Wrapping 2018 up in strings and paper

Hope this end of year’s newsletter finds you well 

What a year, 2018 – I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling slightly heavy hearted in even trying to pursue a sense of celebration of the arts in these upsetting political times.

But only one quiet moment is needed to remind you of how carefully crafted the art of warmongering is. As nifty as the finest clockwork, as balanced as the greatest composition painting vivid pictures in the minds of its audience.

Sharing a vision of how one can perceive the world is an artist’s job. The craftiness that has taken centre stage in many of our lives right now is very different to what I believe in. I work to inspire our souls to see, hear or even reclaim the wonders that surround us. 

As the crow flies, let me show you around what I’ve been doing this year. 

Wishing you loving holidays

Jobina

 

Plucking a cloud of 40 metres of fabric out of the sky, for the next panoramic score piece in September. Photo George Patterson.

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My 2018 commissions have been the most cross-genre and cross-discipline I’ve done to date with a dazzling change of toolsets per project! A lot of clouds were involved – from cloud nine in February to my head in the clouds in May to physically picking a cloud from the sky in September (as illustrated in picture above).

I’ve selected a highlight per month – if you’re curious to read on please click on the provided links to my blog.

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In February, I was very honoured to be awarded The Composers’ Fund from the British PRSF for Music Foundation. With this support I’ve been developing new pieces throughout the year, some of which have premiered this year, others are booked for 2019.
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Page Turner Étude No.1 – graphical representation

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Page Turner Étude No.1, commissioned and performed by Eleonor Sandresky  #choreographicpianist #cagecountry

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March was about listening to the beautiful rustling sounds as found in nature – in tree leaves, plant stems, various phases of water, solid or liquid, in sand and pebbles, soundscapes as a whole, of which many of these dynamic sound events are triggered by either wind or magnetism.

It’s part of my ongoing research into capturing and distilling the essence of these magnificent natural sound textures into minimalist works of sound and art, such as the rustling paper pages of sheet music being turned.

This concept is a delicate and exciting cross-over technique of musique concrète, graphic and conventional notation very dear to me, I affectionately nicknamed my page turners.

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Sheet Music

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In April I embarked upon a choral commission for the opening of Llwyn Celyn in the Black Mountains in Wales, running till October. It was an artist’s collaboration which brought us to medieval times, involving along the way bats, trees, canons, poetry, a nearly extinct Welsh dialect and a building site.
The resulting work Enduring Like A Tree Under The Curious Stars consists of two movements. The first ‘Four Seasons, Countless Years’ for SATB choir, is in a traditional medieval canon style, while the second, ‘In The Wings Through The Night’, draws from calls of a local resident, the Lesser Horseshoe bat, in a more contemporary canon style.
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Llwyn Celyn brought back to it’s medieval grandeur. Photo courtesy of The Landmark Trust

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The distributed sound performance these choral works were featured in was set in a wide natural arena. I recorded the entire soundscape panorama, the echoes caused by the mountains in the far distance and subtle close mic textures generated by concrete instruments, with my custom-built 360º field recording kit and these immersive recordings are a dream to work with in the studio.
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One of the four mic set ups of my 360º field recording kit picking up the rich open natural sound stage at the roosting hour of day, dusk.

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From the steep altitudes of the ‘Fell’, the mountains, ’Sylt’ dives into a delicate vast plane of finely tuned sediments that tickle the senses.

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Most of May was spent with my head in the clouds and with my body in the silty sea. Written in mixed graphic and conventional notation ‘Fell’ and ‘Sylt’ for strings and harpsichord were premiered by the Nordic Affect ensemble in Reykjavík in May. This is part of things to come in 2019! listen to a preview of the live recording here

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Nordic Affect ensemble rehearsing at Mengi, Reykjavík

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For a solo performance in June I was excited going back to my roots of experimentation in electronics and live performance.

My ideas of natural soundscapes and wildlife, or not-so-wild life, calls were incorporated into virtual instruments that I’ve been designing and programming from my personal library of (delicious!) field recordings I collected over the years.

To control the virtual instruments I built custom-made electronics interfaces out of cream jars – a playful gender statement to modify beauty department items into audio inter….faces (see what I did there?).

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I managed to squeeze the essence of the magnificent song of a wren into a cream jar….

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The glorious heatwave of July was spent mostly indoors rehearsing for the UK premieres of ‘Fell’ and ‘Sylt’, together with an ensemble that we christened ‘an Excellence of Ladies’ – the collective noun for a group of female musicians (as if you didn’t know).

We had the honour of performing in the stunning Art Deco surrounds of the DeLaWarr Beach Pavilion. As usual BBC R3 did a marvellous job of capturing delicate details such as whispering strings and breathing textures.

