Archive for : July, 2012

Kate Kerrigan – Author

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“My brother Tom was a pianist living in London and we’d become estranged. He had problems and was drinking heavily.  I live in Ireland and found this wonderful old 1920’s house by the sea; the woman who sold it lived next door.  My whole family were due to get together again at my sister’s wedding and Tom was coming over to see us after a gap of a few years, he was going to be staying with me.  We were really happy and optimistic that he was coming over and spent months planning everything. He had a history of disappointing us.

As a child, he’d been a kind of prodigy at the piano. I’d always been close to Tom, when we were growing up I was his audience while he practised and played, it had been a feature of my childhood and of my life.  When I knew he was going to be staying with me I bought the piano from our neighbour; it was the same piano that had originally been in the house.  It was sitting here in our drawing room waiting for Tom. And of course Tom didn’t come to our sister’s wedding in the end, he was held back for his own reasons.   The piano has just been sitting here ever since.  One of the nice stories I have about it is that my son Leo then took up the piano. My friend Helen is a wonderful pianist and she’s teaching him. She put him in for his first grade and I was making him practice but it sounded really bad.  Helen kept telling me to get the piano tuned but I’d been sort of ignoring her.

When it came to Leo’s exam I was outside the room and I could hear someone playing, and it sounded like they were playing perfectly and it was Leo!  He’d been playing it properly all along; it’s just that the piano was so out of tune it sounded really terrible at home.  He passed with a Distinction so I got the piano tuned for him as a gift.  He continues to play so I’m really happy about that.” (Kate Kerrigan)

Kate Kerrigan is an Irish historical fiction author whose books are translated into several languages and sold all over the world.  Her novels follow Kate’s theme of drawing parallels between the emotional landscapes of women’s lives in the past with the way women live now.

Connect with Kate at www.katekerrigan.ie

Eduardo Reck Miranda – Composer

Mozart Reloaded

Mozart Reloaded

 

“I was intrigued by Mozart Sonatas and remixed them using the language of electro-acoustic music combined with piano.  I’m a keen pianist, instead of playing the music myself I had the idea of using recordings of other people playing, and manipulate their recordings.  So I took twelve piano sonatas and chopped the scores into bars and sections, I put them in a bag so to speak and took bits out and started to sequence them.

I then began to change the pitches, process the sound, do the same sort of things that DJs do with scratching and the spinning turntable and different speeds.  I used computer software, some of which was written in my laboratory at Plymouth University.  In performance the pianist plays the score and I sit next to the pianist with my laptop and trigger the sounds that I composed from the recordings at different points indicated in the score, so the performer knows exactly how and when the recordings will come with music he or she is playing.  Pianists will have performed Mozart sonatas before, and what I wanted to achieve is that the performer would be surprised by the sequences that I have in my score that combines, let’s say, sonatas K310 with K280 and so on, so you have new combinations of bars from different sonatas.   And also in the recording that I processed, you can hear themes that are transposed, or are at different speeds, or even played backwards and so on.

 

The whole piece is around 15 minutes long.  The first movement is “Appassionata”, a reference to Beethoven – in working on this piece I discovered some themes, bits and pieces here and there, small segments by Mozart that appear in Beethoven and Haydn; these composers were recycling other music that they’d heard elsewhere more than other composers do and it’s so interesting to see how much they were doing this.  So I called it “Appassionata” because there are some Beethoven-like themes in there. The second movement is called “Dance of Shadows”.  Here I used stuff from Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” which again I think is very similar to bits one can hear in Mozart’s sonatas.

The third one is “Hip-Hopped” because it uses hip hop rhythms, the pianist has to synchronise the beats I wrote with the hip hop drumming that is going on in the recording. The process of making this piece reminds me something Mozart did with his musical dice games where you throw dice and depending on what number you get you sequence the bars, and maybe the procedures used by other composers like John Cage.” (Eduardo Reck Miranda)

Mozart Reloaded is available on CD with accompanying book detailing the compositional process, the full score and all samples required for performance:

Eduardo Reck Miranda is a composer and computer music expert, working at the crossroads of music and science. He is also director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research with Plymouth University and currently Composer in Residence at London’s Science Museum, developing a work with Lottolab Studio in which live music performance is relayed to soundwall of 77 speakers and electronically manipulated.

Promotional shots for Contemporary Music Festival 2014 Eduardo R Miranda, Professor of Computer Music *** Local Caption *** Music and dots

Promotional shots for Contemporary Music Festival 2014
Eduardo R Miranda, Professor of Computer Music

Connect with Eudardo at http://neuromusic.soc.plymouth.ac.uk/

Maria Larrain – Osteopath

Maria Larrain

 

“It was the 1970’s, I was seven and my sister was five and we had to flee from Chile; we lived in Santiago.  My granny used to play the Tango on the piano when my Dad was very young, Tango was very modern then and that’s what everyone was doing.  She would play the piano and sing.  My father had four brothers, they were all very musical and went to music school quite a long way from home.

They formed a band that played Latin music called Los Cubanitos when they were all still children, it was the 1950’s. My father was the youngest, he was on piano. They got on the radio and performed quite a lot, they’d dress up in frilly clothing. When we fled Chile in 1974 we arrived in Denmark with just a suitcase and no piano.  Whenever we were near a piano my father would play it, no matter where he was, he was obviously missing it.

Once he got a job he wanted a piano but couldn’t afford it, so he got one of those new organs with two keyboards, a cheap brown thing.  My Dad was listening to Jimmy Smith, he was playing that style at the time. I started playing as well but went over to the guitar after a while.  Years later my father moved back to Chile and ended up inheriting my granny’s piano. When I visit him I wake up to the sound of him playing and then, last thing at night as well he’s on the piano, he’s always the last to go to bed.

He spends most of his day playing, he’s an amateur who really loves it, mainly jazz and also bossa, he plays a lot of Bill Evans.  He’s got a good ear, he’s pretty good. Music has always been very important in his life, when we first arrived in Denmark one of the first things he did was take us all to the big jazz club in Copenhagen.  It was the Jazzhus Montmartre and we saw Tania Maria.  They weren’t used to letting children in and didn’t know how much to charge.” (Maria Larrain)

Connect with Maria at http://www.butterfieldosteopathy.co.uk/