andPlay’s Translucent Harmonies allows listeners to deeply immerse themselves in sound, silence, and resonance. This hour-long program includes Prisma Interius VIII by Catherine Lamb (USA) and Vid stenmuren blir tanken blomma by Kristofer Svensson (Sweden), both composed in Just Intonation. The rare experience to hear a full program in Just Intonation invites one to listen in a very detailed way to the “sensation of tone.” This shifts the concept of intonation, which is often unnoticed by the listener, to the foreground, where it becomes a focal point to explore the most simple, yet nuanced, relationships in sound.
Though the evening is one curated experience, the two pieces complement each other in their form. Lamb, in her chant-like work, uses droned pitches to slowly build the relationships between notes and intervals, transforming them into longer phrases. Alternatively, Svensson creates his work out of silence, with brief melodic fragments appearing against a backdrop of silence and noise. Together, they pause time -- guiding the audience through an alternate reality where there is ample opportunity to sit and listen.
ABOUT THE COMPOSERS
Catherine Lamb (b. 1982, Olympia, Wa, U.S.), is a composer exploring the interaction of elemental tonal material and the variations in presence between shades and beings in a room. She has been studying and composing music since a young age. In 2003 she turned away from the conservatory in an attempt to understand the structures and intonations within Hindustani Classical Music, later finding Mani Kaul in 2006 who was directly connected to Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and whose philosophical approach to sound became important to her. She studied (experimental) composition at the California Institute of the Arts (2004-2006) under James Tenney and Michael Pisaro, who were both integral influences. It was there also that she began her work into the area of Just Intonation, which became a clear way to investigate the interaction of tones and ever-fluctuating shades, where these interactions in and of them-selves became structural elements in her work. Since then she has written various ensemble pieces (at times with liminal electronic portions) and continues to go further into elemental territories, through various kinds of research, collaboration, and practice (herself as a violist). She received her MFA from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts at Bard College in 2012 and is currently residing in Berlin, Germany.
Kristofer Svensson is a composer based in Stockholm, Sweden. Often in his music, simple harmonic objects are found in a fragmentary musical syntax in a textural environment characterized by noise and silence. Tuning the music in Just Intonation, a characteristic feature of all his music, focuses attention on music’s raw material and invites a micro-audial attention to its details. His use of Just Intonation is connected to an interest in the antique, which also is reflected in a number of compositions for pre-1850 European instruments, most often tuned to one of the series of Just Intonation keyboard designs called 'Kirnberger-Svensson' he has designed for performances of his music. It is inspired by an early temperament by Johann Philipp Kirnberger (d. 1783).
The 'antique' is, however, not only limited to European traditions, and Svensson has spent extensive time studying Asian traditional musics such as the shakuhachi with Gunnar Jinmei Linder in Stockholm, the gǔqín with Yung-Hak Chi in Hong Kong, Sundanese karawitan with, amongst others, Ade Suparman and Dody Satya Egagustiman, in West Java. These studies were supported by grants from the Indonesian Ministry for Arts and Culture (2013) and the Swedish foundations Gålös (2015), Anna Withlock Memorial Foundation (2014), AAA (2013 and 2015), and Erik och Göran Ennerfelts stiftelse (2015). He studied composition with Mamoru Fujieda in Fukuoka, Japan supported by a JASSO Scholarship from the Japanese government (2015).
His music has been performed by soloists and groups such as Contemporaneous, ensemble mise-en, Quatuor Bozzini, Mats Persson & Kristine Scholz, Musica Vitae, Miyama McQueen-Tokita, Swedish Wind Ensemble, andPlay, N/A ensemble, Arcus Collective and Hong Kong New Music Ensemble and at festivals such as Sound of Stockholm (SE, 2016) o/modernt (SE, 2013), Bang on a Can summer music festival (US, 2015), Kalv (SE, 2015), Impuls (AT, 2017), KROCH fest (SE, 2018), and Ung Nordisk Musik (IS, 2017 and SE, 2019).
His activities as a composer have been supported by numerous grants from Swedish foundations and institutions such as Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation (2014 and 2015), Anders Sandrews Foundation (2013), three awards from the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM, 2013, 2015 and 2017), two working grants from the Society of Swedish Composers (FST, 2016 and 2018) and a recent commission through the Swedish Arts Council to write two new pieces for Mats Persson and Kristine Scholz premiered in 2019.
In October 2017, a portrait concert with his music titled “pale air (oscillating)” was given at Scandinavia House in New York City. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and a Master’s degree in Music Composition from the University of Hong Kong with the thesis “The Use of Just Intonation in my Recent Compositions”.