsi de suite…, which are processed using granulation techniques. It consists of five sections, with relative durations corresponding to the positions of the letters J, O, N, T, Y in the alphabet, and ends with the original version of sound from et ainsi ...
And I think to myself … Wisdom ; Courage ; Temperance-Peace … what a wonderful world
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
(George Weiss / Bob Thiele. Song popularised by Louis Armstrong)
In Plato’s book, The Republic, Socrates describes an ideal society, which rests on four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. While the interpretation of these virtues may be peculiar to Plato’s own thinking and probably heavy handed by modern standards, most of us, human beings, seem to have an innate inclination to adopt them as essential human values. We admire wisdom and courage, or at least recognise their validity. We often aspire to some sort of stability, order and peace, ensured by temperance. We demand justice!
Indeed, we all seem to want similar things. However, wisdom, courage, temperance and justice have distinct, often incompatible meanings to different people and social groups, posing a colossal obstacle towards that ‘wonderful world’. Is this why, when we look around we do not only see trees of green and red roses? In fact, we know of places where these sights have disappeared or been supplanted by misery and destruction. We hear babies who cry out of hunger or fear and who may not learn much even if they live to become adults. We experience violent upheavals in the name of high concepts and learn about a world in which the soul of most revolutions seem to live for one generation, being overwhelmed by the violence that made these same revolutions possible. We sense a ruthless order, which has given birth to ‘terror by the few’, whether these minorities are social dissidents or ruling governments. We find ourselves not only fighting for land, riches, power or even justice, but also, paradoxically, often ‘fighting for peace’ (is this not the best way to ensure that peace never comes?).
Against this background, And I think to myself … provides a musical externalisation of the thoughts and emotions resulting from a virtual ‘stroll’ through a reality admittedly far from Plato’s utopia. Its sections are intended to be a contemporary commentary on the Socratian virtues evolved from Plato’s time to our incipient third millennium. There are three central movements corresponding to the realisation of wisdom, courage and temperance. These are preceded by an introduction and followed by a conclusion; respectively related to the quotes of Weiss and Thiele’s song Wonderful World. The listener is free to speculate on the reason for not having a section entitled ‘Justice’.
Finally, the following people should be acknowledged for their contribution to the realisation of this piece:Mr. George W. Bush for his ‘Wisdom’, Mr. Anthony Blair for his ‘Courage’. Messrs Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon, for their contribution to Temperance-Peace, who, in this case, seem to have achieved a sense of balance and harmony despite their profound ideological and political differences*.
I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world
(Weiss / Thiele)
* Arafat (Arabic): You have humiliated us [by attacking] the house of our Head of State, the Airplanes of our Head of State, the Guards of our Head of State, the Office of our Head of State.
* Sharon (Hebrew): This time, Arafat will not mock us. He will not make a mockery of the government I head.
The name of this work is an allusion to Erwin Schröedinger - one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics - and his imaginary field of action; namely, the inner shells of the atom. Its musical material and its structure arise from the solutions and implications of an equation discovered by Schröedinger, which became a well known cornerstone of Quantum Mechanics and succeeded in explaining for the first time the structure of the Periodic Table of Elements.
The structure of Erwin’s Playground is modelled on a survey through various atomic energy levels, or shells, predicted by the equation: it begins at the lowest energy level, leaps to higher shells as this energy increases, reaches a maximum and then descends back, decreasing its energy until it reaches the lowest shell again. This may also be viewed as an excursion through the Periodic Table of Elements according to ascending order of atomic number, followed by a corresponding descent.
The sonic material was generated by applying the probability distributions obtained from Schröedinger’s equation to granular techniques, which are ideally suited for stochastic processing of musical material. According to Schröedinger’s equation, there are four possible types of energy shells found in the Periodic Table, labelled S, P, D and F. In Erwin’s Playground, these are differentiated by means of two main strategies. The first of these consists of using source sounds with common timbral attributes for each shell. The second strategy consists of the use of different grain attributes for different sections (e.g. duration, envelope, spatialisation, using different distributions to generate amplitude and duration, etc.).
