Rain

Music from “Aberfan”

ABERFAN WALES 1966Over the next few posts, I would like  to give you samples of piano music from our recent, first recording sessions, in order of their appearance in the piece.

In the beginning is “Rain Sequence”.  Here is an excerpt in which you hear the gentle, gradual layering of pianos one upon another, coming to represent “over a week of heavy rainfall” prior to the Aberfan Disaster:

 

Both Michael and I are deeply excited to continue recording, but we’ll need your support to do so.  Every donation is greatly appreciated.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible.

Photo IC Rapoport, Aberfan 1966, one which will become part of the multimedia presentation of Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue).

Studio Tomorrow

Going into Boston tomorrow to begin recording Aberfan with Michael.  Almost hard to believe.  Excited!

Here is a demo excerpt from the initial “Rain Sequence”, written for seven pianos on the same part at different tempos.  Seven is representative of Tip No. 7, the one that collapsed:  

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible.  Please become a part of this endeavor by making a donation.  One specific, immediate need is payment for the piano tuner:  $125

aberfan-memorial-garden-plaque-2

Photo Aberfan Memorial Garden

Raining from “Aberfan”

Today it’s raining.  I can hear the drops on our metal roof.  This is how it was when I was working on the Rain Sequence of Aberfan — realizing that rain falls haphazardly, scattershot, as if random.  Yet it is a precisely created pattern.

Here is the very beginning of Aberfan, a few minutes of rainone piano entering after the other.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts.  Please make a donation towards its recording here.

Photograph IC Rapoport, Aberfan 1966

“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, excerpt)

AberfanPantglasSchoolCourtesy of Alan George

Over the past year, I have posted demo excerpts of the music from Aberfan.

For those new to hearing about my project, here is a sample (posted June 2015) from near the beginning of the piece, the sound of 7 pianos as Rain.

 

Please make your tax deductible donation here:  www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan

Photo of Pantglas School and the village of Aberfan courtesy of Alan George.

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

Rain Sequence — an intuitive formula of prime numbers, of fate and its 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

Wider view of Aberfan / Rain – Rubble

South Wales Police Museum7 overview collapsed rooves and throng of people behind school

Aberfan is an elegy not only for the people of Aberfan who suffered the loss of a generation and the “wounded soul of the Welsh” who saw “their beautiful country being destroyed when the coal mines came to the valleys”, but for our world, besieged by unbridled industry pillaging the land and exploiting its riches for the few.  The tragedy of Aberfan and the music it informed manifest the abject sorrow and rage resulting from the devastating human and environmental impacts of the fossil fuel industry, more recently embodied by mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking to extract natural gas.  This project confronts our blindness and aims to disrupt our complacency.

Aberfan will be participatory.  In choosing the entrances of pianos #2-7, individuals will be deciding the composition and experiencing their own involvement in its unfolding.  Merging the music of Aberfan and photos of this particular disaster’s psychic aftermath lays bare the great cost of ignoring the habituated, presumptive violence in our human systems.

The penetrating quality of musical vibrations in synergy with photographic art, resonating where words cannot, evokes a greater world where all are connected as living beings on a living earth.  In bearing witness to the single atrocity of Aberfan, one can begin to question the arrogance of “progress” built on destruction, absent the soul.

For the performance or installation of Aberfan, money is needed to create a studio recording and develop a design for the visual element.  My hope is for presentation across the United States within the next several years.  Donations can be made online.

Here is an example, in musical language, of the consequence of our offensive display of superiority over nature.  Rain and Rubble Sequences have been spliced and put back together in alternating measures.  Excerpt: Aberfan, “Rain – Rubble”

Thank your for considering the enduring social and artistic significance of Aberfan and its challenge to halt our drive towards extinction.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible.

Photo upper right courtesy Alan George.  Overview of collapsed rooves and throng of people behind school.  Aberfan, 1966.

Photo Youtube IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

 

“Aberfan” (Rain Sequence, excerpt)

“This area of South Wales has a wet climate and the hillsides are marked by lines of springs.” (AGU Blogosphere)

Therefore, Aberfan begins with the Rain Sequence.  My workspace is in the attic and the idea to layer pianos originated as I listened to the rain on our metal roof so close above me.

Here is a short demo sample of 7 pianos, all playing the same part, entering moments slightly apart from one another, each with its own tempo.

To make sure that Aberfan can be recorded, please donate at www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan.