October 31, 2015

All Hallows’ Eve

8.45 am. I ruminated on yesterday’s sonic efforts. In so doing, my mind returned to John Tavener’s Fall and Resurrection (2000). It was premiered at St Paul’s Cathedral on 4 January of that year. I was conducting research in London at that time. I recall hearing, from the balcony of a flat at Blackfriars where I was staying, the peel of the Cathedral’s bells drifting across the Thames, late in the evening (which was unusual). What I was also listening too, unbeknown to me at the time, was the closing moments of the composition’s finale, ‘Cosmic Dance of the Resurrection: All is Transfigured’. Inside the Cathedral, the orchestra and choir had reached an ecstatic crescendo — creating a wall of sound (noise, almost) — which ceased suddenly; and as the final note reverberated throughout the capacious interior, the ringing benediction was revealed.


11.00 am. I returned to the composition entitled ‘Amen Amen’. For some time, I’ve been discontent with the two-tone drone (one semitone apart) that underlies the composition; it’s insufficiently forward in the mix. Unfortunately, the errant tones are sealed within a bounced track, and so cannot be amplified independently of all the other sounds embedded along with it. The only solution was to manufacture drones of an identical timbre and to run them in parallel and beneath the original bounced track. A heavily distorted note, produced by an electric guitar played through effectors, was digitally sampled, frozen, recorded, imported into the composition’s session, and further modified to match the fabric of the whole. (Invisible mending, of sorts.):


1.40 pm. The additional samples were edited to match the pattern of oscillation formed by the two original drones. Finally, monaural copies of the adjusted samples, pitched one octave lower, were layered beneath, and the composition realigned to balance the stereo field:

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 14.44.54

I never complete the master mix in the same session as the composition. I’ll need to come back to it, later, with a fresh ear.

2.30 pm. I returned to ‘Image and Inscription’ and commenced mapping a timeline of events leading up to, during, and following Moses’s receipt of the Ten Commandments. While the composition is focussed upon the prohibitions of the Second Commandment, nevertheless the context is important. Not least because this in the environment in which the visual and acoustic drama takes places. The framework of the sound piece will begin with the first of many ascents and descents of the Mount made by Moses, and end with his destruction of the two tables of the law. The act was symbolic of the Israelite’s transgression of Second Commandment (and, thus, of all ten) by fashioning the golden calf (Exod. 32.4):


5.15 pm. Glory (unashamedly). Pause (necessarily). Stop:


6.30 pm. An evening with my wife.

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