I am grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), UK, for its support in the form of a Research Leave Award, which made possible the realisation of the project leading to the composition of this work.
Erwin’s Playground was created with AL and ERWIN, public domain software developed by the composer in order to enable the application of Schröedinger’s equation to the generation of granular clouds. It was a finalist at the 29th Bourges International competition, 2002. It was also finalist in the IV International Contemporary Music Contest "Città di Udine".
NO ME QUEDO ... (Plantado en este Verso)[I am not staying ... (stuck in this verse)], for saxophone (soprano & tenor), bassoon, violoncello, percussion and digital audio or clarinet (doubling bass Cl), bassoon, violoncello, percussion and digital audio, 2000, 17:30
Commissioned by Sonic Arts Network with funds from the Arts Council of England.
No Me Quedo … , for saxophone, bassoon, percussion, violoncello and digital audio, is a work consisting of five continuous sections and a coda. These take their titles from the text of a poem by the Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938):
1. Hay ganas de volver, de amar …
There are cravings for returning, for loving …
2. Hay ganas de un gran beso que amortaje a la Vida
There are cravings for a great kiss to shroud Life
3. Hay ganas de. . . no tener ganas / Señor; a ti yo te señalo
There are cravings … for not having cravings / Lord, I point at you
4. Y Dios, curvado en tiempo, se repite, y pasa …
And God, curved in time, repeats himself, and passes …
5. Cuando las sienes tocan su lúgubre tambor
When the temples play their lugubrious drum
Coda. Hay ganas de quedarse plantado en este verso … ¡pero yo no me quedo! ¡¡No Señor!!
There are cravings for staying stuck in this verse … but I am not staying! No way, Lord!
No Me Quedo … is dedicated to Dalit Fischman.
El Picaflor y el Huaco, written for the violinist Mieko Kanno and the harpsichordist Jane Chapman, is the result of a process of cross-synthesis, whereby the characteristics of two distinct sources are integrated in order to create a new musical entity. The first of these is El Picaflor (The Honeysuckler), a well known popular Andean tune written by Carlos Emanuel and Rosario Huirse Muñoz in the style of huaino; a traditional Andean dance characterised by its liveliness and spark which is widely used in indigenous festive ceremonies of the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands. El Picaflor takes a light and joyful view on love: ‘I wish I were a honeysuckler … to suck the honey of the flower of your lips’.
The second source is my own setting of the words of Huaco, a sombre poem by the Peruvian César Vallejo (1892-1938). Huaco is a term used to identify pre-Columbian pottery which is used here as a symbol of the proud soul of the indigenous population; a race which has had to endure endless hardship and abuse since the conquest of the Inca empire in the sixteenth century. Vallejo describes the Amerindian soul using a variety of metaphors, such as ‘I am the Condor nestling whose feathers were plucked by a Latin musket …’
There are three main sections - corresponding to the three stanzas of El Picaflor - with an introduction, and interlude and a coda. The slow introduction is dominated by the violin, which presents the beginning of Huaco. This material is then integrated with El Picaflor’s first stanza, which is characterised by irregular rhythmic gestures. Towards the end of this section, the harpsichord performs a brief quotation of the beginning of El Picaflor while the violin holds a trill; however, the harmony of this passage belongs to Huaco. An interlude similar to the introduction presents the continuation of Huacoand accelerates towards its integration with the second stanza, most of which is underpinned by an ‘asymmetric’ version of the huaino rhythm in the harpsichord. The piece proceeds directly into the third section, settling more consistently into a typical huaino with flashes of the third stanza of El Picaflor, performed by the harpsichord. At the same time, the violin concentrates on the melodic and rhythmic contour of Huaco, producing a polyrhythm (different rhythms being performed at the same time), a device found in Afro-Caribbean music. Occasionally, these passages are interrupted, giving way to variations of material from previous sections. The third section ends with the quote of the beginning of El Picaflor - this time with its original harmony - and is followed by a coda, which returns to the mood of Huaco.
For see , autumn is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
the voice of the turtledove is heard
in our land.
