On writing a requiem

Over recent days I’ve been making notes towards a requiem. David Chisholm referred to one earlier today and there was a wonderful discussion about the form on Radio National’s Rhythm Divine a couple of days ago. They played Sculthorpe’s Requiem, eight compelling movements with a haunting didjeridu part performed by William Barton. The requiem is a form that evokes reflection, deep melancholy and a reverence for life.

Some years back I began work on Requiem in A Modulation, a work combining the near lost yodeling skills of central and eastern European mountain villagers with the vast acoustic qualities of the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. Funding for the project had not eventuated, but I did manage to perform this, largely vocal work, there on October 2008.

In this piece live voice was created by way of a small microphone placed within the cavity of my mouth, utilising sharp in-breaths as well as long, sung tones. Rolling the microphone around my mouth, against my teeth for example, would produce percussive effects when required.

The idea for Requiem in A Modulation grew from this work which I am driven to complete in memory of Annemarie who longed for her homeland in the Carinthian mountains of Spittal an der Drau.

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