MAP OF MARBLE
for mezzo soprano, percussion, live-electronics and lighting
composed in 2004/05
duration: 78' (concert version)
Since Antiquity, the Croatian island Brac has been famous for its practically inexhaustible resources of fine marble. It has been used in such different and remote buildings as the White House in Washington, the Reichstag in Berlin, and the Diocletian palace in Split. Marble has always been a favored material for the architectural representation of wealth and power.
Having been a regular visitor to Brac since my early childhood, I often visited its antique as well as its presently used quarries, where the marble is in its raw form and where its potential use is still hard to imagine. Knowing that already since milleniums this marble has been of primary economic interest and traveling far distances, it struck me that the marble’s “itineraries” could yield a sort of
“map”, displaying the various places – mostly cities – that are accumulation points of wealth and political power.
In summer 2004 I made field recordings of several hours on Brac. These soundscapes served me as the basis for the composition of the musician’s parts and the programming of the algorithms of the live-electronics.
By playing back those soundscapes in a concert venue, they are removed from their place of origin. I thought of this dislocation as metaphorically analogous to the export of the marble. Therefore I wanted to give a special relevance to the space where this piece is performed. This is obtained by using the room’s resident frequencies* as the basis for all the pitch-structures of the electronics. These frequencies are initially made audible by controlled feedbacks, which are returning in the composition at several points. The live generated synthesis of the electronics subsequently uses exactly the same frequencies. That puts the electronic sounds which have originally been derived from Brac’s soundscapes, in harmony with the new space.
“Map of Marble” takes the island Brac as a point of departure for a contemplation on economic and political representation, and the webs they span over the globe, connecting this Mediterranean summer-resort to today’s metropolies.
I composed Map of Marble for Jannie Pranger and Arnold Marinissen They premiered it at the Bienale Zagreb in 2005 and at the Forum Neue Musik Deutschlandfunk in Cologne in 2007
*) Every room responses more strongly to certain frequencies. A stronger response happens when the length of a waveform forms a mathematically simple relationship to the distances between the room’s walls.