There is one piece on the Imaginary Timescapes program on Feb. 16th that is different from all the rest—Nigun, for two sopranos and electronics. I composed this piece this fall because I was interested in the interplay of two similar voices in alternating synchronicity and asynchronicity with folk-inspired material, and because I wanted to explore working with sound design. So I confounded the parents at the playground by showing up with a digital recorder instead of a child, and used the resulting recordings of children playing as the source material for the electronic part. I had also been looking at a book of Jewish folk songs (nigunim) leant to me by Rabbi Scheinberg, which influenced the melodies I wrote. The final ingredient was the involvement of soprano Elizabeth Derham, whose voice I knew would work well with my own as I wrote two intertwined soprano lines. Here is an excerpt from our Nov. 20th performance of Nigun at the CUNY Graduate Center:

And the program note for Nigun is as follows:

There is a tradition in Jewish communities of singing melodies without words, known as nigunim (or in the singular, nigun). This vocal duo is a take on this idea of vocal expression through melody and syllables chosen for their musical qualities, and is distantly related to some actual nigunim. The electronic part weaves in and out of the voices, at times nudging the music forwards and at times taking over to become the central focus. It consists of recordings of children playing; these recordings have been cut, pasted and looped to echo the rhythmic character of the vocal lines. Thank you to Rochelle and Bernard Natt, my mother, and my husband for enabling me to finish this piece during the unusual times following Sandy.

Come hear the internet come to life on February 16th!  (Tickets, $20, are available here; proceeds befenit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.)

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