Song of Solomon, Ch. 2, 11-12
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???? ??? ??? ??:
?????? ???? ????
?? ????? ????
???? ???? ???? ??????:
??? ?????? ??, 11-12
Kol HaTorr - the voice of Torr (the turtledove) - celebrates the arrival of our son, presenting a subjective image of his budding personality and cheerful disposition.
The sounds in the piece originate from recordings made when he was two and six months old. However, while the generation of the different types of sonic material and their treatment and interaction are purposefully intuitive, the structure of Kol HaTorr is based on a hierarchy resulting from experiments carried out in other works, which are particularly concerned with derivation of musical structure and generation of material from the solutions of differential equations. The aim of these experiments is to present the listener with various levels of articulation through which musical development may hopefully be perceived and apprehended, and also to provide identifiable directional axes throughout this development which may give the work a sense of unity and integrity.
The particular structure of Kol HaTorr is akin to the energy levels determined by the principal and angular-momentum quantum numbers appearing in the solutions of a well-known cornerstone of quantum mechanics: Schröedinger’s equation for a potential with radial symmetry. It consists of seven sections. Each section corresponds to an energy level determined by the principal number, which, according to quantum mechanics, sets the length and nature of each of the seven periods in the table of known elements. The duration of each section is proportional to the average atomic number of each period.
Sections are subdivided into subsections corresponding to atomic shells determined by the angular momentum number. The duration of each shell is also proportional to the average atomic number of its constituent elements and its character depends on the type of musical material associated with it. Therefore, every time a particular shell appears in a section, its material is re-encountered and developed further and, as a result of the increase in atomic number average, it lasts longer.
There are four possible types of subsection, corresponding to the shells known as S, P, D and F. Subsections S consist of almost unprocessed, recognisable vocal utterances. P consists of asymmetric rhythmic complexes which, as the piece progresses, gradually resolve into a climatic rumba pattern. The latter has additional significance, providing a generational link of provenance which originates from my own childhood memories and environment: I vividly remember sounds of almost magical appeal coming through my bedroom window (or perhaps I only dreamt about these?). I learned much later in life that the band of street musicians was playing the percussive spell of rumba.
Subsections D mainly consist of two types of more or less granular streams: one is based on laughter and the other is abstract. The last appearance of this type of material in 6D (section 7) develops into the climax of the whole piece, the passage of widest bandwidth.
Initially, F is almost exclusively abstract; processes applied to the source sounds render them unrecognisable. The discourse is gentler and develops in the mid-high frequency register. However, in its second appearance (5F), it uses unprocessed vocal utterances above low frequency textures.
Transition from one section to the next is normally punctuated by silence. Transitions between subsections are effectuated by means of bridge passages in which one type of material leads to that of the following subsection.
The structure is articulated at various levels. In the first place, as mentioned above, sections become longer (section 1 only lasts a few seconds while section 7 is almost six minutes long), developing and extending previous sonic material and progressively adding new material. For instance, section 3 develops material of type S and P already presented in section 2; section 4 introduces material of type D for the first time, in addition to developing and extending types S and P, and so on.
In the second place, there are four independent threads of development corresponding to the way material of the same type is articulated (these are highlighted above). An instance of this type of process has been mentioned above: it concerns the treatment of P material, developed from a single initial gesture to rhythmic complexes which unveil the rumba rhythm in 6P and lead to the cadential conclusion of the whole piece in 7P.
In the third place, a process leading from absolute source recognition to absolute abstraction is articulated through the type of each subsection. This process evolves from directly recognisable vocal utterance in S to abstract textures in the first appearance of F and back to almost untouched recordings of Torr’s voice, towards the end. In general, sections which appear later present material which is increasingly processed and therefore in a more remote relationship to the source.
Finally, it is possible to group sections 1 to 5 into a larger structure lasting about three minutes, during which, except for sounds associated with shell F, most of the material of the piece is exposed and the process that transforms recognition into abstraction is initiated. This is followed by section 6, in which shell F appears for the first time and material from previous shells is developed. The piece is then concluded in section 7, which amalgamates the various types of material and blurs the transitions between shells.
