fili / strands / stränge was commissioned by Handel House Museum, London to mark 330 years since the birth of Handel, Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. The piece ran as an installation work, set to play continuously during museum opening hours between 19th and 29th November 2015.
BACKGROUND TO THE WORK:
Three distinct strands of material – one for each composer – interact in Handel’s bedroom. Each sound source is played through a different set of speakers, spread across the room, allowing visitors to move around, and focus in and out of different layers of material, adjusting their perspective accordingly. All strands consist of pre-recorded, and principally acoustic music. Despite the instrumental material within layers being strictly composed and notated, the live order of each of these events is fluid, and determined by chance upon playback. (Each set of loudspeakers is connected to a laptop, accessing a randomly generated playlist with tens of tracks – each consisting of different versions/forms of the material, and varying lengths of built-in silence/inactivity). This approach remains consistent across the three strata and so, when combined, gives rise to a constantly-shifting array of material, which regenerates throughout the day: prolonged periods of silence, singular activity, multiple and saturated densities, and everything in between.
The work is presented here in a full score transcription / concert format, and represents one possible organisation of materials (existing over a relatively short duration).
INFORMATION ON EACH STRAND:
Scarlatti (Strand/Group One)
This material is composed for a chamber ensemble of Flute, Accordion, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass. Music is multi-track recorded, and so can be heard in every combination and configuration of these instruments.
Handel (Strand Two)
This music is sung by a solo soprano. Lines are recorded at multiple tempi, and fragmented upon playback, exisiting in every possible combination and interspersed with varying lengths of silence.
Bach (Strand Three)
The Bach strand of material is entirely electronic, conisting of sampled melodica overtones, subjected to various filters and transformative processes. Tens of versions of this material exisit. This strand additionally incorporates a base layer of high-pitched sine tone – combined with white noise – which plays continuously during the work and acts as a canvas for the composition as a whole.