#3823: Living Opera & Sound Design, with Tom Hamilton

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QUICKSAND. Maura Gahan and Jurij Konjar.
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For this New Sounds, electronic composer and sound designer Tom Hamilton joins John Schaefer in the studio. In addition to his own works, Hamilton also collaborated with the late Robert Ashley, composing the electric orchestra for some of Ashley's later operas, like Dust, CRASH, and Ashley’s “opera-novel,” Quicksand, which gets its world premiere in NYC at The Kitchen this week, Jan. 28-30, and Feb. 4-6.

Quicksand is a multimedia collaboration, with music, dance and light environments.  Story-wise, it’s a  first-person mystery novel, revolving around a composer of operas, who is on a yoga tour of South East Asia, while also working as a spy for The Company.  Rather than a “television opera”, Ashley thought of it as an “opera novel,” which Hamilton says, “plays like an audiobook.” Ashley’s singspiel has upped its pace from previous spoken-word parts and is close in tone to the mystery-thrillers that he consumed voraciously, and then there are the visuals. Hear some of Quicksand, featuring music & libretto by Robert Ashley and sound design by Tom Hamilton.

Then, hear a concerto for flute and orchestra by the late Robert Ashley, written for flutist Barbara Held, where the orchestra is provided by Tom Hamilton’s MIDI synthesizer.  Plus, listen to the found sounds of a weather balloon and a marine navigational system off the coast of Spain, with flute textures, in ‘Upper Air Observation” by Barbara Held, along with a sort of fantasy & variations on a J.S. Bach fugue by Tom Hamilton. 

PROGRAM #3823, with Tom Hamilton (First Aired 1-26-2016)          

ARTIST: Robert Ashley
WORK: The Backyard, excerpt [1:33]
RECORDING: Perfect Lives/Private Parts
SOURCE: Lovely Music #4917
INFO: lovely.com

ARTIST: Tom Hamilton
WORK: J.S. Bach Fantasy & Fugue # 4, BWV 542 – Region 4 [6:17]
RECORDING: Sebastian's Shadow (Longer ramblings on a short Bach fugue)
SOURCE: Monroe Street
INFO: monroestreet.com

ARTIST: Robert Ashley
WORK: Quicksand,  Opening Scenes: “Room Service,” and more.  [8:15]
RECORDING: rehearsal recording
SOURCE: Not yet commercially available. 
INFO: The novel/libretto, Quicksand, IS available on Amazon.com 

ARTIST: Barbara Held, Tom Hamilton
WORK: Robert Ashley: Superior Seven (Concerto for Flute), excerpt [12:23]
RECORDING: Robert Ashley 
SOURCE: New World 80460
INFO: newworldrecords.org

ARTIST: Tom Hamilton
WORK: J.S. Bach Fantasy & Fugue # 4, BWV 542 – Region 5, excerpt  [2:58]
RECORDING: Sebastian's Shadow (Longer ramblings on a short Bach fugue)
SOURCE: Monroe Street
INFO: monroestreet.com

ARTIST: Barbara Held
WORK: Upper Air Observation [9:44]
RECORDING: Upper Air Observation
SOURCE: Lovely Music 3031
INFO: lovely.com