About the PRISM Series
A series by C4NM curator Julia Ogrydziak, PRISM events are part performance, part dialogue. Audiences experience live new music through the lens of performers, composers, and collaborators as they couple their creations with personal stories of history and process.
“A good composer does not imitate, he steals.” ~ Igor Stravinsky
Stolen is the second concert on the theme of musical stealing created this year by London-based musician-mathematician Elaine Chew. Designed to challenge the ways we think about and make music, Stolen features the US premiere of Stolen Rhythm (2009) by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, the west coast premiere of Practicing Haydn (2013) by Elaine Chew, Peter Child, and Lina Viste Grønli, and the world premiere of MorpheuS Haydn (2016) by Dorien Herremans and Elaine Chew. The three featured solo piano pieces are united by the fact that they all steal unabashedly—the rhythm, the narrative, or lock, stock, and barrel—from Haydn’s Sonata in Eb, Hob XVI:45 Finale. In the concert-conversation, each piece is wrapped in engaging and visual scientific discourse on the making of the performance and the composition, and what that reveals about our cognition of music.
About the Performer
Pianist-mathematician Elaine Chew is Professor of Digital Media in the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary University of London. Deeply passionate about communicating not only her art, but also how and why musicians do what they do, she specializes in boundary-crossing concert-conversations that challenge the ways we think about and make music. Also an award-winning scientist, she frequently gives keynote lectures on her mathematical work on musical expression and the music structures that shape expressivity.
About the Program
Practicing Haydn (2013) by Elaine Chew, Peter Child, Lina Viste Grønli
West Coast Premiere
Based on Haydn’s Piano Sonata in Eb, Hob XVI:45 Finale, this is a collaborative work between artist Lina Viste Grønli, composer Peter Child, and pianist Elaine Chew. Based upon an idea developed by Grønli and Child, this composition for solo piano is a transcription of Chew practicing the last movement of Haydn’s sonata for the first time. The practice session has been meticulously transcribed by Child, leaving the repetitions, errors, halts and interruptions, to create a new performable score that refracts Haydn’s original music. Practicing Haydn was created for Lina Viste Grønli’s first major solo art show at the Kunsthall Stavanger to coincide with the venue’s grand opening.
Stolen Rhythm (2009) by Cheryl Frances-Hoad / Franz Josef Haydn
This Haydn-inspired piece was commissioned by pianist Matthew Schellhorn as part of his Homage to Haydn on the 200th anniversary of the composer’s death. The piece is based on the third movement (Finale) of Haydn’s Sonata in Eb, Hob XVI:45, chosen for its “boundless energy and wit”. Except for the occasional note shifted by an eighth or sixteenth and the odd 11/16 bar, in which the composer had removed one sixteenth note from the 3/4 bar, the rhythmic content follows exactly that of Haydn’s sonata movement. The harmonic and melodic content derives from various transmutations of the notes B-A-D-D-G, a translation of H-A-Y-D-N (where B=H as in German, and with D and G replacing otherwise unplayable letters). The composition was selected as best piece in the Solo/Duo Instrumental category at the BASCA British Composer Awards 2010.
MorpheuS Haydn (2016) by Dorien Herremans, Elaine Chew / Franz Josef Haydn
This is a computer-generated solo piano piece created under the aegis of Dorien Herremans’ MorpheuS project at Elaine Chew’s Music Performance and Expression lab at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London. MorpheuS builds on Dorien Herremans’ doctoral research at the University of Antwerp to generate music with structure using an optimization (local search) approach. MorpheuS follows the rhythm of Haydn’s Sonata in Eb, Hob XVI:45 Finale exactly, it also generates music according to the pitch ranges and tonal tension profile derived from the original sonata movement, where tonal tension is quantified through Elaine Chew’s spiral array, a geometric model for tonality. Repetition patterns in the original work are replicated in the new piece. The MorpheuS project is funded through the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellowship scheme.