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In August I returned to an on-location mixed choral and field recordings work for Kammerkor Sudurlands, titled ‘Mighty Mother’. The genesis of this composition was while working with the choir in 2016. Premiere is planned for next year.

Members of Kammerkor Sudurlands and our Mighty Mother

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Painting 34 metres of panoramic score in Lithuania, 2017

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Then September was something else!

Last year I developed a large scale panoramic scoring technique and I’m so pleased turning this concept to ever more Christo-esque sizes this year with a commission for the unique space of Newhaven Fort.

I tend to get carried away with things and had to stop at 98 metres of panoramic score because I ran out of fabric.

Quoting my own Metro piece, I reimagined the caponier tunnel of the fort, buried deep in the Sussex cliffside, as a busy subway passage. The rustling and shuffling of commuters reading their free newspapers are setting the tempo for an ensemble of perambulating musicians playing from the panoramic score on the walls, as they wind their way through the tunnel.

It’s a bit of a challenge to explain this work in a few sentences. The full story is on my website.

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‘Caponier’ panoramic score for saxophone, cornet, two violins and subway commuters reading free newspapers

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October found me unexpectedly looking back to the 2016 Icebreaker ensemble commission about to be performed for a BBC R3 Hear And Nowbroadcast.

Throwing A Window Through Another Window features a lot of changes similar to panels in a graphic novel – but then without the pictures.

For the occasion I took time off from other projects to script out what’s actually happening in my mind – which was quite a revealing process! I put a lot of humour in the Icebreaker triptych, which now is typed out on virtual paper.
Jobina Tinnemans - script

A page of the script of ‘Throwing A Window Through Another Window’

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November brought the opportunity for a little Ferrero Rocher-sized indulgence into modular analog electronics, one of my earliest sonic loves, in the shape of a solo performance in a fabulously glamorous, yet slightly psychedelic, film noir setting, as part of the launch of a new music synching company based in Brighton. More in the next year.
December: I’m eating mince pies and planning 2019!

 

 

Thank You

 A warm thank you to all my collaborators and commissioners in 2018, to the wonderful audiences out there and to people believing in my work for making things happen. To all the kind individuals who got in touch with their personal stories of what my art has brought to them, it truly means a lot to me and I’m thankful to you all. 

A special thanks and appreciation to the British PRSF for Music for awarding me with The Composer’s Fund, which has been supporting me in composing works for some exciting developments which are planned for 2019. 

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THROWING A WINDOW THROUGH ANOTHER WINDOW – scripting it out

‘Throwing A Window Through Another Window’ changes scenes often, sonically. It reads like a graphic novel to me, but then without pictures – and I thought why not write out what’s in happening in my imagination. Which was quite an interesting process! It turned out an example of what my sense of humour looks like, I guess…

Here is one page of the script of ‘Throwing A Window Through Another Window’. The capital letters mark the place of where the scene is located in the sheet music of the composition.

Throwing A Window Through Another Window - scenario page - Jobina Tinnemans.jpg

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Throwing A Window Through Another Window – more performances

More performances of my miniature ‘Mx’ and ‘Throwing A Window Through Another Window’  – a broadcast of the Soundfestival Scotland on BBC R3 Hear And Now this Saturday and a performance on the November Music festival in ‘s Hertogensbosch in the Netherlands, this Sunday, November 11th..

 

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Newsletter October: Fort Process and Modern Medieval

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Panoramic Scores in Fort Process festival

The Fort Process festival for Experimental Music in Fort Newhaven, UK, commissioned me for a new on-location panoramic score piece. And what a bizarre Dada-ist piece it turned out to be!
Jobina Tinnemans - 'Caponier' - photo Agata Urbaniak

The Newhaven Fort’s Caponier tunnel is a dark, damp, narrow space, with some incredible acoustics. The place begged for a piece referring to the London Underground tunneling system. Rush hour. Commuters. Buskers. The only panoramic view available in a situation like this has got to be located in your mind.
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‘Caponier’

a mind numbing 9-5 commute on repeat versus wandering spirits

This piece works by a panoramic score of 24 metres with choreographed ground plan covering the entire tunnel for singers, footsteps, free pulp newspaper page turning, staircase, tunnel, crammed audience to annoyed be pushing through and four musicians.

 

My many gratitudes for the Lost Property team in realising the production. And a very big thank you to Astra Chan on cornet, Lisa Guila on sax, Ke’v Nickellsand Carrie Topley on violin. Singing and on free pulp newspaper page turning are Rebecca Askew, George F Patterson and two joining passers-by! #DaDa#experiment

Jobina Tinnemans - panoramic scores - Garn Fawr detail

I started off with developing a scaled-down composition titled ‘Garn Fawr’ sourcing from panoramic views  interspersed with geometrical signalling lighthouse beams on Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire.

