York Minster for the Marsyas Trio

The third piece in my Real Spaces series has been recorded by the Marsyas Trio (Helen Vidovich flute, Zubin Kanga Piano, Valerie Welbanks cello). It will be released on NMC recordings in autumn 2018 on a CD of compositions by British women, to mark 100 years since we got the vote. Really looking forward to hearing it! Below is a picture of me interrupting the recording session at Royal Holloway University Boiler Room.

Here is a graph of the resonant frequencies extracted from each space in the Real Spaces series so far (St Andrew’s Lyddington, Maeshowe, York Minster). I converted the frequencies in Hz into 12 tone equally tempered notes with deviations in cents, which are then approximated by the instruments in various ways.

freqgraphYMrecording

Update – Dec 18:

The CD – In the Theatre of Air – was released on NMC in October this year. It debuted at No.7 in the UK specialist classical chart, a fantastic achievement all round. There have been a couple of lovely reviews too:

Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine Nov 18 **** – “Georgia Rodgers’s York Minster uses pitches derived from the building’s acoustic fingerprint: if that sounds dry and scientific, the result is a haunting processional, giving a sense of the vast space of the building.”

Sequenza21, Best of 2018 – “York Minster by Georgia Rodgers plays with off-kilter ostinatos, creating a loping groove with incisive punctuations.”

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Maeshowe for sextet and sine tones

The Riot Ensemble premiered my new piece Maeshowe for sextet and sine tones in April 2018. We travelled to Helsingborg in Sweden for the concert which was part of the Swedish Society of Composers’ 100th birthday celebrations.

Maeshowe is part of my Real Spaces series of pieces which are based on the impulse response of particular places.

It was fantastic to have the opportunity to work with the brilliant Riot Ensemble, who were: Ausiàs Garrigos (clarinet), Andy Connington (trombone), David Royo (percussion), Fontane Liang (harp), Neil Georgeson (piano), Louise McMonagle (cello) and Aaron Holloway-Nahum (director).  Thanks very much!

 

Helsingborg Riot rehearsalHelsingborg composers and ensemble

 

840 New music for violin and piano

Looking forward to the next instalment of the 840 concert series at St James’ Church, Islington on 16th December.

My piece, ‘St Andrew’s Lyddington’ for violin and piano will be premiered by violinist Ruben Zilberstein and pianist Mateusz Rettner, along with new works by Alex Nikiporenko, James Luff and Matteo Fargion, plus Linda Catlin Smith’s fantastic, ‘With Their Shadows Long’ (1997).

Thanks to all involved in making this happen! More info and tickets here.

Post note – concert was brilliant! Thanks to all who came. You can listen to recordings of three of the pieces (including mine) here: https://soundcloud.com/840series/sets/16dec2017

Post post note – Ruben and Mateusz gave a repeat performance of the whole programme in Norwich in April 2018.

This piece uses the acoustic characteristics of a real space as its basis. The impulse response of St. Andrew’s church was analysed to reveal its room modes—those frequencies which it best supports. The strongest nine frequencies were extracted, along with the corresponding twelve tone equally tempered pitches and deviations in cents. The frequencies are approximated in various ways by the violin and piano, creating an abstracted (or extracted?) version of the sonic space.

St Andrew’s church in Rutland is known for its ‘acoustic jars’ dating from the 15th century which are set into the chancel walls. These features were supposedly meant to help amplify the voice of the priest, but there is some doubt as to whether they would have worked or not.

Apartment House 14.11.17

Very excited that Apartment House will be playing my string quartet as part of Textures Festival at Cafe Oto in November.

Thanks to all involved!

More info and tickets here.

Post note: AH are going to perform my string quartet for a second time at Music We’d Like to Hear on July 20th 2018 – exciting!

29.01.19 – Just found this lovely review of AH’s performance at MWLTH by Ben Harper in Tempo 73 (287) 94-104. Thanks to everyone involved in making this happen.

“A much newer work, Georgia Rodgers’ Three pieces for string quartet, also built upon the work of others and directed it in a new way, drawing on modern playing techniques and subjecting them to close analysis. As with abstract painting, each piece took a technical effect and made it into the subject. The act of bowing or touching the string was placed under the microscope, starting with whisperings of lightest contact, slowly resolving into stacks of fifths, fourths and denser harmonies, and ending with brittle textures of grinding and popping sounds of extreme pressure. This happened slowly enough to appreciate the sonic ramifications of each type of playing, how the string sound is affected, perceiving it as aural phenomena beyond timbral novelty.”

