Eldritch Priest at A Place to Listen
Fri., June 7, 2019, 7 p.m.
**note this show is not on the usual third Wednesday**
James Bay United Church, Victoria, B.C.
A Place to Listen is hosting composer and improviser Eldritch Priest, who will present two works for solo music box and electronics: a music box reduction of Josef Matthias Hauer’s Nomos op. 19 (1919) for solo piano, and Eldritch’s composition Woolgathering (2017).
Eldritch is co-founder and co-artistic director of the now defunct Toronto-based experiential music ensemble Neither/Nor and is currently one half of the “jazz” duo Alfred Jarry. He is a professor at Simon Fraser University and a member of the experimental theory group The Occulture.
Nomos op. 19 (1919) for solo piano
“Nomos op. 19 was written for solo piano nearly 100 years ago,” explains Eldritch. “Hauer considered melody, or Melos, to be the essence of music. For him music was not a medium for self-expression or a surrogate way to feel emotions, but an event to be directly contemplated. In Nomos op. 19, the twelve tones of the equally tempered scale are given with as little gestural or rhythmic flare as possible. The piano, with its fixed intonation and a sounding mechanism that effectively inhibited any manipulation of the tone, was particularly suited to this music. But the music box, with its lack of dynamic control, its restricted rhythmic possibilities, and very narrow tempo variations make it, perhaps, even more suitable to the contemplation of Melos.”
“Woolgathering is an old-fashioned term for indulging in wandering fancies or purposeless thinking,” says Eldritch. “Like Hauer’s work, my work also strives to be aloof. For solo music box (and electronics), Woolgathering is largely a modal melody that wanders through a series of drifty and purposeless modulations. The melodies also meander through a variety of audio filters that draw expressive contingencies from the instrument’s otherwise flat and aseptic delivery. A more apt way to think about this piece might be to imagine that it’s the sound of a music box’s daydream.”
Eldritch’s compositions are characterized by their obsessive and excessive approach to melody, not in a systematic or meaningful sense, but in the sense that they don’t stop and are utterly foolish.
He says, “I’ve often wondered what the twentieth century might have sounded like had it been Hauer’s speculative vision that defined the future of music. Hauer is often regarded as the ‘other’ person who invented a method for composing with all twelve tones of the equally tempered scale. He was Schönberg’s contemporary, and a near collaborator, but he held very different views about music, aesthetics, and ‘freedom.’ Such a history can only be imagined, of course, but it’s worth it if only because indulging in idle daydreaming about a past that might have been is precisely the kind of activity that is most meaningfully done when you have the time and a place to listen.”
Please join us after the concert for an informal Q&A.
Last Show of the Season
James Bay United Church
For the final show of the 2018-2019 season, the APTL Ensemble will perform Antoine Beuger‘s now is the moment to learn hope (2017). This work is inspired by, and takes its title from, a public address that John Holloway gave at the Rediscovering the Radical Conference, held in Liverpool in 2016. In the score, Antoine quotes the following passage from Holloway’s address:
Now is the moment to learn hope.
Now, when there seems so little ground for hope;
Now, when refugees and migrants are drowning in the sea;
Now, when racism and fascism are surging in Europe and North America and elsewhere;
Now, when even to mention hope seems like a sick joke or an insult to millions and millions of young people who face a life of unemployment, or sometimes worse—employment!
Now is the time to learn hope…
not just to hope that everything will be alright.
But to learn hope … hope as a way of thinking that opens paths to a different world.