From the bells and the brass

At this years Colchester New Music Day we had Beskpoke Brass perform music written by Colchester New Music members and selected from a call for scores. Two used electronics in accompaniment to the live ensemble, I however, elected to go the complete electronic route to give the players some needed lip rest and to fully exploit my specialist area.

I wanted to compare spectral data from both brass instruments and bells (the horn part of any brass instrument is known as bell and resonates to create the sound) and derive harmonies from the timbre of both instruments. This approach is loosely labelled “Spectralism” or is roughly banded with established spectral-led pieces (Tristran Murial, Gerard Grisey, Jonathan Harvey)

I used two key brass instruments, the tuba and bass trombone, then two bells, one which is at the end of a percussion instrument coil spring, the other is the clock bell on the exterior of St Giles Church, Cambridge (opposite the Kettles Yard Gallery). I recorded the bell from directly underneath. All the bell sounds in the piece are derived from those two sources. The brass samples were made in one session, then fed into a sampler, the extended techniques, fed into a granular sampler.

During the first writing of this piece Jonathan Harvey died and there is intention of a slight connection to “Mortus Plango” but its very subtle.

The bell call at the end (the only ones not to be used in processing/composition) came from the clock tower at Jedburgh

I diffused the performance version in Quadraphonic Surround at the Headgate Theatre.

About stuartrussellcomposer

Composer/ sound artist. Electronic musician. Modern classical composer
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