something golden in the night

some­thing golden in the night rep­res­ents a first at­tempt to trans­form the tra­di­tional con­cert hall con­text through an ab­stract sceno­graphy that be­gins to con­struct a new con­text within the frame­work of a clas­sical con­cert. A sax­o­phonist is ac­com­panied in their per­form­ance by a play of shadows coming from a sculp­ture, the move­ment of which is con­trolled by a motor in syn­chrony with elec­tronic sounds. In pla­cing the mu­si­cian in dia­logue with an an­imate ob­ject and the object’s shadows, I hope to gen­erate an in­timate space within the con­cert hall (on stage) into which the audi­ence gaze, es­tab­lishing a quasi-voyeuristic situ­ation where pre­vi­ously a solo per­form­ance may be seen as an ex­hib­i­tionist, vir­tuoso com­mu­nic­a­tion dir­ected at the audi­ence. Of course, this is not only a ques­tion of the visual re­la­tion­ships but is also em­bedded in the sound of the work. The be­gin­ning of the work is char­ac­ter­ised by a still, slow focus on a tightly re­stricted set of sounds, the small­ness and fra­gility of which already in­vite the audi­ence to re­cog­nise the sound as dis­tant, as hap­pening else­where. The en­trance of more and more elec­tronic sounds as the work pro­ceeds, in­cluding music boxes and dis­tant hum­ming ra­dios, also draws on the evoc­ative nature of moving shadows and darkened rooms, al­lowing the po­etic ima­gin­a­tion to per­haps re­member the shadow on their child­hood bed­room wall.

some­thing golden in the night (formerly titled and premiered as Schattenspiel) was written as part of the Cursus 1 pro­gramme at IRCAM. Thanks are owed to Emmanuel Fléty for his as­sist­ance with the mo­tor­ised com­ponent, Jean Lochard for his ac­cel­er­a­tion al­gorithm and Haruka Inoue for all her time and mu­sical con­tri­bu­tions. Also to Adam Maor and Lisa Streich for their tea-making abil­ities and knife skills respectively.

Duelling saxophones. (Right: Haruka Inoue)Joshua Hyde performing something golden in the night. Photo: Veronica Isabelle Stubberud.

  • Instrumentation

    • Soprano Saxophone
    • Electronics
  • Details

    • Duration: 12′
    • First performance: 31 March 2012, Haruka Inoue, IRCAM
    • Subsequent performances:
    • 27 May 2014, Haruka Inoue, CNSMdP, Paris, France
    • 2 April 2012, Joshua Hyde, Scandinavian Saxophone Festival
  • Audio