jalsaghar

On 23 March, 2011 there was a CD launch held at the Canadian Centre of Music in Toronto to celebrate a new release on the CentreDiscs label – jalsaghar, a recording project that spanned 6 six years from concept to release.

The 12 musicians presented on this cd are some of the most accomplished and respected composers and performers in Canada. For those who had worked closely with Vivienne Spiteri on this project, no doubt they still hold some very vivid memories of the time working with her – some laughter and joy, but probably lots of frustration, puzzlement, even agony, as thousands of sound bits were recorded here and there, as they recall being told to stand in the corner facing the wall to make only one tone on the instrument, or to hide in a closet to play the softest note possible. All because of Vivienne’s many unconventional approaches to recording and her uncompromising musical ideas.

jalsaghar shows the talent of all these musicians, and it reveals the belief and vision of Vivienne Spiteri, an original and uncompromising artist, whose work is entirely devoted to contemporary music. For almost three decades she has been commissioning works for harpsichord solo, with other instruments and electroacoustic media, including many on this cd. Vivienne believes that music is best experienced over headphones, which offer a deep, inner and intimate listening. All pieces were recorded in an 8-track set- up and spatialized in the mixing process with her sonic design. Throughout Vivienne’s entire career, she has tried to escape tyrannies, including that of tradition. On jalsaghar, harpsichord and many unusual instruments form combinations never heard before in history. Starting from programming, raising funds, and recording, Vivienne continued for three years, often working twelve to sixteen hours a day, focusing on editing, mixing and sound design, and finally working side by side with the mastering technician; she prepared the cd booklet and translated the texts into French. Her commitment and dedication have been extraordinary.

The result is this unique cd, a portrait of an artist: as fragile as snowflakes, yet strong like an iceberg. Listening to jalsaghar is such an enriching and inspiring experience for me. While listening, I felt as if I were being lifted to an open space in multi-dimensions; the pieces themselves are extended beyond the normal musical parameters. Each piece becomes a part of a sonic universe, reaching out with meaning and images. Then I read Vivienne’s program notes, “to me, Music is what happens when you transcend instrument, listen beyond the score. in jalsaghar my need was to investigate a situation in theory – a score of pitch, rhythm, dynamics and tempo – through the wider perspective of controlled acoustic parameters and controlled space.”

jalsaghar reveals the musical journey of a sonic artist. Listening to it is a transforming experience for the ear and the mind, and that is the true art of interpretation. There are many new grounds to discover: how acoustic music can be heard as electroacoustic music; how the harpsichord becomes a most powerful or mysteriously intimate instrument; how many instruments which have been narrowly labelled and characterized, such as accordion and banjo, take on a new expression and dimension.

jalsaghar means The Music Room. This title comes from a Bengali short story, later made into a film by Satyajit Ray about the last concert a once-rich patriarch organizes in his now crumbling palace. The cd jalsaghar starts with my piece, in the beginning was the end. I hope this is not the message Vivienne is telling us. I’d like her to know that the last piece in my cycle is called and the end is the beginning. Anyone who listens to this brilliant and moving cd will hope that this is a new beginning of Vivienne Spiteri’s great sonic art.On 23 March, 2011 there was a CD launch held at the Canadian Centre of Music in Toronto to celebrate a new release on the CentreDiscs label – jalsaghar, a recording project that spanned 6 six years from concept to release.

The 12 musicians presented on this cd are some of the most accomplished and respected composers and performers in Canada. For those who had worked closely with Vivienne Spiteri on this project, no doubt they still hold some very vivid memories of the time working with her – some laughter and joy, but probably lots of frustration, puzzlement, even agony, as thousands of sound bits were recorded here and there, as they recall being told to stand in the corner facing the wall to make only one tone on the instrument, or to hide in a closet to play the softest note possible. All because of Vivienne’s many unconventional approaches to recording and her uncompromising musical ideas.

jalsaghar shows the talent of all these musicians, and it reveals the belief and vision of Vivienne Spiteri, an original and uncompromising artist, whose work is entirely devoted to contemporary music. For almost three decades she has been commissioning works for harpsichord solo, with other instruments and electroacoustic media, including many on this cd. Vivienne believes that music is best experienced over headphones, which offer a deep, inner and intimate listening. All pieces were recorded in an 8-track set- up and spatialized in the mixing process with her sonic design. Throughout Vivienne’s entire career, she has tried to escape tyrannies, including that of tradition. On jalsaghar, harpsichord and many unusual instruments form combinations never heard before in history. Starting from programming, raising funds, and recording, Vivienne continued for three years, often working twelve to sixteen hours a day, focusing on editing, mixing and sound design, and finally working side by side with the mastering technician; she prepared the cd booklet and translated the texts into French. Her commitment and dedication have been extraordinary.

The result is this unique cd, a portrait of an artist: as fragile as snowflakes, yet strong like an iceberg. Listening to jalsaghar is such an enriching and inspiring experience for me. While listening, I felt as if I were being lifted to an open space in multi-dimensions; the pieces themselves are extended beyond the normal musical parameters. Each piece becomes a part of a sonic universe, reaching out with meaning and images. Then I read Vivienne’s program notes, “to me, Music is what happens when you transcend instrument, listen beyond the score. in jalsaghar my need was to investigate a situation in theory – a score of pitch, rhythm, dynamics and tempo – through the wider perspective of controlled acoustic parameters and controlled space.”

jalsaghar reveals the musical journey of a sonic artist. Listening to it is a transforming experience for the ear and the mind, and that is the true art of interpretation. There are many new grounds to discover: how acoustic music can be heard as electroacoustic music; how the harpsichord becomes a most powerful or mysteriously intimate instrument; how many instruments which have been narrowly labelled and characterized, such as accordion and banjo, take on a new expression and dimension.

jalsaghar means The Music Room. This title comes from a Bengali short story, later made into a film by Satyajit Ray about the last concert a once-rich patriarch organizes in his now crumbling palace. The cd jalsaghar starts with my piece, in the beginning was the end. I hope this is not the message Vivienne is telling us. I’d like her to know that the last piece in my cycle is called and the end is the beginning. Anyone who listens to this brilliant and moving cd will hope that this is a new beginning of Vivienne Spiteri’s great sonic art.

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