[audio] Amy Radner - live improvisation
[audio] Charles Amirkhanian - live 1
[audio] Charles Amirkhanian - live 2


 

[video] - music from the sky





 

MUSIC FROM THE SKY

In order to define the space and to direct the attention towards the sky, four silver-coloured baloons were placed at the respective comers of the square and were anchored at a hight of 30 metres from the ground with the help of thin ropes. The ballons, with diametre of 6 metres each, were filled with approximately 400 m3 of helium. Four loud­speakers were hidden behind the four ballons respectively. The literal, and not the allusive, aspect of the title re­quired a resonant illustration of:


1) direct celestial provenance,
2) human musical experience.

As reported by Prof Gavazzi of the Laboratory for Cos­mical Physics through the CNR of Milan, cosmic resonant waves do not arrive to us. Instead we receive electromag­netic, radio, or light waves form everywhere. To catch ra­dio waves with the help of a radiotelescope and then to con­vert them into 'musical' language would not be very ap­propriate: - since the intensity of the signal almost does not vary its modulation, there would be a contituous noise present. On the other hand, a photographic image obtained by telescope contains a lot more information: each one of its points have two spacial co-ordinates, a determined bright­ness, and a respective chromatic value. the group for Mathematic Calculation at the CNUCE (Institute of the National Research Council) of Pisa - Pietro Grossi, Lu­ciano Azzarelli and Massimo Chimenti, have determined the parametres for the interpretation of colour slides of the nebulous 'Lyra and Orion' and of the 'Andromeda' Gal­laxy.
The choice of the acoustic parametre derived from the resonant capacity of the TA V-2 computer (an audio-termi­nal, used in the musicology section at that time).
The horizontal and vertical interpretation of each slide was being transformed into numerical values, which were then 'translated' into sounds by the computer, trying as much as possible to avoid the choices which based them­selves on personal criteria.
In this way five minutes of sound were produced for
each 'sonorous celestial subject'. .
Music has always something to do with human fellings and the associations that it provokes are deliberate and
more or less manipulated by the composer. In this case,
however, what was obtained was a transcription, ner­vetheless that it was arbitary. For this very reason it was considered not as music but as a 'celestial' resonant materi­al, which was to be heared 'from the sky'.
The concert in Milan was realized on the evening of
May 2nd, 1979. The first part contained the material de­scribed above. For the second part a programme of human musical poetics was being chosen, together with the RAI musicologist G. Motta.

 
1. The "Epitaph of Sicilo (ancient Greece).
2. "Deus Creator Omnium" by St. Ambrose (386 AD).
3. “Ja Nus Hons Pris" by Richard I, Lionheart (1100).
4. "Possente Spirito" from ORFEO by Monteverdi.
5. "Largo" from 'Concerto in Re-Maggiore' for flute and
strings Op. 10 No.3 by Antonio Vivaldi.
6. "Preludes" from TRISTAN UND ISOLDE by Richard
Wagner.
7. "Dances Sacrees et Profanes" by Claude Debussy.

'Music from the Sky - II' was realized on October 17th,
1979, at the Mills College in Ockland, San Francisco. This time the previously recorded material was executed with
the help of a particular installation: - a ballon filled with
warm air and its pilot were anchored with the help of
ropes at an approximate height of 40 metres. A screen of
semitransparent silk was fixed horizontally by four ropes,
halfway between the gondola and the spectators. Images of
the galaxies were projected consecutively on this screen
while the music was literally coming from 'the sky~ since
the gondola beared a big loudspeaker. What was obtained,
was an enlargement of the sky which was mixed with and
became part of the real stars.
The cellist Emy Radner connected by cable with the gon­dola, and respectively with the loudspeaker, was realizing
a human 'dialogue' improvising with the previously regis­tered sonorous material.
The entire concept was directly transmitted by the KPFA radio of Berkeley, San Franciscoand presentet by Charles Amirkhanian.

'Music from the Sky - Ill' was produced at the Irvin University, near Los Angeles, on October 24th, 1979. It was very similar to the Ockland concert but this time the musical interpretation was provided by young rock musicians.