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Lancaster, David
Languages: English
Types: Other
Subjects: M1
Strata\ud \ud In 2007 I collaborated with the conceptual artist Rory McBeth on some new work for an exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery entitled ‘Depicting the Social Order’, which showed how visual art has been used to portray class divisions in society. One of the pieces shown in the exhibition was a dramatic poster from the early days of the American trades’ union movement which depicted the different classes of society as a pyramid – not unlike the layers of a wedding cake – with the ruling classes at the top and the manual workers at the base, supporting the whole edifice.\ud \ud (http://www.davidcomposer.com/#!photography/cmbc) \ud \ud It made a blunt, naïve statement which haunted me long after the exhibition had ended, and it seemed ripe\ud for musical representation. I began with the intention of making an almost literal ‘transcription’ of the visual\ud image into music with different musical ideas representing the strata of the poster, but the musical ideas quickly started to develop a life of their own - although I hope that they are still clearly differentiated. After a bold opening in which the first idea unfolds in a ritualistic, mechanical exposition, the other ‘strata’ follow in the same pattern: A, AB, ABC etc. The distinction between them is initially very clear but as the music progresses the five different strata began to combine, overlap and influence one another before a distorted version of the opening statement returns at the close.\ud \ud ‘Strata’ was composed in the spring and summer of 2013 for orchestra and it received its premiere in November that year in the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, given by the Orchestra of Opera North (conducted by Justin Doyle). It was recorded by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra (Mikel Toms) in June 2015 for the ABLAZE record label.
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