Rudiger Meyer

Imagination, Fantasy and Intuition

Staging Contemporary Music

Irina Kalina Goudeva has for many years been working on various quite ambitious syntheses of contemporary music with video, theater and choreography – aiming for the highest and closest possible connection between instrument and performer.

She treated us to a preview of the latest incarnation of one of her concerts for double bass, voice and various media. Bo Lundby Jæger joined in on piano for the final number – a piece he composed especially for Irina.

Afterwards there was time to discuss the ins and outs of her performance and see if we could get to grips with the rather complex ‘plot’ underlying the concert. Irina is not only concerned with melding together performer, performance space and instrument, but also with bringing femininity and spirituality into the modern world and investigating how these aspects can complement each other. These are by no means easy topics and we discussed the potential of video and lighting to both complement and distract from the central concepts and the basic core of double bass and voice.

After the break we took up the topic of improvisation. The last few labs have been so packed with high quality presentations that we have often been too saturated by the end of the evening to jump into the improvisations with which we ended our first few. It was our intention to find our way back to this loose collective form of exploring sound and music at the beginning of our new season. Unfortunately Line Tjørnhøj, one of the main players in the impro segment‚ fell ill at the last minute and we were left in the capable hands of Irina Kalina.

Fortunately Irina has had a close working relationship with Line and could pick the threads. She told of a workshop (in a shopping centre, with children) which built on the topic of one of Line’s opera’s – the execution of a young Iranian girl for having committed "acts contrary to chastity". Participants were asked to contribute their responses to this topic in the form of drawings which were then assembled into a graphic score. Line and Irina were struck by the immediacy of the children’s visual expressions and the potential for translating this intensity into a piece of music.

We set about setting up a similar graphic score which could be used as the point of departure for a group improvisation.
Irina suggested three words around which the members of the audience could contribute a small drawing or symbol. These were created on an iPad and immediately beamed up on the wall for all to see. What followed was a group improvisation of about 20 minutes in which the audience either sang, played on brought instruments or devices or made use of the objects and instruments available at Literaturhaus.

Here’s the score:

And this is what we made of it:

I don’t have all the names of all the participants and what they did but I can tell you that Irina played double bass and sang, Chris Walker played the piano, yours truly on iPad and iPhone (using Animoog, Filtatron and Noisemusick), Jexper Holmen played the accordion, Katrine Dal and Malene Bichel used their voices, someone I don’t know the name of played recorder and someone I don’t know the name of sang and if you let me know what I missed out I’ll fill it in.


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