Kol HaTorr was completed in June 1998 and is dedicated, with love, to Torr Fischman.
Kol HaTorr featured in the CD for the 25th Euromicro Conference, Milan, 1999.
Lands that are barren may have trees,
they may have water in abundance or be dry as deserts,
they may be desolate or densely populated,
they may be found everywhere…
What makes a land barren is not its statistics;
it is rather the effect it has on our spirit,
like the void instilled by a pale winter sun in a damp morning,
or by the thousands of heads and limbs of a grey ‘concrete forest’.
In fact, barren lands may not be physical,
and yet, they are definitely real …
The structure of Barren Lands is modelled on the periodicity of surf, consisting of repeated series of waves of increasing size and power. When the most powerful wave is reached, the cycle begins again. In the case of Barren Lands, there is one cycle made of three waves which are preceded by an introduction and followed by an epilogue. Each wave begins with the thinnest of sounds, builds towards a climax and, finally, dissolves.
Joint composition: Tsippi Fleischer, Rajmil Fischman.
Ramblings on a Volcano is the result of collaborative work between Tsippi Fleischer and Rajmil Fischman.
The sonic world of the piece revolves around the dichotomy and integration of real sounds - particularly the human voice - and synthetic entities which defy the anecdotal experience of the listener. For example, voices may slowly loose their human characteristics as well as their limitations, changing timbre, lasting longer than breath would allow and transforming into non-vocal sounds.
This piece was realised at Keele University electroacoustic studios. It was released on the compact disc Ethnic Silhouettes, Opus One, CD 181, 2001.
Composed for Jane Chapman
States and Transitions, written for the harpsichordist Jane Chapman, focuses on derivation of organic musical structure and generation of coherent material which preserves musical logic, from the solutions of differential equations. In particular, this piece attempts to realise the possibilities offered by Schröedinger’s equation for a potential with spherical symmetry.
Its structure consists of a hierarchy akin to the energy levels determined by the principal and angular-momentum quantum numbers appearing in the solutions. Its seven sections correspond to the principal energy levels found in the formation of the elements of the periodic table. The duration of each section is proportional to the average atomic number of each period. Each section is subdivided into subsections corresponding to atomic sub-shells determined by the angular momentum quantum number. A shell is associated with a particular type of musical material, with its own motivic foundation, which is developed throughout the sections. Thus, every time the material is re-encountered in a new section, it is developed further and, as a result of the increase in atomic number average, it lasts longer.
The micro-level detail was derived from the statistical distributions obtained from the equation, which were used as generators of musical properties: the pitch material was produced statistically, by means of a correspondence between the most probable radius and the number of semitones from the centre of the keyboard. Due to the fact that Schröedinger’s distributions favour certain radial values, pitch derivation also resulted in the generation of different harmonic fields which characterise subsections.
Time is a strange background against which our lives develop. Linearity is usually out of the question and memory cunningly warps and re-invents our past experience to such an extent that the latter becomes alive, threading between past and future.
It has been forty years since my personal thread started, more than twenty since I left the birthplace and a long time since my last visit. During all this span - especially after leaving and finding other homes - the conglomeration of conscious and subconscious moments bubbled out, combined with new experiences and created labyrinthine inner passages in which sounds, images, smells and other sensations from different periods mixed and evolved into new forms. Music which was previously dismissed and undervalued suddenly acquired a new significance. Strong images of pain and joy amidst the contrasting richness and poverty of a South American city became representative of a historico-political situation. Taste and scent of food, combined with the physical sensation of dance movement, turned into cornerstones of thought about the essence of human condition.
All of these are now part of a humble inner world, a world which is not - and never was - purely and parochially reduced to the life of a small territorial area or a capricious national entity. It belongs to a spirit which absorbs and amalgamates in an attempt to overcome plain existence, whether it is the petty problematic of home and work or the daily tragedy of uncertain survival looming over so many in this world. Indeed, it laughs and mourns, it sings, it dances to the frenzy of grief and joy.