 

Tzlil Meudcan

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to take part in Tzlil Meudcan festival in Tel Aviv. Run by the excellent Ensemble Nikel and Yaron Deutsch, this year was especially significant as Nikel celebrated their 10th anniversary (amazing box set available!).

The festival participants included composition tutors Matthew Shlomowitz, Klaus Lang, Sarah Nemtsov and Marco Momi, artists Quatuor Diotima, Ensemble Nikel, Plus Minus, Alexander Schubert, Stefan Prins amongst others, and seven student composers from all over the world, of which I was one. (NB the full festival programme can be seen at the link above.)

The student composers were an absolutely fantastic group, totally diverse in their individual approaches but completely open, interested and positive about their peers’ musical concerns. We benefited from individual sessions with the tutors, wide ranging discussions at the ‘Where Are We Now?’ panels, fantastic concerts every evening (including a performance of James Saunders’  Everybody do this led by Plus Minus) and post-concert beer+beach+chat.

A big thank you to everyone who made this inspiring festival happen, and I hope to see my fellow gang members again soon, perhaps in rural France…

EXAUDI workshop

I was lucky enough to take part in a workshop with the brilliant EXAUDI vocal ensemble when they visited City University in April this year.

I wrote a piece called Near and far, in which fragments from Emily Brontë’s poem Stars (1846) coincide with sine tones of various frequencies spread across a stereo field.

The piece explores spatial and harmonic relationships between the singers and electronic sound, sometimes blending or juxtaposing, and gradually changing from sparse to thick and full. The diffuse electronics spread out across the space, creating ambiguity for the listener about the ‘locatedness’ of the sounds and words they’re hearing. Brontë’s poem also deals with spatiality, contrasting as it does the relative magnitude of stars (infinity, the universe) with a human scale (homes, rooms).

Huge thanks to EXAUDI and their director James Weeks for their help on this project.

Recording below from EXAUDI’s concert at City University, London 24th May 2017.

Riot Ensemble – Nordic Music Days

I’m so happy to have been selected by the brilliant Riot Ensemble for one of their 2017 Call for Scores commissions!! Very exciting!!

I’ll be working with them on a new ensemble piece for the Nordic Music Days festival, which will feature six new works by three Nordic composers and three UK-based composers: myself, Aaron Einbond and Donghoon Shin. We will have a workshop at London Southbank in late September 2017, with the premieres taking place in Sweden in early 2018.

I can’t wait to get started on this project! For full details of all the 2017 commissions click here: http://riotensemble.com/composers/2017-2/

2017-Call-for-Scores-Commissions.jpg

Distal theories

I was lucky enough to work with Two New Duo – Ellen Fallowfield (cello) and Stephen Menotti (trombone) – when they came to City University for a series of workshops.  http://www.twonewduo.com

The piece I wrote for them examines the physical nature of the instrumental sound by using long, held notes at microtonal intervals, which cause a fluctuating pattern of beats. The sounds are then broken down into constituent parts of transient noise and sustained harmonics.

Rooms acoustics are important in this piece and the ‘locatedness’ of sounds is shifting and often ambiguous. When beats are audible, the composite sound seems to exist somewhere between the instruments. When they play harmonic material, each instrument becomes a more individual voice. And when they play noisy material, there is a closing down or reduction in the feeling of space.

The title refers to philosophical discourse about the nature of sound. Distal theories consider sounds to be located at the object which is vibrating, whilst proximal theories say that sounds are where the listener is. Medial theories locate sounds in the medium between the object and the listener. My response here was to try and emphasise different aspects of listening, shifting the location and spatiality of the sounds at different points in the piece.

Recording from a workshop held at City University, 07.03.17.

840 x NME: New music for voices and strings

I was lucky enough to be asked by 840 to write a new piece for NME (New Music Ensemble) for the next 840 concert. I wrote a piece called Masking set for alto, viola and cello. It’s composed from five combinations of pitches and rhythms, stitched together to make one unfolding form in which groups of notes are covered and uncovered in turn. This process of covering up sounds led me to thinking about the phenomenon of auditory masking, whereby the perception of one sound is altered by another which occurs simultaneously (or very soon before/after). Auditory masking can affect the nature of sounds we hear in various ways, particularly when those sounds are already closely related in pitch or timbre.

Recording from the concert below, performed by Sara Rodrigues (voice), Julia Vaughan (viola) and Roxanna Albayati (cello). Huge thanks to all three for their hard work! And many thanks to Alex Nikiporenko and Nicholas Peters for organising the concert.

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