The “mad riddle” of Brexit, to make use of a time period gifted to political science by the EastEnders actor Danny Dyer, has impressed a riddling piece of music.
Actress x Stockhausen Sin (x) II is a reimagining of the avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 1996 operatic piece Welt-Parlament, created by the British digital musician Darren J. Cunningham, in any other case referred to as Actress. It was staged on the launch of “Cosmic Prophet” on the Southbank Centre, a collection of Stockhausen-themed occasions.
Darkness shrouded the Royal Pageant Corridor’s stage, penetrated right here and there by spotlights. There was a obscure haze of dry ice. Cunningham occupied a raised platform together with the stage, lit from beneath by a lightweight positioned close to his digital gear just like the golden glow of an oracle of illumination. Chairs and a desk had been within the centre of the stage, flanked by a grand piano. It was performed by Stockhausen’s former scholar Vanessa Benelli Mosell, who enigmatically scribbled notes when not taking part in.
An invisible choir sang from someplace within the darkness earlier than materialising in a solemn procession by means of the auditorium, males on one aspect, ladies on the opposite. These 12 members of the Netherlands Chamber Choir sat within the chairs on the stage, carried out by Robert Ames. The charisma was stylishly achieved however maybe hung extra closely than supposed: the venue had did not print sufficient programmes, which carried an explanatory textual content for the night.
The unique Stockhausen piece was written for one in every of his monumental cosmological operas. Welt-Parlament seems in Mittwoch aus Licht and is a few world parliament debating the that means of affection. For his transforming, Cunningham went to the Homes of Parliament final yr throughout a Brexit debate and convened a bunch of parliamentarians to speak about love. He additionally interviewed a bunch of Dutch politicians on the identical subject. The ensuing observations had been voiced by the singers.
The Stockhausen piece consists virtually solely of voices, a weirdly melodious babble with a robust incantatory impact. The choral passages in Cunningham’s model had been additionally highly effective, though they weren’t the one aspect. Mosell performed a number of piano solos, stark moments of readability amid the gloom. In the meantime Cunningham produced an digital soundtrack together with his co-composer, a man-made intelligence programme referred to as Younger Paint.
The Netherlands Chamber Choir on the Royal Pageant Corridor © Denelle & Tom Ellis
This AI element, illustrated by a pc avatar on a display screen behind Cunningham, fitted with Stockhausen’s fame as an digital music pioneer. However the digital side of Cunningham’s rating sounded underwritten and overly summary, a set of loud digital hums and random flurries of oddball pc melodies.
The spoken-word passages about love didn’t cohere effectively both. Meant to handle an age of fractured politics, they had been mainly of the banal “Love makes the world go spherical” selection. Whereas there was one thing to savour within the piece’s willingness to problem and confuse, a excessive artwork response to a political age dominated by questions of populism, its extreme elaboration gave it a muddled high quality.