Sandy Evans and a New Work for Taikoz

Author: Ian

Date: Tue 27 Jun 2017

Preparations are well underway for our 20th anniversary celebrations on October 21 in the beautiful Angel Place City Recital Hall. As you can imagine, a lot goes into putting on a large-scale concert – venue technicalities must be worked out, logistics sorted, a rehearsal venue booked, freight organised, workshop sessions scheduled, rehearsal timetable devised, production details mapped out, a marketing plan put into place, lighting and audio plans developed, technical staff briefed. Oh yes… and music composed and practiced!

Part of the enjoyment of a concert like this is developing thematic ideas and then programming accordingly. In the case of 20, fragments of the musical program came first, which led to the development of an overarching theme that informed the growth of the full program to make a cogent whole. That theme turned out to be: “Land-Sea-Sky-Home”. I’ll write more about the inspiration behind the theme and how it has guided the development of the program in a future installment. But for now, I would like to share a story about how one very special work is taking shape.

Our 20th anniversary is as much a celebration of the future as the past, and so I was very keen on commissioning a new work for the occasion, and to that end, I am thrilled to announce that legendary saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans has accepted our invitation to compose a piece for us.

Recently, Sandy and I met up for a work-shopping session. It turned out to be a rather funny (as in funny-strange) experience that produced results that were, in the end, actually all the better for it. Sandy was rather taken with my suggestion of using Synergy’s super-colourful, handcrafted ¼-tone metal instruments called Sixxen, and so we headed over to Lilyfield where they are stored. This space is cavernous – almost a football field long – and would you believe it? ... there are absolutely no lights at all! Being after dusk, Sandy and I were in almost total darkness, and despite the 250-odd percussion instruments lying about the place, do you think I could find a mallet to use? The trusty iPhone torch app came in handy and so I eventually managed to find a single timpani mallet, which is not ideal for the Sixxen, but at least it produced a sound. So, with iPhones in hand and a few shards of ambient light coming through the side windows, I proceeded to strike every single Sixxen metal bar (more or less accurately… the darkness made it hard to see what I was hitting) while Sandy made a recording of each pitch. That’s a lot of notes!

In the end, Sandy was really struck by their melodious, but slightly strange tone – they have a kind of weird Gamelan sound – and has decided to use them in combination with her saxophone, Riley’s shakuhachi and our taiko. She reckons the slightly spooky semi-darkness of our musical encounter will come out in her new work somehow, too. I’m intrigued. 


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What's On

Sandy Evans and a New Work for Taikoz

Author: Ian

Date: Tue 27 Jun 2017

Preparations are well underway for our 20th anniversary celebrations on October 21 in the beautiful Angel Place City Recital Hall. As you can imagine, a lot goes into putting on a large-scale concert – venue technicalities must be worked out, logistics sorted, a rehearsal venue booked, freight organised, workshop sessions scheduled, rehearsal timetable devised, production details mapped out, a marketing plan put into place, lighting and audio plans developed, technical staff briefed. Oh yes… and music composed and practiced!

Part of the enjoyment of a concert like this is developing thematic ideas and then programming accordingly. In the case of 20, fragments of the musical program came first, which led to the development of an overarching theme that informed the growth of the full program to make a cogent whole. That theme turned out to be: “Land-Sea-Sky-Home”. I’ll write more about the inspiration behind the theme and how it has guided the development of the program in a future installment. But for now, I would like to share a story about how one very special work is taking shape.

Our 20th anniversary is as much a celebration of the future as the past, and so I was very keen on commissioning a new work for the occasion, and to that end, I am thrilled to announce that legendary saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans has accepted our invitation to compose a piece for us.

Recently, Sandy and I met up for a work-shopping session. It turned out to be a rather funny (as in funny-strange) experience that produced results that were, in the end, actually all the better for it. Sandy was rather taken with my suggestion of using Synergy’s super-colourful, handcrafted ¼-tone metal instruments called Sixxen, and so we headed over to Lilyfield where they are stored. This space is cavernous – almost a football field long – and would you believe it? ... there are absolutely no lights at all! Being after dusk, Sandy and I were in almost total darkness, and despite the 250-odd percussion instruments lying about the place, do you think I could find a mallet to use? The trusty iPhone torch app came in handy and so I eventually managed to find a single timpani mallet, which is not ideal for the Sixxen, but at least it produced a sound. So, with iPhones in hand and a few shards of ambient light coming through the side windows, I proceeded to strike every single Sixxen metal bar (more or less accurately… the darkness made it hard to see what I was hitting) while Sandy made a recording of each pitch. That’s a lot of notes!

In the end, Sandy was really struck by their melodious, but slightly strange tone – they have a kind of weird Gamelan sound – and has decided to use them in combination with her saxophone, Riley’s shakuhachi and our taiko. She reckons the slightly spooky semi-darkness of our musical encounter will come out in her new work somehow, too. I’m intrigued. 


    ...

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