On Thursday 26th September, Lauren Redhead and I will perform a concert version of hearmleop-gieddunga made specifically for this concert. This concert will be a part of the Summit experimental music concert series that takes place each month at the historical The Eagle Inn, Salford, UK. The original album on the Pan y Rosas online label, can be heard here.
As a duet our performance usually involves organ and live electronics, but on this occasion we will perform this set using solely live electronics, violin and solo voice. Between 2016-2018 Lauren composed hearmleop-gieddunga that consists of graphic and text scores, mixed media, and Oulipo inspired invented Anglo-Saxon poetry. These pieces engages with the complexity of the construction and semiotics of history in a musical work; here, the history, and feminist narratives—whether as really quoted material, or as inspired invention—being reconstructed engagements with ancient Anglo-Saxon history. The title means ‘sorrowful songs-prophecies’, and the open nature of the scores provide both invitation and provocation for any performer. ‘Provocation’ since the many different graphic and word-composition techniques used provide any performer with a set of questions and problems to find their own solution for. This was the exact process that I underwent when preparing this music. This process, and the degree of detail demanded in aligning musical ideas with a live electronic interface, allowed me, as a performer, to acquire both a relationship with these scores and, as a consequence, a greater sense of intimacy and ownership with my contribution to the project as a whole.
For these reasons this project has been highly collaborative. In building this interface I collected a large pools, or libraries of recordings on several different string and percussion instruments, and Lauren provided me with her recordings using the voice, and especially a recording of Robert Rawson on the viola da gamba. The decisions as to how these sounds and recordings appear in performance depend on the timeline, as provided by Lauren, and on my own particular algorithms developed from the images in the score, which often take the form of ‘maps’ (where fragments of material are linked each other), annotations, and reminders causing a further layer of notation and engagement. The collaborative nature of this project meant that even though Lauren commented on the sounds used, she always trusted my—and Josh Cannon’s during work on the studio version—judgement and musicality.