And so, this Latin soul hopes that there is still warmth and a reason to dance, that not all is lost and that, after all and in spite of thoughtless acts and dangerous ventures, life can still go on.
Alma Latina was one of the finalists in the 24th International Competition, Bourges.
This piece was initially conceived as the sonic part of a collaborative project with the artist Dalit Fischman, presented at the Fine Art Degree Exhibition, Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent, UK in July 1996.
The installation - entitled SAFAH - was an exploration of the relationships between the concepts of language and borders, which can act as a barrier of separation or become common ground for communication. In Hebrew, the word safah (language), is also synonym with edge, margin, shore, lip, edge of the womb and ... border.
Most of the sonic material is abstract, except for some allusion to speech. However the energy profiles and textures are intended to create an aural effect of various types of mass, both, as weight and as number of elements, as well as to give different perspectives of location and landscape.
Play MP3 (Nicky Haire, Rachel Eaton, Clare Catchpole, Peter Nicholson, Cond. Hector Macandrew) Score (PDF)
This is the first of a cycle of three pieces for string quartet and digital audio. Most of its material consists of two main sources - a recording of ice cubes falling into a glass of water and a blow-torch - which were manipulated and processed in order to create diverse textures as well as gestural material. In spite of its remote timbral origin, the digital audio interacts with the string quartet either by merging and enhancing spectral areas of its morphology or by providing contrasting rhythmic elements which act as counterpoint to the gestural discourse of the quartet.
Cold Fire received 2nd prize ex aequo in the instruments and digital audio category of the First International Competition of Computer Music “Pierre Schaeffer”, Accademia Musicale Pescarese ,1998. It was issued on CD, MV001 - 1998 - SIAE, Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Italy.
dedicated to Abel Ehrlich, an eighty year old youngster.
There are times when forces released by events upset the fine balance of human existence. Some are minor tremors; others unleash forceful waves which lift our spirits in exhilaration or smash our dreams into pieces. They may come from within or without, being the making of natural forces or the product of human hands and minds. They may be real, like the joyous fall of damned Berlin walls or just lurking in our hopes and fears, like the fury of uncontrolled atomic wrath.
When the turmoil of events finally fades, one is often left (if one is left at all) contemplating the remains, having a simultaneous glimpse at infinity and nothingness, feeling the omnipresent naught. In the quiet landscape and wide expanse, ‘near’ and ‘far’ appear to be so close, both within reach and, at the same time, so distant. And so, the ‘day after’ is often veiled by some kind of inner or outer peace ... or ... is peace the garment with which emptiness covers its skin in order to soften the blow of the day before?
The Day After … is the second of a cycle of three pieces for string quartet and digital audio.
‘Dance Suite’ for string quartet and digital audio was completed in June 1996. It is the third and last of a cycle of three pieces for this medium. Its formal structure is a remote allusion based on a transformation of the idea of a traditional suite. Like the latter, it is constructed using of several types of thematic material with distinct musical character which, in spite of not being actual music for dance, are intended to possess physicality in the form of their energetic profile.
The structure is developed by a gradual introduction of each new character while always referring to previous material. This creates an interleaf similar to that of da capo combinations of certain sections of traditional suites. Reference to previous material is never exact; nevertheless, it preserves its original character.
Quartet and digital audio reinforce each other rhythmically and texturally. The audio also contributes to the idea of dance in an anecdotal manner by alluding to small snippets of music originally intended for this purpose.
Sin Los Cuatro was composed using a Composers’ Desktop Project (CDP) computer workstation. Most of its material consists of two main sources - a recording of ice cubes falling into a glass of water and a blow-torch - which were manipulated and processed in order to create diverse textures as well as gestural material.
There have been not one but three spontaneous generations: the emergence of Being out of Nothingness, the awakening of Life out of Being, and the birth of Man ...
... There was no question that Life on earth was an ephemeral episode but Being itself was also - an interlude between Nothingness and Nothingness.
Dreams of Being, like any other piece of music, is an illusion of a self-contained, ephemeral world; an interlude between silence and silence. But at the same time, it is also an intentional humorous/serious version of Being, of Life and of Humankind.