The entire process of making the 104 metres of two panoramic score ‘Caponier’ and ‘Central’ (not included in this newsletter update) I’ve documented on my blog here

 

Two premieres in Brecon Beacons, Oct 5-6

Together with artist Stefhan Caddick and The Landmark Trust we have been working on a performance that will mark the opening of the medieval historical heritage monument Llwyn Celyn in Brecon Beacons, Wales, this weekend.

Stefhan commissioned me to write pieces for choir to feature in his distributed sound performance.

 

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‘Enduring Like A Tree Under The Curious Stars’

for SATB for choir in two movements will premiere by the much respected Unicorn Singers, directed by Stephen Marshall, who specialise in the medieval music genre.

The two movements are called ‘Four Seasons, Countless Years’ and ‘In The Wings Through The Night’.

In contrast with the previously mentioned panoramic scores, these works are conventionally notated and are based on medieval music – as medieval as a pdf printed on A4 can be…

The development has been a wonderful journey visiting the Llwyn Celyn site these works are composed for, researching sounds of the rehoused bats, the disappearing Gwenhwyseg dialect and which tune was hot in Europe in 1420…

It’s documented in my blog

Tickets and Event info

 

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‘…as a Raven knows of singing’, is artist and producer Stefhan Caddick’s title for the distributed sound performance opening event, which takes place on October 5 and 6 at Llwyn Celyn, Cwmyoy, Black Mountains, Wales.

Admission is free but ticketed. You can find tickets and more information via this Eventbrite link.
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Llwyn Celyn is one of the finest surviving medieval hall houses in the heart of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons, which is being restored into it’s full glory by the Landmark Trust. Click on the links to read more._____.

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ENDURING LIKE A TREE UNDER THE CURIOUS STARS #6

I’ve been commissioned to compose works for choir for Stefhan Caddicks openings event of the renovated ‘Llwyn Celyn’ house by Landmark Trust, on October 5 and 6. The sheer wealth of material about the place, landscape, history, language and nature gathered by research, by knowledgable commissioners, professionals, friends and colleagues is such a treat, I’ll be blogging little snippets to share the joy.

Llwyn Celyn is one of the finest surviving medieval hall houses in the heart of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons, which is being restored into it’s full glory by the Landmark Trust. Click on the above links to read more.

Ockeghem - Prenez Sur Moi - Jobina Tinnemans

Johannes Ockenghem

I was wondering which tunes were hot around 1420 when my friend Dan turned around and sang me ‘Prenez Sur Moi’ by Johannes Ockenghem. Since Dan is from around 14-15C but somehow landed in 2018, he must be reliable source!

Ockenghem is a Flemish composer, sort of from around my native area and I thought it might be fun to sneak a little bit of my genetics into the music …so I took after him. (see what I did there? ha!)

‘Prenez Sur Moi’ was going round in Europe around 1450s. Lyrically it’s a bit of a cheeky song with a dark undertone. Technically it’s a canon consisting of three parts in different keys. The difference in pitch gives each part a different feel. A beautiful challenge to work with.

For the first movement of ‘Enduring Like A Tree Under The Curious Stars’ I wanted to focus on the passing of time, something the title carries so elegantly. A canon is perfect for it – technically it can go on forever, there isn’t really a beginning or an end, it nestles in a moment of time. Ockenghem’s three different keys I changed into four, to voice the four seasons over the choir’s SATB ranges.

Four Seasons, Countless Years’ is a slow, pensive work, reminiscent of sacred music, worshipping time and nature. The lyrics are in the nearly extinct Gwenhwyseg dialect. Here is the Soprano part ‘Spring’  I wrote with help of notes and glossaries:

 

Amsar ō’r dīwadd dīni cadeira yn y cwm ma   
Time finally wakes up stones in this valley

Blōta ācor i llycid yn ārath nêt ācos Pen-Y-Glec        
Flowers open their eyes in a fine speech near House-Of-Gossip

Dēra dinīwad cyfordis yn y bwa’r wibran
Come comfortable innocence in a bow in the sky

Amsar traddōti, am bỳth āarth mōr annepyg â dŵr ā thɛ̄n, o dan y sêr diarth
Time tells tales, for ever as different as water and fire, curious under the stars

 

Premiere and performances are coming up soon!

‘…as the Raven knows of singing’ is producing artist Stefhan Caddick’s umbrella title for the openings event, which takes place on October 5 and 6 at Llwyn Celyn, Cwmyoy, Black Mountains, Wales.

