The seasons are disrupted. Freezes and thaws, storms and heatwaves. The 'Weathered Piano (quattuor tempora anni)' adventures along an acousmatic line through this landscape, the sounds subjected to the seasonal changes, the sounds becoming one with the land, a memory of the present before the future climate takes hold. The work has four seasons that play without pause.
- Autumnus (autumn): late summer dissolves into autumn. Storms, tearing.
- Hiems (winter): arctic winds, the cold creeping in, a last burst of energy as the light fails, the freeze.
- Ver (spring): cracks appear, bursting, fighting, the light returns, spring rains heavy then calmer.
- Aestas (summer): warm twilight evenings, extending time. Daytime brings passing company. The sun smashes into the piano's varnish, glares off the brass, rebounds off the strings.
The composition was made by applying my own methods for analysing spatial information in the 3D recordings of a real "weathered piano" that had stood for many years outside CCRMA.
I segmented and classified the recordings based on their spatial-spectral features, and explored principle trends, consistencies and variances in the materials using music information retrieval and machine learning. The results were then used to train a system that would reveal rules useful for composition. From these rules the work gradually took shape. 'Autumnus', 'Hiems' and 'Ver' are made with their own systems derived from specific sounds from the piano and from the local nature. 'Aestas' presents a freer connection between piano and nature through my experience of sound, what is heard, what is unheard, and the forest close to where I live
The Weathered Piano is composed in 64-ch 7th order 3D ambisonics.
It was commissioned by EAU (Electric Audio Unit) with support from the Arts Council Norway and premiered in Oslo on the 28th February 2020.
The original 'weathered piano' from which the source sounds were recorded maybe still sits outside CCRMA, Stanford (USA).