Photo Credit: Gunvor Anhoy
This was a generative performance piece created during a one-year residency at Gloucester Cathedral in 2004. The title ‘Sarah Was Ninety Years Old’ comes from the original score by the modern composer Arvo Pärt. For this project I asked a group of five classical musicians4 to perform this music in Gloucester Cathedral whilst I tracked them with a directional microphone each. These sound streams fed into especially written software to generate visuals which were projected onto a large screen. The audience faced the screen which covered the back wall of the Slype and the musicians were spread throughout the cathedral, with the two tenors and the timpanist in the cloisters behind the audience, the organist above and to the right of the altar in the main cathedral and the soprano in the doorway between the cloisters and the nave of the cathedral.
I designed the storyboard for the visuals based on the musical structure of Pärt’s score, it’s underlying themes and the chosen instruments and voices. I then worked with programmers Martin Robinson and David Stevens who used Max/MSP Jitter to create the interface. My initial ideas for the visualisations had to be modified in order to make it possible with the computer power available to us at the time (a G5). The resulting Max patch translated the music into changing colours, lines and simple 2d-animations. The slightest change in volume or pitch became 'visually audible' using this interface.
for more info, see: axisweb.org/atATCL.aspx?AID=552
participating musicians:Tenors: Peter Morton and Ralph Barlow; Soprano: Emma Walsche; Percussion: Sophie Walters; Organ and Musical Director: Simon Kirk
projection, live music, computer generated imagery