Visitor's Circle: An Evening of Speaking Voice And Piano
Visitor's Circle: An Evening of Speaking Voice And Piano

Program

Saturday  November 18th 2006
Pozen Center Massachusetts College of Art

Songs from The Tunnel for Speaking Voice and Piano (2003) 20:00

Poems by Russel Edson  (The Tunnel: Selected Poems, © 1994 by Russell Edson; by permission of Oberlin College Press)
Speaking Voice: Mary Briggs
Piano: John Holland
______

Connection Please  for Two Speaking Voices (with Amplified
Telephone System)* and Computer-processed Piano (2006) 15:00

Text by John Holland
Speaking Voice: Glenna Van Nostrand
Piano: John Holland
Signal Processing: Joshua Deitch
Off-site Voice: Willa Van Nostrand
* (amplified telephone system created by Glenna Van Nostrand)

Program Notes

Songs from the Tunnel

for Speaking Voice and Piano (2003)

Songs from The Tunnel is a set of twelve songs composed for singing voice, or speaking voice, and piano. The poems contained in the set were selected from Russell Edson’s The Tunnel: Selected Poems published in 1994 by Oberlin College Press.* The poems were written over a twenty-one year period ranging from 1964 to 1985.
 
Each poem contains a set of integers and the written text. The text is divided into phrases (a line of text), and paragraphs (groups of phrases followed by a double-line separation).  

An integer is displayed to the left of each phrase. The value of the integer next to a phrase is determined by the number of syllables in that phrase.

The reader performs each line of text, while the pianist plays the number of sounds designated by each of the integers.

* Reprinted by permission of Oberlin College Press.

Connection, Please

For Two Speaking Voices (with Amplified Telephone System)
and Computer-processed Piano (2006)

The text of Connection Please combines statements and dialogue that are concerned with the coevolution and interaction of technology and life forms, including the exchange of information via telephone and computer, globalization, and the recycled energy of Earth’s ecosystems.

The text is divided into statements or dialogue. Each statement or dialogue is contained within a box, and consists of one or more sentences.

An integer is displayed to the left of each sentence. The value of the integer next to a sentence is determined by the number of words in the sentence.

Speaking Voices:

There are two speaking voices, each of which is amplified. Voice 1 reads the majority of the text. Voice 2 is involved only in the dialogue segments. Both speak into a telephone that has been electronically fitted to connect to an amplifier and broadcast through a pair of audio speakers.

Piano:

The overall tempo for each integer is determined spontaneously, based on the speed of the speaking voice, and the general tone of the statement.

The pianist plays a sound-group (or sequence) for each integer. Integers represent the number of sounds to be played for each sound-group. Each integer corresponds to a single sound-group and indicates the number of sounds to be played for that group. Short silences are introduced between sequences.

Computer-processed sounds:

Signal processing devices and techniques were applied to the piano throughout. Specially designed computer software by Josh Deitch was used to process the piano sounds. The piano sound was dominant, while the electronically processed sounds played a more subtle role.

* In the spring of 2006, Glenna Van Nostrand constructed an amplified telephone system so that she could sing along, on the phone, with various music groups. The technology was interesting to me, so I suggested that I compose a piece for her. We had been rehearsing some of my music with speaking voice, so it seemed natural to add another to the pile. –J.H.