ekphonesis II [1969-II] alcides lanza

In this work electronic sounds co-exist with vocal recorded sounds and sounds taken from paste disk recordings from early in the century. ekphonesis — a Greek word meaning “speaking openly” — is a maximized rehearsal involving a diva, a raising start perhaps, and her coach, an old, obese vocal instructor. during this “rehearsal” the history of opera and the seriousness of art are questioned, and it all ends with the diva shooting the pianist. at a critical point in this piece, there is a three-way improvisation, the diva improvises from tango to Broadway songs to arias, while the pianists explores pointillism, jazz or dance music, all played faster than written. the third channel of improvisation is based on a huge collection of color slides, beginning with a picture of Richard Wagner morphed into an skeleton, and followed with pictures of animals, monsters, art works, hunger and social issues or roaring rockets reaching for the Moon…

.ekphonesis II is a “spoof” on the seriousness of opera and the arts in general. during a performance at the famous Donaueschingen Musiktage Festival in Germany, 1972, all the “Wagner-related” slides mysteriously disappeared. at the same time, this “spoof” was the most widely reviewed music in this festival.

ekphonesis II was premiered by American singer Judith Toensing, at the Contemporary Music Festival in East Orange, New Jersey, in 1969.

Source: CEC / Concordia Archival Project (CAP), 2008

  • Year of composition: 1969
  • Format: Mixed work
  • Instrumentation: for actress-singer, pianist and tape
  • Duration of the submitted work: 12:36
  • Publisher: Published by SHELAN Publications [eSp 8308].
  • Production: Tape part created at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, NYC.

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