Hans Tutschku

Firmament-schlaflos


english: firmament - sleepless

16-channel electroacoustic composition
year: 2010
duration: 20.25 min
studio: Harvard University
dedicated to Omar Alvarez
first performance: July 29, 2010 , Festival Inventionen, Elisabethkirche, Berlin
published on CD Firmament, DVD 30 Jahre Inventionen

voice: Sarah Sun


A universe of sound is surrounding us ‘from within.’ It’s composed of our dreams, fears and longings. It only exists within our body, our own imagination. We want to share it; but there are no words, no possible descriptions. We are sitting on a meadow on a warm night, alone, watching the stars. Nobody is disturbing our thoughts. Nobody is limiting our space. We don’t have to rush anywhere; we have time to let go and to follow these sounding creatures…
It’s not a nightmare; it’s just the interplay of our imagination.




...

For Firmament-schlaflos (2010), the concert’s twenty-one minute finale, Hans Tutschku, Professor of Music at Harvard and Director of HUSEAC, manufactured a swirling, multi-layered, metallic ocean, diffused in sixteen channels. As meticulously sculpted waves of sound undulated throughout the hall, the listener became an aural seafarer, discovering vast expanses ranging in character from moderately placid to tempestuous. Recognizable utterances slowly surfaced, and one began to suspect that some form of humanity might be near.

Tutschku, a master manipulator, used gradual, highly detailed transformation as well as sudden, extreme contrast to great advantage. In the first section, the fluidity of his billowing sea was interrupted twice by something like a hail shower, with small explosions bursting like popcorn from all sixteen channels. Through one of Tutschku’s unexpected, jump-cut contrasts, the listener was then abruptly dropped into hushed depths, where the only sounds were those of ghostly female voices intoning quivering melodic fragments and whispers. For this listener, the chilling effect vividly evoked translucent specters. They called, perhaps beckoning, perhaps warning, as they drifted, amorphous and wide-eyed, down a small stream in a dark netherworld.

Transfixed in these depths, one easily forgets that this is a high-tech feat of electroacoustic virtuosity. The trick is that technology is not the foundation of Firmament-schlaflos’ success; rather, the piece’s substance and musicality become the foci. Sometimes in electroacoustic contexts, flaws in the hall, the audio components, or the composer’s approach, become impediments to a compelling connection between music and listener. However, the beauty of Tutschku’s writing for the HYDRA is that once immersed, one becomes completely lost in the musical narrative and the startling arrivals, which oscillate on a spectrum between spare fragility and vortexes of organic turbulence.

Boston Musical Intelligencer, David Dominique, December 22, 2010


 

 

 

The audio files are available as mono files (48 kHz, 24 bit)
The 16 loudspeakers are mounted in two rings of 8 speakers each.
The lower ring receives channels 1-8 and should be approximately at ear height.
The upper ring receives channels 9-16 and should have a smaller diameter to approximate a dome shape with the lower ring.
Refer to this picture for channel assignments
16ch-speaker
To download the individual channels, right-click each link and “save as”

 

Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-1.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-2.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-3.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-4.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-5.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-6.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-7.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-8.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-9.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-10.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-11.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-12.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-13.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-14.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-15.aiff
Firmament-schlaflos_48kHz_24bit_01-16-16.aiff

 

 

These are 8-channel versions of the original 16-channel composition.
Whenever possible the performance of the 16-channel version is preferred.
The 8-channel mix exists in two formats: pairwise and double-diamond speaker set-up.
double-diamond speaker set-up:

Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-01(Left).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-02(Right).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-03(Center).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-04(LeftSurround).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-05(RightSurround).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-06(CenterSurround).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-07(SideLeft).aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-08(SideRight).aif

 

Pairwise speaker set-up:

8ch-speaker

Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-01.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-02.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-03.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-04.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-05.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-06.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-07.aif
Firmament-schlaflos-44kHz-24bit-8ch-mix-08.aif

 

 

BEAST loudspeaker orchestra at the first performance

BEAST Firmament 2010-07-29_15-09-31

 

BEAST Firmament 2010-07-29_15-07-01

 

 overall form

firmament-schlaflos-form

 

Max/MSP patch for sound spatialization with physical models

firmament-schlaflos-Max-PMDP_spat

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