IC Rapoport

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)

ABERFAN WALES 1966On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made catastrophe occurred when a mountain of coal waste collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

Informed by one of the most poignantly tragic disasters of our time, Aberfan is a full length contemporary composition that uses excerpts of melody and lyric from a folk song my mother wrote following the tragedy.  Music will be presented both in live performance and immersive installation with black & white photographs, such as the one above, taken by Life photojournalist IC Rapoport, who went to Aberfan to “photograph the psychic mess”.

By addressing the visceral, personal experiences of the disaster, Aberfan investigates how art, together with technology, can be used for experiential healing, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten humanitarian crime.

I am seeking support to fund the recording and presentation of this project.  

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A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan is an excavation into my own soul. As Alice Miller discovered the trauma of her own childhood through spontaneous painting and wrote about in her many books, this is the story of power and destruction wrought over all the world in the willful, negligent and unconscious devastation upon the most vulnerable and the call to transform, through my music, the inscrutable events.

PRESS

RADIO INTERVIEW   “I see [Aberfan] as the epitome of the folk process, because folk music, in all its definitions, is about stories.” (Nick Noble, WICN)

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  All donations will be acknowledged on my website and project page unless requested kept private.

If sending a check, please make payable to NYFA & mail to:  Vault of the Valley Music, 27 Abbott Street, Greenfield, MA, 01301.

Here is a demo sample of voice and piano parts:  

“Their daily rendition [in morning assembly, 9am] of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ – a hymn written a few miles away in the bucolic tranquillity of the Usk Valley – was postponed that day.

They would sing it before they went home when the head teacher planned to wish her pupils a safe and enjoyable holiday.” (Aberfan:  A Mistake that Cost a Village its Children, by Ceri Jackson, BBC News, October 21, 2016)

The catastrophic collapse occurred about 9:15am.

Aerial view, October 21, 1966, courtesy of AGU Blogosphere

(Photo top of page by IC Rapoport 1966)

Aberfan is funded in part by Puffin Foundation, Thendara Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and Deupree Family Foundation.

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“…Continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”

thendara foundation

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deupreefamilyfoundation

 

“Aberfan” Rain — Rubble

 

Aberfan articulates a broadening and deepening of artistic practice, far beyond what I’ve ever experienced, yet is inclusive of everything before it — the search, over years, for my own creative voice in composition.  Propelling itself through me, Aberfan is its own whole, symbol of what is most lacking in our world, as in our families and deep within ourselves, natural expression is desecrated and buried, just as our land is leveled.

Here is an excerpt of 2 pianos from Aberfan, the aftermath of a man-made disaster, a mix of rain and rubble.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Make your contribution here.

How with this rage shall beauty…

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea… —Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

ABERFAN WALES 1966

“Rain Sequence”, pianos, Aberfan — it has just started to rain.  In this sample, as single pianos enter one after the other, you hear the gradual dissolution of harmony.

 

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)  is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Contributions are tax deductible.  Please support the making of this recording.

Photo by IC Rapoport, Aberfan Disaster, 1966

(Thanks to Robert Bielecki for the quote.)

“Aberfan” (Rain Sequence with first collapse, excerpt)

Rain Sequence — an intuitive formula of prime numbers, of fate and their irrevocable movement — increasing failure, descent and dissolution —

The disaster itself occurred on 21st October 1966 at about 9:15 am.  The day was calm and sunny at 7:30 am, when the team of men responsible for the dumping of mine waste on Tip 7 arrived for work.  At the top they found the tip had subsided by about three metres.  (The Landslide Blog)

Here is a demo sample of 7 pianos:

To contribute to the recording of Aberfan, please go to www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan.

Photo IC Rapoport, 1966

“Aberfan” (Altered Rain, excerpt)

“Altered Rain” is a demo excerpt of 7 piano parts from my new composition Aberfan. Conceived to represent the thousands of people coming down the hillside following the mass funeral on a “windswept, grey” Thursday less than one week after the disaster, this musical section turns the Rain Sequence upside down.

This is Ronnie Davis, the first boy photographed by IC Rapoport in the aftermath of the tragedy.  He lost his older brother in the landslide and his house, close to the school, was destroyed.  He stands among the ruins.

Please help fund the recording.  All contributions are greatly appreciated.  DONATE NOW 

Photo IC Rapoport  Aberfan, 1966

 

Photo by IC Rapoport