Cordillera Hildegard Westerkamp

Cordillera is a compositional working of Norbert Ruebsaat’s reading of the long title poem from his book Cordillera. The piece combines the voice with environmental sound from the landscape — the Western Canadian mountain wilderness — which first inspired the poems, and thus places them back into their correct context. Cordillera means a ridge or chain of mountains. It is also used generically to describe the continuous range stretching from Tierra Del Fuego to Alaska. The poem describes an ascent and movement through the high country. It is composed of 17 shorter poems or “snapshots” of specific locations, and these are each given their own acoustic shape as the composition proceeds. Cordillera is about landscape, about wilderness, about the human presence and voice in places that are still considered by many to be barren and silent. It attempts to bring back to the city listener the sense of space, time and acoustic identity we experience when we manage to tear ourselves from the noise that clutters most of our daily lives. Cordillera was commissioned by and first installed as an acoustic environment at the Western Front Gallery in Vancouver, Canada, for its “New Wilderness Festival” in the Spring of 1980.

Source: 2003

  • Year of composition: 1980
  • Duration of the submitted work: 46:01
  • Publisher: Inside the Soundscape (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Production: Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia)
  • Premiere: March 1980, Western Front (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Linked project

  • Chuprun, Dhomont, Jean, McKinnon, Prior, Saario, Westerkamp, Wiernik
    10 tracks

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