10 Nov 2017

JACK BODY: Superimpositions (introduction)

From Resound, 9:02 pm on 10 November 2017

Introduced by Kenneth Young.

Kenneth Young

Kenneth Young Photo: Deborah Rawson

Four Superimpositions for solo piano, had its beginnings following Jack Body’s attendance at an electronic music course at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, Holland in 1970 when the composer was 25 years old. This included an introduction to a computer programme entitled Project 2. Body found the struggle to understand and master the concepts involved, a healthy discipline which eventually influenced his thinking about musical structure.

His subsequent first attempt at a computerised composition was a monumental piano piece called Ritornelli which the composer described as “a work so complex and unsympathetic on the ear that I would never wish to inflict it on any audience, much less a performer.”

However, not long after, he produced the Four Superimpositions, which he found to be more successful. The basic idea behind them is the simultaneous superimposition of two, sometimes three, different data results; or, if you like, musical ideas.

Jack also discovered, ironically, that by the time he’d prepared the data, waited for the results, and transcribed them into conventional notation, that he’d spent as much time and energy as he would normally have needed to compose a work twice the length, without the aid of a computer. Please remember that this was in 1970.

Listen to Superimpositions by Jack Body

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