Friday, May 10, 2019

Southland Ensemble to visit University of Redlands May 17

University of Redlands students and the renowned experimental music group Southland Ensemble will join forces on Friday, May 17 at 3 pm in Old Peppers Gallery to perform poetry by Jackson Mac Low and music by Barney Childs. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The workshop, affiliated with Professor Alisa Slaughter's May Term class "Arts and Inquiry," will feature discussion and performances by Mac Low, a renowned author and artist in spoken, visual and musical performance genres, and Childs, a composer known for exploring indeterminacy and extended techniques who taught at Johnston and served as composer-in-residence from 1971 to 1996.

Armacost Library Special Collections holds the papers and manuscripts of Barney Childs and many representative works by Mac Low can be found in the library collection.

A program for the afternoon workshop includes:
  • Mac Low, 5 Young Turtle Asymmetries 
  • Mac Low, Is That Wool Hat My Hat?
  • Mac Low, Asymmetries (student and Southland Ensemble performance)
  • Mac Low, Asymmetries (Southland Ensemble performance)
  • Childs, Operation Flabby Sleep
  • Childs, The Crab on the Mirror
The score for Childs' Operation Flabby Sleep, written in 1968 and dedicated to Harold Budd, consists of a grid of 27 boxes containing various markings and fragments of musical notation. Performers are instructed to render the empty space in each box as silence, and use the markings to produce sound according to a set of basic principles. A minimum of three performers are needed to realize the score. It is up to the musicians, individually and by collective agreement, to work out the pacing, musical content, and expressive range of the piece.

Childs' Crab on the Mirror for viola and cello is a traditionally notated piece, but it too has a trick up its sleeve. The music takes the form of a "mirror canon" in which the part for one musician is the same as the part for the other musician, only in reverse and melodically inverted. Both musicians can therefore play from the same page of sheet music, but one of them must turn it upside down.  This compositional technique dates from the 16th century, and Childs' playful homage reflects his long-standing interest in Renaissance arts, which motivated him to write his Ph.D dissertation on poetry settings in Elizabethan madrigals.

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