Admission is free but ticketed. You can obtain tickets and more information from the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cynefin-of-this-place-tickets-48551002355

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#modernmedieval #choralmusic #llywncelyn #blackmountains #breconbeacons #bats #gwenhwyseg #cymru #whatdoesanartistdoallday #enduringlikeatreeunderthecuriousstars #october5and6

@stefhancaddick @LandmarkTrust @unicornsingers @HeritageLotteryFund

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ENDURING LIKE A TREE UNDER THE CURIOUS STARS #5

I’ve been commissioned to compose works for choir for Stefhan Caddicks openings event of the renovated ‘Llwyn Celyn’ house by Landmark Trust, on October 5 and 6. The sheer wealth of material about the place, landscape, history, language and nature gathered by research, by knowledgable commissioners, professionals, friends and colleagues is such a treat, I’ll be blogging little snippets to share the joy.

Llwyn Celyn is one of the finest surviving medieval hall houses in the heart of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons, which is being restored into it’s full glory by the Landmark Trust. Click on the above links to read more.

Jobina Tinnemans - panoramic scores - Garn Fawr detail

Detail from my ‘Garn Fawr’ panoramic score in scaled down model-size. This segment is about 8 metres long in reality.

 

From Panoramic Score to Medieval music

Last few weeks I’ve been working on ‘panoramic scores’ for the Fort Process festival for experimental music which took place in Fort Newhaven, East Sussex, UK. Panoramic scores are from my interpretations on sheet music series. I developed a graphic scoring technique in which the scores are landscape-sized, long enough to wrap themselves through a space in a Christo-esque fashion.

It’s easy enough to confuse my panoramic scores for something random happening, based on improvisation. While, in fact, Panoramic Scores are my variation on Medieval monophonic model. From a single line, a monophony, harmonies open up by means of a canon principle: musicians starting their parts in a staggered way.

I very much enjoy J.S. Bach’s music and he is a well-known example of a composer repeatedly using a phrase in many guises throughout a work: mirrored, in postive and reverse, slowed down and sped up. This principle very much resonates to me in this digital era of using software to compose with. Bach’s music is so very timeless.

The repetition of a phrase in various forms is a fundament of why I started to develop my panoramic scores. I’m describing how one repeatedly walks through a landscape and experiences the same features differently each time – from East to West, North to South, going out and return, in light and dark, in happy or sad, in major or minor.

As a – natural, kinetic or even choreographic – result of performing the single lined panoramic part, the performers generate polyphonies and harmonies. A multi dimensional, multi-disciplined representation. I see it as a skipping in time from reinterpreting the medieval music via the digital age back to a very minimalist and ancient use of ink and brush graphic lines – and I feel I’m only at the beginning of its exploration.

But what has this got to do with the choral compositions I’ve written for the Llwyn Celyn opening, as it’s notated as conventional sheet music, printed on a standard A4?

The Llwyn Celyn buildings date from around 1420 and in an attempt to express this astonishing awareness of time passed I’ve written two works in modern medieval style. I’ve been using monophony in canon and found myself working pretty much in the same way while developing both very different commissions – that of the panoramic score and the choral pieces.

Enduring Like A Tree Under The Curious Stars, movement one titled ‘Four Seasons, Countless Years’ uses canon in four different keys, the four different seasons. A spin on Ockeghem’s ‘Prenez Sur Moi’. More about it in next blog.

The second movement ‘In The Wings Through The Night’, draws from calls of the Lesser Horseshoe bat (and what they might be saying!) in a more contemporary canon style, with phrases chopped up and diffused.

To honour the hard work of The Landmark Trust’s builders, included in the lyrics is something I overheard the local Lesser Horseshoe bat colony say the other day, while they were going about their business at 2am in the morning (under the curious stars, you see). I thought it was quite a nice appreciation of quality that shouldn’t go amiss:

“get hold of the well-made roof beam, love!”
“citsho y ceibir dēcha, cariad!”

Which reminds me that all lyrics are written in the nearly extinct Gwenhwyseg dialect! More about it in this blog.

Premiere and performances are coming up soon!

‘…as the Raven knows of singing’, is artist and producer Stefhan Caddick’s umbrella title for the openings event, which takes place on October 5 and 6 at Llwyn Celyn, Cwmyoy, Black Mountains, Wales.

Admission is free but ticketed. You can obtain tickets and more information from the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cynefin-of-this-place-tickets-48551002355

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Stunning Black Mountains region of Wales, UK. Panoramas and medieval in one photo of Llanthony Priory which ties in with Llwyn Celyn, situated in this valley, but out of view just around the corner. 

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#modernmedieval #choralmusic #llywncelyn #blackmountains #breconbeacons #bats #gwenhwyseg #cymru #whatdoesanartistdoallday #enduringlikeatreeunderthecuriousstars #october5and6

@stefhancaddick @LandmarkTrust @unicornsingers @HeritageLotteryFund

 

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