A CALL TO DIVE
Dear most excellent friends and family, compdramour, compadres, marvelous musicians, clever composers, miscellaneous accomplices, possibly interested acquaintances, and almost total strangers whom I thought just might be interested... I'd like to share a music project with you.
An Aria sung over a bed track of waves, gulls, Crystal Baschet, and a buoy bell run through a Line 6 delay modeler.
Mussolini's 'Vincere' speech (in which he declared war on the Allies) slowed down
and stretched out so that it screams and moans.
Jack boots and Leni Riefenstahl samples.
Dulcimers, pan delay and Array Mbiras.
An ambient composition for microtonal instrument creator Harry Partch's 'Cloud Chamber Bowls'.
Layers and layers of fat classic analog synth (PolySix) layered in with howling wolves as a bed track for an astonishing vocal storm by the truly and terribly astonishing voice
of our muse and main protaganist, mermaid and siren, Fides Krucker.
DIVE was originally conceived by playwright and poet Richard Sanger who approached avant garde bel canto vocalist and theatre producer Fides Krucker to collaborate on an operatic take of
Giuseppe de Lampedusa's short story, 'The Professor & the Siren'. Fides suggested I join the colab as composer.
In 2011 the Richard Sanger's text for 'DIVE', was workshopped at CanStage Festival of Ideas & Creation, and in 2012 a first draft of the music was presented in a series of off-site salons for the same Festival. In February 2013 I was awarded an Ontario Arts Council Grant to record the music for DIVE.
What I want to share with you over the next few weeks are the resultant 12 or 13 pieces of music for sonic theatre about love and longing, escape and madness, fascism, the wild and the divine. These are "close to final" drafts. One of my obligations to the OAC is that I must also raise alternate funds, and so in a few weeks, after I've sent a few more of these mermaid music missives, I'll be launching a Crowdfunding campaign, the funds from which will support a few more frags of recording, mastering (essentially, sonic finishing and polishing), and manufacturing.
Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested!
‘DIVE’ is based on Giuseppe de Lampedusa’s ‘The Professor and the Mermaid’: a semi-fantastical portrayal, set in fascist Italy, of love, awakening, and possibly madness, told through the love between a classics Professor and a mermaid.
The short tale, placed in Northern Italy during the rise of Mussolini's black shirts, opens with a young Sicilian journalists' "abandonment of the world" following the simultaneous loss of two lovers. In Richard Sanger's libretto we meet the first of Paulo's lovers who, the morning after, has discovered, while Paulo still sleeps, a letter in Paulo's pocket penned by his other lover.
Tata 1: The pearls, the pearls, she loves the pearls you bought her.
But, for some reason, feels she must explain
She’s not the kind of girl you thought her. Not her, not her.
She forgives the great liberties you took-
Understands how men are,
How tempting her firm, chaste flesh must look. Not her, not her.
“Something just got into me that night”
--She can’t think what!—
“Still, if you’re good to me, and treat me right”,
She’ll agree to meet again, since you insist, since you insist,
In the back room of the pastry shop,
This Sunday evening at half past---
- Richard Sanger
Prelude & The Pearls
Fides Krucker - Voice
Nik Beeson - Sounds, samples, synths, mixing & composition
Voice recording engineered by Rick Sacks at ArrayMusic Studio
* Listen to the track
Prelude introduces a backdrop to the tale: the rise of Mussolini and fascism, and it's encounter with a being both divine and wild. A lovely old clock, Jack Boots sampled from Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will', Mussolini's actual speech and the roar of the crowd, obliterated by a most visceral roar, and in comes the ocean.
The Pearls is a simple aria in a Persian mode: Fides nailed it. Seagulls, waves, and a drone comprised of a buoy bell run through a Line 6 delay modeller and pan delayed, a Crystal Baschet on the left and one on the right, and another synth (Maelstrom?) down the middle.
What the track still needs
Besides needing a really good Mastering (Michael White will be helping me with that in due course), I'd like to pan the seagulls all over the place. Also, Michael offered his most delicious classic analog synth set up to bring in some beef and depth and warmth in the low end of the aria.
Since starting to work on the project I've been compelled by the juxtaposition of fascism and the wild. The story is set as Mussolini reaches the pinnacle of his totalitarian power, and the two male characters (the young journalist Paulo and the Senator Rosario) seem to retreat into the darkest corner (the Bar Hades) they can find to escape it. The mermaid who lies at the core of the story, and who is so vividly and sensually described by Lampedusa, is a wild feminine divine being.
"As I told you Corbera, she was a beast but at the same instant also an Immortal, and it is a pity that no speech can express this synthesis continually, with such utter simplicity, as she expressed it in her own body... Not for nothing is she the daughter of Calliope: ignorant of all culture, unaware of all wisdom, contemptuous of any moral inhibitions, she belonged, even so, to the fountainhead of all culture, of all wisdom, of all ethics..."
- Giuseppe de Lampedusa: 'The Professor and the Siren'
Is fascism a polarity to the wild? Or is the tension between the two more complex? What do we mean by 'fascism'? And what do we mean by 'the wild'?
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions on the music, on the story, on spreading the word, on my sanity?
I'd love to hear from you!
"Utram bibis, aquam an undam?" - 'Which are you drinking, the water or the wave?'
-- John Fowles, The Magus