Sirens

Project | Tape & Performance (1989,1999)
Composition for 4 channel tape, planetophon,voice
Videoinstallation: Gundi Berghold

This composition makes reference to a text passage in Plato’s “The Republic” 616Bff. In it, the main theme is the harmony of the spheres, which can be translated into a planet scale. Since antiquity, the most diverse scales have been proposed by various scholars. The scale used in this piece refers to Marius Schneider’s essay “Die musikalischen Grundlagen der Sphärenharmonie” [The Musical Basis of the Harmony of the Spheres], which draws on an overtone series that has its origins in Indian mythology and is based on the fundamental D flat.

This scale is sung by the “Sirens," with the words for the composition adapted from Platos text. Each pitch has been allotted a specific vowel. The “three Fates” sing various patterns symbolizing the past, the future, and the present. The planets are made audible by pulsing noises produced by the Roland analoge synthesizer. The sequence of the sounds of the planets is determined by the length of time each planet takes to complete its orbit.

The piece has three levels:

The playback tape (four-channel): planet sounds with sung vowel, vowel patterns for the past and future
The video installation (nine monitors): visualization of the planet sounds
The performance with the planetophone and the voice (present): the planetophone consists of nine copper hemispheres whose diameters are proportional to those of the planets. During the piece these instruments as well as the singers voices are used for improvisation. (English translation Kimi Lum)

13 04 1989 Acustica 89, Planetarium, Vienna

Sirenen 99
Vocals: Renate Burtscher
Text: Elfriede Czurda

19 03 1999 Hörgänge, Konzerthaus Wien

credits


Renate Burtscher

studied vocals and music education at the University of Music Mozarteum, Salzburg and Romance studies at the University of Salzburg. She was teaching at different high schools in Austria. She is working as a jornalist and moderator of cultural and musical programs at the ORF. She is singing as a solist in choir and orchestra pieces and gives recitals.

  • Platon

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    co Graggaber, 2001

  • score excerpt

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    co Elisabeth Schimana

  • Planetarium Vienna

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    © Elisabeth Schimana

  • Planetarium Vienna

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    © Elisabeth Schimana