Arenas (piano, brass quintet, electronics) (25’00”).




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Peer reviewed



Commission: Philip Mead (for the BMIC ‘Cutting Edge’ series). First performance: 6th November 2003, The Warehouse, London; Philip Mead and the Royal Northern College of Music brass quintet conducted by James Gourlay. Further performance: 29th April 2004, The Cosmo Rodewald Hall, University of Manchester (same forces). BBC recording: The first performance was recorded and subsequently broadcast on Radio 3 (‘Hear and Now’) on 15th November 2003. Commercial recording: Cosmo Rodewald Hall, Manchester, 18th June 2004. Publication: Sargasso SCD 28055 (May 2007). Score: BMIC online. CD details: ‘Spaces & Places’: includes Sentences (soprano, live electronics) (1991); Fields of Attraction (string quartet, live electronics) (1997); Five Spaces (electric cello, live electronics) (1999); Arenas (piano, brass quintet, live electronics) (2003). Arenas is in effect a piano concerto (duration 25'); the instruments are electronically processed and spatialised (surrounding the audience) on a 5-channel loudspeaker system controlled by a MAX/MSP patch with an active performer. One composition/research imperative was to extend the technical capacities of an advanced student ensemble (the brass quintet of the RNCM). This involved regular contact with the director during the composition and work with the students. To this end the writing for the brass includes extended techniques: coloured wind/noise, singing/playing, active use of mutes, playing into piano; also contemporary notation, both complex metered and time-space. The work was in many (‘moment form’) sections which contrasted different combinations of instruments related to musical materials. This was also the first time this ensemble had worked with live electronics. The work is the third commissioned from the composer by Philip Mead, the first to include instruments. The materials and electronics continue investigations of surround sound spatialisation and ‘local/field’ relationships as discussed in Living Electronic Music (Ashgate 2007) (and practiced in all works on the Sargasso CD).


RAE 2008, UoA 67 Music


Emmerson, S.T. (2003) Arenas (piano, brass quintet, electronics) (25’00”). CD: Sargasso SCD 28055


Research Institute

Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)