Released on compact disc Mixed, NMCD036, 1996.
Play MP3 (Nicholas Harcourt-Smith) Score (PDF)
This is a piece for oboe, digital audio and real-time processing. The instrumental part includes a range of extended techniques such as multiphonics, sucking the reed, singing and playing, etc. In addition, sounds coming out from the oboe are processed during performance by two effects units, serving as a further extension of the capabilities of the instrument. This processing also creates a middle ground in which concrete sounds contained in the digital audio meet the sonic world produced by the live performer.
The digital audio serves several functions. In the first place it acts as an environment which transports the setting of the performance into diverse landscapes and situations. Secondly, it also fulfils an ‘orchestral’ function, complementing the solo performer either in an harmonic-timbral manner, or rhythmically by means of gestural counterpoint. Finally, it also contributes to the middle ground by using oboe sounds, which blend with the rest of the landscape or transform into other sounds. The performer is sometimes required to mimic some of these sampled oboe sounds in order to give the impression that they are coming out of the actual instrument. On other occasions, sounds produced by the performer are overlapped by the audio part, which transforms them in a manner which would be impossible for a real oboe. The digital audio was realised at Keele University studios.
Although this is not a programmatic piece, it was inspired by a poem of the same name by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo (1892-1938), which deals with the struggle between divinity and humanity, its results and implications. Los Dados Eternos is strongly influenced by Latin American culture, both, in its reference to music and language and in the unconscious manifestations of rhythm and dance within more abstract electroacoustic material.
Published by the Israel Music Institute (IMI)
Human dignity has always been an odd commodity: sometimes it is considered to be the most valuable thing in the universe. On other occasions, it is not even worth the dust on which thousands of bodies lie amidst war and famine.
This incongruity disturbs us. We try to cope in various ways. Some amongst us transform it into hatred; others find more or less satisfactory answers in science, religion or ideology. Perhaps, these strategies are nothing but a game through which we try to cling to feeble beliefs, convincing ourselves that if destiny is not in our hands, it is, at least, the domain of mighty gods - such as Universal Spirit, Motherland, etc. - which may act in our favour.
However, there are unique precious moments when illusions such as Music invoke and conjure a totally different universe. Then, for a glimpse and with no more reason than we had an instant ago, we believe that we are ... no ... we are! ... the Master of the Game.
Magister Ludi - Master of the Game - is a work which functions as a search for an answer.
The contemplative beginning presents the listener with the main materials of the piece: violins playing thirds in the high register and an incipient melodic cell propelled by a leap of oboe and bassoon are ruthlessly curtailed by an orchestral chord, after which the piano poses a question by means of short stabs.
The motives above undergo various processes of transformation and metamorphosis throughout the piece, turning into melodic fragments, expanding and contracting and assuming a variety of orchestral colours - as if searching for a definite identity. Progressively, the tempo becomes faster and the texture thicker, building up towards a climax; a point of saturation. When the latter is finally reached, each treble instrument plays its own independent theme. At the same time, the third originally presented by the violins finally reaches the depths of the orchestra, becoming a full-fledged musical phrase which is heard in the low register.
The climax is a cul de sac. The energy accumulated collapses into a progression of fast orchestral chords, after which everything returns to the initial contemplative state: again, the query of the piano … and silence.
Magister Ludi is dedicated to Dalit Fischman Hendel.
Play Song 1 MP3 Play Song 2 MP3 Play Song 3 MP3 Play Songs 4-5 MP3 (Karen Ratcliffe and Michael Bell)
Score (PDF) POEMS (Spanish) and English Translation (PDF)
Nostalgias Imperiales is based on two short works by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo (1892-1938). These focus on the life and conditions of the indigenous population in Vallejo’s country of origin. The first, a set of five poems from which the song cycle takes its name, presents the soul of a race which remains quietly proud in spite of centuries of oppression, while yearning for better times, long gone, when it was the centre of the Inca civilisation. The second, Terceto Autóctono, is a set of three whichcontrasts this nostalgic retrospection with the more mundane enjoyment of daily life. Out of the eight poems, five are set to music.
