Music

 



 

Royal College of Music
Composition Department
Head of Department - Prof. William Mival

The following students of the RCM's Composition Department took part in this year's Photographic Portrait Prize music project



Joseline Ingabire with her daughter Leah Batamuliza, Rwanda
by Jonathan Torgovnik

Composer : Adrian More
Title of Piece: Pula
Performers: Adrian More - baritone and djemba

Inspired by the photo Joseline Ingabire with her daughter Leah Batamuliza, Rwanda. The word Pula means rain in Southern Sotho (Sesotho). The photo shows what seems to be a mother embracing her child in front of their clay / mud house. Depicted in the background is another child who is staring away, not looking in the direction of the photographer. The mother seems to have a sense of pleading in her eyes, while the child is holding a strand of what looks like wheat. The ground is dry and crying for rain. 

Listen to Pula
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Composer: Ryosuke Karaki
Title of Piece: Solitude
Performers: Andrew George Watson - bassoon

Inspired by the portrait Joseline Ingabire with her daughter Leah Batamuliza, Rwanda, it caught my eyes, sensuous intensity and its reality of the subject's eyes. It was profound and somehow bleak.

Listen to Solitude
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Composer: Steve Nunes
Title of Piece: TUKUVUQ
Performers: Drew Cyster - alto flute

"TUKUVUQ" is an Inuktitut word which translates to mean "a child does not sleep beside its mother". Inspired by the portrait Joseline Ingabire with her daughter Leah Batamuliza, Rwanda, this piece quotes a traditional Inuit lullaby, and is meant to represent a mother singing her child to sleep, with her sad melancholic song.

Listen to TUKUVUQ
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Alice & Fish
by David Stewart

Composer : David Hansford
Title of Piece: Ring o' Roses
Performers: Drew Cyster - flute

Inspired by the photo Alice & Fish, the piece explores the contrast between angry, dissonant material and calm, consonant material.

Listen to Ring o' Roses
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Composer: Tristan Coelho
Title of Piece: Solace
Performers: Erzsebet Seleljo - alto saxophone

Solace was written in response to the portrait Alice & Fish. The foreground and background of the photograph is the specific concern of the piece, especially in assessing the extent to which the girl is complemented by her surroundings. There are two distinct types of music, an aggressive, angular style, and more distant, lyrical ideas.

Listen to Solace
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Composer: Dimitri Scarlato
Title of Piece: D.E.A. (Don't Enable America)
Performers: Fulvio Sigurta - trumpet, Yura Chubarenko - accordion

D.E.A. (Don't Enable America) refers to the picture Alice & Fish. All the harmony and melody is drawn from the word DEAD, which gives me the notes D, E and A. The composition has 3 sections. During the first the accordion and the trumpet "breath" until the electronic sounds come in and introduce the second section. In this part a speech, of an American general from the Second World War, will be the core of the section until the last section, which sees again the accordion and trumpet as the main characters. This composition is open to many interpretations, especially for the meaning of the text, and has a narrative approach inspired by the picture.

Listen to D.E.A.
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Composer: Jun Lee
Title of Piece: Untitled
Performers: electronics

Listen to Untitled
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Composer: Gavin Higgins
Title of Piece: Drop Dead
Performers: Rachel Ridout - soprano saxophone

Written in response to the portrait Alice & Fish, 'Drop Dead' is an explosive fanfare for soprano saxophone. Like a fizzy drink bottle that has been shaken, the work is continuously on the brink of explosion. Stark melodic lines often suppress the aggressive outbursts, but inevitably rage can only ever be controlled, not contained.

Listen to Drop Dead
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Composer: Gregor Riddel
Title of Piece: Lorna's Bua
Performers: Gregor Riddel - cello, Amy Riach - voice

I chose to write a piece of music in response to the photograph Alice & Fish. I interpreted this image as being very menacing and aggressive, so, once I had decided to write for voice and cello I chose an extract from Jacques Charpentreau's poem Do You as the text. The extract I selected uses words and phrases that seem to reflect the dark images portrayed in the photograph; for example, 'that's death, faithful shadow, laughing with you.' I was also convinced that the landscape looked like the north of Scotland; so, I thought it would be appropriate to adopt some Gaelic characteristics in the music. I searched the Internet for Scottish girls names and some Gaelic words relating to the images in the photograph. I discovered that the name Lorna means territorial and bua is a Gaelic word for homeland.

Listen to Lorna's Bua
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Composer: Fernando Covello
Title of Piece: Lenore!
Performers: Rebekah Engeler, Diana Daniel, Sarah-Jane Lewis - voice

'Lenore!' was written for 3 female singers using a single stanza from Edgar A Poe's The Raven. The piece attempts to emulate the longing and obscurity of the poem and the photograph Alice & Fish. Melodic lines are displaced to create movement but they come together at some key moments reflecting the voice of the girl in the portrait. Finally, silence plays a major role throughout the piece, generating a tense void of grief and loneliness.

Listen to Lenore
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Composer: Eric Flores
Title of Piece: Las Trais!
Performers: electronics

Las Trais! (Spanish for: You're it!) for live audio track, is the product of electronic manipulation of white noise and an abstract representation of emotions, inspired by Alice & Fish. Las Trais! suggests a tranquil sonic journey through the portrait's unheard sounds and the unknown emotions travelling in each individual's mind while observing the illustration. The title suggests that is now someone else's turn to uncover the inaudible, if anything.

Listen to Las Trais
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Slavica feeds her baby son Nikola while her husband Nebojsa sleeps by Ivor Pricket

Composer : Jason Anderson
Title of Piece: Beyond Boundaries
Performers: Miriam Davis - violin, Verity Evanson - cello, Emily Heathcote - clarinet

The inspiration for the music was from Slavicka Feeds her baby son Nikola while her husband Nebosja sleeps. The photo suggests that the room is small, with only enough space to fit a bed, where a baby and man lay. The music aims to capture the feeling of confinement, and aspiring to go beyond the boundaries.

Listen to Beyond Bondaries
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Composer: Pedro Faria Gomes
Title of Piece: Dark Chamber
Performers: Stephen Bishop - trumpet

This piece has the same shape as the photograph it is inspired by, Slavicka Feeds her baby son Nikola while her husband Nebosja sleeps. From the outset, there is the sense of a dark, intriguing atmosphere. As one looks closer into the setting (and as the musical form advances), new elements add to the perception of the whole. Both close and more distant perspectives converge to form a deeper (but not necessarily definitive) understanding of the picture.

Listen to Dark Chamber
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Janine from Reality Crossings
by Michelle Sank

Composer : Ursula Kwong-Brown
Title of Piece: Catch
Performers: Harry Cameron-Penny - clarinet

"Catch," for clarinet in Eb, was inspired by the photograph Janine which depicts a blonde girl standing by a highway with cuts on her arms and "Catch" embroidered on her jeans. Although her bearing is aggressive, her dark eyes speak of suppressed loneliness and sadness; I depict this emotional tension with small snippets of quiet melody which attempt, but ultimately fail, to be heard over the louder, angrier material.

Listen to Catch
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Lucila, a.m.
by Julieta Sans

Composer : Nimrod Katzir
Title of Piece: Dessiner une Femme
Performers: Electronics, Alice Picaud - cello

The piece is a musical attempt to portray a woman, taking the photograph Lucila a.m. and striping it vertically into 5 equal stripes. The attempt obviously failed and therefore you shall not expect to hear a woman's figure whatsoever, but perhaps a piece radically (and bizarrely) inspired by a beautiful photograph. The piece is played through a digital sequencer and a cellist named Alice. The piece was written for Alice.

Listen to Dessiner une Femme
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