The Space Between Commissaire: Katharine Norman

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I picked these works to share because they’ve figured in my recent listening. Some have grown on me, some have made me curious, and some are long-time friends. But when I come to think about it, they all—to me, at least—seemed concerned with travel of a kind. And any travel from here to there has to negotiate the space between. And there are so many different kinds of spaces.

There seems no limit to the ways that sounding art can chart the vast (or miniscule) proportions of the space that’s outside (or inside) there. And I notice this in these pieces; from the ostensibly obvious subject matter of Martin Gotfrit’s Laika, to the inner immensities of Francis Dhomont’s Espace/Escape.

Maybe a visual image has to work harder to get inside, underneath the surface. But sound has this knack of filling heads with riffs that hang around and won’t be silenced. For me, that’s how it is with these, and many other, works that speak through sound. And I keep saying ‘for me’ because who knows what these works will be for you. Every pair of listening ears is different (and I’m glad to hear it).

Lately I’ve found it helpful to think of music as autobiography of a kind, especially electroacoustic music and sound art that explores recorded materials, and ‘real world’ sounds. Recently I’ve begun to try and explain my listening through words, and connecting to my own real world stories. Maybe it’s not so far from the space of personal memory, to the space of inner listening. So there are short written reflections on my listening here. There are also programme notes and biographies, and places to find more information about the composers and their work. All these destinations can be avoided if you want, and maybe even should be.

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