New Wave Sound: Senex et Sonis

Senex et Sonis: Old Sounds. This program explores the recorder, its representations and its repertoire throughout history. Creating a crossover between the historical performance practice of early medieval and renaissance pieces and today’s contemporary electroacoustic environment, the performers create a synthesis of sound, through the juxtaposition of contemporary and early repertoire. The unique position of recorder players allows them to draw on knowledge of centuries of literature to enable the performers to take the audience through a sound world like none other. With over 20 different instruments, live electronic manipulation, improvisation, experimentation, visual media and new works by Australian and international composers, The Recorder Project successfully push the boundaries of one of the world’s oldest, unchanged instruments.

This performance combines early and contemporary repertoire through ensemble, experimenting with the rich history the instrument has to offer, and drawing on the illustration the instrument is notorious for: nature. The use of technology in today’s performance world greatly increases the capability of this instrument. This alone has contributed to the transformation of the recorder from the ancient instrument it once was, to a modern instrument once thought to be lost – now a fierce competitor in today’s contemporary and musical domain.

The program consists of five pieces written for two recorders including two world premieres by Australian composers Amanda Cole and Eve Klein. Each piece has an affinity with nature, using the recorder to reflect this concept. The program features three Australian composers. Matthew Shlomowitz’s piece Earth Breeze Smoke combines two descant recorders and a pre-recording of a distinctive sound environment, whether it is on the street, in a park or in a field. Eve Klein (aka Textile Audio) uses field recordings, natural sound and electronics to weave rich soundscapes and textures in her multi-channel work Codextant: Medieval Immersions in New England. Amanda Cole’s new work for two recorders and electronics will experiment with aspects of the natural sound world in combination with light, in an intriguing exploration of the instrument’s history within a contemporary context.

The audience will also be taken back in time to the recorder’s heyday, the medieval and renaissance period. Drawing from repertoire that spoke of nature, love and the pastoral, these normally acoustic pieces will be transformed through the use of live electronic effects, bringing these old sacred and secular works into the context of contemporary works performed. Finally Cheil Meijering’s Bird’s Paradise, for three different recorders and fixed media, is an electro-pop influenced work inspired by the Japanese background of Miako Klein, for whom the piece was written. Meijering describes Miako as a “peculiar bird, beside the highway of likfe, picking her own grains of life”, he incorporates a Japanese song from her childhood, and forever indicates that the players should perform the music like birds.

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Senex et Sonis is part of Vivid Music @ Seymour