Sydney based string quartet The NOISE have embarked on a Composed NOISE journey. They’ve commissioned 7 composers to write a work involving improvisation and held an event to share their journey and raise money.
Watters Gallery in East Sydney is a wonderful space, and was buzzing with conversation, wine and cheese. What was also great about the space was that we weren’t seated in horizontal rows facing the quartet. The casual seating enabled a relaxed listening environment.
Their event kicked off with the cellist, Ollie Miller seated alone. He started to perform and then we heard the sounds of the rest of the quartet, they walked through the crowd playing, then joined Ollie. It was a lovely way to connect the musicians to the audience.
The NOISE aren’t your traditional string quartet. They’re talented musicians who mix performing works for string quartet and improvisation. They communicate with each other while performing really well. You can see the visual and musical conversation they’re having.
Andrew Ford’s work was the most developed of the 7 works commissioned and was the one we heard during the workshop. As human rights advocate, Julian Burnside, funded the commission he wanted to create a work involving conversation. The NOISE play their own conversation – A key part of the work is the musicians improvising while listening to a recorded conversation and then the audience hears the recording with performance intertwined.
The other composers talked about the initial concepts behind the works and I’m really looking forward to seeing how these ideas develop into music.
- Paul Cutlan is thinking about a ‘horse’.
- Amanda Cole is going to use a light metronome as a visual element.
- Rosalind Page is also using a visual aspect, basing it on a Russian film director.
- Alex Pozniak is inspired by them making a lot of noise when they play, a single thing inspired by many aspects. He is planning to control their actions but not the ‘noise‘, which the musicians will have the opportunity to improvise.
- Andrew Batt-Rawden is going to use graphic notation but there will be some exact notes.
- Lyle Chan is exploring a card game where the musicians play a game – the winning and loosing of hands and shifting lead.
The composers are now busy developing their ideas because they’re being recorded at the end of June, ready for launch with the live premiere at the end of September. Stay tuned – we’ll keep you up to date with what they’re doing.