Congratulations ELISION Ensemble on a wonderful performance at last night’s concert of The Surface Project at RMIT Storey Hall, presented by RMIT Gallery in partnership with RMIT SIAL Sound Studios.
The concert was part of the public programs for the RMIT Gallery exhibition ELISION:30 years, on until 22 October.
Composers Matthew Sergeant flew in from the UK and Timothy McCormack from the US to hear their works performed.
Sergeant’s work [terrains] was written for Tristram Williams (who performed the piece), “in friendship and the sincerest admiration.”
“It’s certainly not really about development, as the word is usually defined. Nor is it really about contrast,” explains Sergeant.
“In one way I suppose it’s more like watching an earwig or a mountain goat weave its way across different planes – some steep, some high, some tight, some sprawling – and watching that same creature accommodate such different lands in its gait.
“And yet, in another way, it’s about the land itself. A mountain not just as a relief but as an imprint in the sky. And how – just like the ‘Gestalt Vase’ (is it a vase or two opposing faces?) – one’s impression oscillates between foregroundings of these different states. Relief/imprint. Pitch/noise.
The Surface Project concert performance was especially emotional for composer Timothy McCormack, as it was the world premiere of his work ‘subsidence’.
The music, performed by Daryl Buckley and Peter Neville, took audiences on a haunting Gothic journey – and the composition itself took four years and featured a ‘third player’ – according to Buckley, ‘the instrument asserted itself in the piece.’
McCormack explains: “subsidence plumbs a nearly featureless world of soft but charged noise to reveal its subterranean motion. At times static, at times turbulent, the movements and behaviours within this noise embody a geologic heaviness and hugeness.
“Named after the gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land, subsidence enacts a slow concentration of matter and energy which give way to a protracted, eventually cataclysmic implosion.”
Subsidence was commissioned and recorded for the RMIT Sonic Arts Collection.
The Surface Project comprised four works – Aaron Cassidy’s The wreck of former boundaries (for electric lap-steel guitar and electronics), Matthew Sergeant’s [terrains] (For quartertone flugelhorn with preparation), the world premiere of Timothy McCormack’s subsidence (for electric lap-steel guitar with two players) and Richard Barrett’s Codex III (for three players).
Associate professor Lawrence Harvey, Director of the RMIT Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) provided sound spatialisation, along with technical management by Simon Maisch.