While influenced by Andean folklore, there is no attempt to quote, or to adhere to any strict authenticity. I have absorbed some of the traits as an inevitable experience of growing up in Perú and attempted to integrate these into a more personal discourse, which is the result of various other cultural influences (including a Western musical education).
Nostalgias Imperiales is dedicated to Angelina and Carlos Fishman.
There was no army [,no fence] and no destruction
for the donkey that grazed on the grass of ‘Bahad One’.
And there were no weapons, or hatred, or degeneration, or negativity.
He only saw the green grass and trees; food and tranquility.
Because it is only thoughts that give things their meaning,
and what we think is what we see.
And he was so serene, with no people in sight,
eating and eating all day long. And a barking dog,
running around him in circles was like an annoying fly
that the donkey did not bother to drive away:
he just ignored it.
And the donkey was nice and beautiful.
(Written while in the army)
Giora Ron (1960-1982)
From the remembrance booklet I Have so Much to Say, in memory of Giora Ron, who was killed in action near the town Ras Nebi Yunis in June 1982.
 Bracketed words were not used in the musical setting.
 Army training base
ERWIN'S PLAYGROUND, digital audio, 2001, 9’12
Released on compact discs:
Computer Music Journal DVD, Vol. 27, 2003.
NO ME QUEDO ... (Plantado en este Verso)[I am not staying ... (stuck in this verse)]
Version 1: saxophone (soprano & tenor), bassoon, violoncello, percussion and digital audio
Version 2: clarinet (doubling bass Cl), bassoon, violoncello, percussion and digital audio
Play (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group) Play MP3 excerpt
EL PICAFLOR Y EL HUACO[The Hummingbird and the 'Huaco'], for violin and harpsichord, 1999, 8:00
KOL HATORR [The Voice of the Dove], digital audio, 1998, 13:30
BARREN LANDS, digital audio, 1997, 10:05
See more details ...
BEIKVOT HAVOLCANO[Ramblings on a Volcano], digital audio, 1997, 4:45
compact disc Ethnic Silhouettes, Opus One, CD 181, 2001
STATES AND TRANSITIONSfor harpsichord, 1996 (rev. 1999), 11’
ALMA LATINA [Soul of a Latin], digital audio, 1996, 13:07
IF STONES COULD HAVE A BRIEF WORD ..., digital audio, 1996, 3:15
THREE PIECES FOR STRING QUARTET AND DIGITAL AUDIO
COLD FIRE, for string quartet and digital audio, 1994, 8:00
(Nicky Haire, Rachel Eaton, Clare Catchpole, Peter Nicholson, Cond. Hector Macandrew) Score (PDF)
Released on compact disc First International Competition of Computer Music “Pierre Schaeffer” CD, MV001 - 1998 - SIAE, Accademia Musicale Pescarese, Italy.
THE DAY AFTER... for string quartet and digital audio, 1995, 12:30
'Dance Suite' for string quartet and digital audio, 1996, 7:30
SIN LOS CUATRO, digital audio, 1994, 7:26
DREAMS OF BEING, digital audio, 1991, 7:31
Released on compact disc Mixed, NMCD036, 1996.
LOS DADOS ETERNOS(The Eternal Dice), for oboe, digital audio and live electronics, 1991, 23:00
MAGISTER LUDI for orchestra, 1988, 11’
Play (York University Chamber Orchestra, Cond. Graham)
Published by the Israel Music Institute (IMI).
NOSTALGIAS IMPERIALES [Imperial Nostalgias], song cycle for voice and piano, 1987 (rev. 1989), 19:00
(Karen Ratcliffe and Michael Bell)
GENESIS,for narrator and chamber ensemble, 1986, 13’
(York University New Music Ensemble, narr. Guy MIddlemiss, cond. Rajmil Fischman)
TWO MOODS, for three flutes, three oboes, harp, piano and two percussionists, 1986, 12:00
PINI's SONGS,for soprano and chamber ensemble, 1985, 30:00
MILIM SHEL GIORA(Giora's Words) for soprano and clarinet, 1984, 4’