Prospero’s Voyage Barry D. Truax

Prospero’s Voyage returns to the mythical island of the piece Island (2000), except that this time it is Prospero’s island from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The work begins with a Shakespearean actor, Christopher Gaze, intoning Prospero’s final speech from the play, “Now are my charms all o’erthrown …”, which culminates with the phrase “Let your indulgence set me free.” Hence the premise of the piece is what happens when Prospero leaves the island? Before he leaves, however, there is a rainstorm and a scene where Prospero is circling the listener intoning a fragment of the speech from the play. In the next scene, he walks towards the beach, and with a final incantation enters the water and is submerged by it. His underwater voyage is interrupted by several “surfacings”, but eventually this underwater dreamworld leads to a very distant place where the piece concludes with Macbeth’s speech that ends with “to the last syllable of recorded time.” In other words, the work may be interpreted as a theatre piece that takes place in the future where such magical effects could be possible, e.g. a perfect recreation of a soundscape that interacts with the performer and transforms his sounds. Or, it can be understood as a voyage of the imagination where Prospero, symbolizing the creative powers of the artist, leads us through the depths of the imagination to its furthest point.

  • Year of composition: 2004
  • Genre: Soundscape
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Instrumentation: 8 digital soundtracks
  • Software used: PODX system for sound synthesis and composition; the 16- and 8-channel versions were created with Richmond Sound Design’s AudioBox computer-controlled diffusion system.
  • Duration of the submitted work: 15:00
  • Publisher: Cambridge Street Publishing
  • Premiere: March 31, 2004, Simon Fraser University
  • Disc publication: Prospero’s Voyage is available on the Cambridge Street Records CD, Spirit Journies, CSR-CD 0701.

More works by Barry D. Truax

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