La Mort Des Artistes

La Mort Des Artistes - Ian Moore

This work is the centre piece of a trilogy which is yet to be completed.  Written at a time when I was heavily influenced by the music of Pierre Boulez,  the titles of three compositions are reminiscent of 'Le Marteau sans Maitre'; the centre piece is a solo song based on the surrealist poem by Charles Baudelaire and it is framed by a prelude "Avant..." for solo clarinet and pre-recorded material and a postlude "Apres..." for mixed ensemble.  Unfortunately, "Avant  La Mort Des Artistes" has yet to be completed.  The technology and the opportunity in terms of orchestral resources are only now available to me. I believe that I will finish the piece soon.

Out of all of my music as a young composer, I would say this work is one of the most important. This is because it closely defines the method of working for the following years and it even influences the way that I work today. The poem is at the heart of the trilogy and also the music. In this composition, I have deconstructed the language of the poem and then reconstructed everything in music.  In a way, the composition is closer to a poem than a song. The rise and fall of the song is intended to imitate the intonation of the voice reading the poem.

For example, if we have a look at the opening phrase.
Combien faut-il de fois secouer mes grelots
The words are turned into "vowel formant".  This means that the vowels are analysed and categorised according to their vocal position.

A primary fundamental is calculated and then intervals are derived from the fundamental.

Each group of the secondary fundamentals correspond to a group of the underlying structure.  Now the proportions of the vowel formant can be used to generate pitches for the relative structure:

Each proportion from the vowel formant represents a pitch (an interval generated from the secondary fundamental).  Therefore, each pitch represents a syllable of the poem. They are all linked together by the secondary fundamental.

The rhythm is calculated in a similar way.

There is considerably more to explain about the process that generates the source material for the music, especially in terms of timbre.  But I prefer people to listen to the music and come up with their own ideas rather than be burdened with the mechanics of how it is created. 

La Mort Des Artistes (complete) - Ian Moore.