From Silence


soprano, 6 players and tape
Abbess Of West Malling Abbey (Text), Jonathan Harvey (Text)
Electronics with Live Performers, Mixed Chamber Ensemble, Soprano
Jonathan Harvey and from West Malling Abbey
vln.vla - perc(1): 5 susp.cym/vib/2 c.bell/crot/mar/tamb/ch.dr/2 - 3 elec keyboards (Akai S-900, Yamaha DX7 IIFD & Yamaha TX816) - 2 SPX 90 II effects units with 3 technicians - Macintosh computer

Commissioned by the Music and Cognition Group of MIT

First Performance
2.2.89, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, USA: MIT Ensemble/Barry Vercoe/Karol Bennett

Score, parts and tape for hire

Programme Notes
for soprano, instrumental ensemble, three electronic keyboards and tape (duration 21 minutes) This work has a small part for tape, but is far more a work of live electronics, in which three keyboard players evoke a wide variety of electronic sounds, and the performers of acoustic instruments are sometimes ‘treated’. It approaches the numinous through text, sung by a solo soprano, conceived with direct mystical experience. From Silence was commissioned by the Music and Cognition Group at Massachusets Institute of Technology, and was created while Harvey was composer-in-residence at the MIT Media Laboratory in Spring 1988. It is a cantata whose sections correspond to symphonic movements; passages of non-discursive music mark the divisions, wind-like sounds to represent the silence that generates music, the silence in which music is implicit. The texts are meditative, some by the Abbess of West Malling Abbey, some by the composer himself.

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